How many peeves are we allowed to keep as pets before they’re just peeves? And what’s the difference, anyway? Do Pet Peeves get to sleep on the bed with us while the general population shivers outside or in the garage? Are some peeves domesticated and others feral?
Pets of any variety are comforting. They love us unconditionally and are generally free of the bullshit hang-ups that render the relationships with our upright companions so frequently intolerable. Whether we keep dogs or cats or snakes or goats, many of us are more invested in our pets than we are in the seemingly more primary relationships in our lives including the ones we flog with our spouses, children and parents.
But where is the line? How much is too much—how many too many?
Every neighborhood has a “crazy cat lady.” No one visits her because her furniture & cutlery is coated in a film of silky dander and the whole place smells hard of piss. Cat lady’s house is usually too warm inside. The mewing is unnerving.
Robert Stroud was known as the Birdman of Alcatraz, despite the fact that he was not allowed to keep birds on The Rock. And although he did raise hundreds of canaries and author several well-respected books on Orthonology during a prior sentence at Leavenworth, the dude was evil & insane. A poor model.
Plenty of dog owners not only dress their best friends in garish sweaters & hats, but often don complimentary or even matching outfits themselves. This is not OK. Not OK.
So who is to say how many peeves I can reasonably keep as pets? Is the peeve police going to come to my door? Are my neighbors going to turn me in? Should I be more careful about the kind of loose assertions I make on social media?
I don’t much give a damn. We’ve all got our hangups, and sometimes it feels good to vent. So whether I have room in the kennel for all these peeves or not, I’m not sure. But here are a few of my favorite peeves, otherwise known as the kind of shit that just drives me crazy.
That’s about it. Pretty much everything else is fine with me.
If you see a penny on the sidewalk, look around a bit and you’ll usually find another one plus a dime, too. Same goes for playing cards. People don’t generally drop just one playing card.
And when you’re two cards away from completing the deck of found playing cards you’ve been building since the 1980s, you learn to draw wisely. Fairly, but wisely.
If there’s only one card on the ground, of course I’ll pick it up. But if there’s more than one, odds are half of them will be face-down. And those are the ones from which I choose. It’s fair– Even Steven!
I don’t know what two cards I need to complete the deck. I know I’m suited in hearts, but I’m not positive about diamonds. I actually think the two cards I need are black suits, but I’ve been very careful not to know for certain because if I ever saw the card I knew I needed in a face-up scatter on the sidewalk I’d be in a real moral jam. It would be hard not to pick it up– and I’d like the deck to be completed as organically as possible. I don’t want to get any hassle from the Ripley’s people once I’m done.
I happened on a hand last night on Cornwall. It was New Year’s Eve and the gang outside Downtown Johnny’s was smoking tough at 9pm. I first spotted a red-suited facecard in the gutter, and I jerked spastically in my tracks like I always do when I see a playing card on the ground. Glancing around to make sure no one else was closing on it, I scanned the vicinity for more options and was not disappointed. In the middle of the sidewalk at the north end of RiteAid were two cards, face down.
Glancing around again, I nonchalantly approached the cards, crouching down to study the backs. A pale yellow vector design advertising someplace called the Point Casino stared back at me. There’s not much technique in choosing a face-down card. Pick a card, either card. I’m right-handed, so I picked up the card on the left and stuffed it in my pocket. Then I went to Akroteri for a glass of Ouzo.
I need two cards to complete my deck. Of course I’m going to draw lots of doubles before I find these last two cards. The King of Diamonds, the Queen of Clubs– I already got em. Hell, I found two Aces of Spades last year alone, but guess what– I already got one!
But you know what else I already got? Jokers. I already got tons of jokers.
And there’s only two of them in a deck. Aren’t the odds the same of me finding one of the two cards I need the same as finding another joker?!
I collect stuff, always have. I come from a long line of lovers of stuff: pottery, cufflinks, Foo Dogs, Fiestaware—if it’s collectable, an ancestor of mine probably hoarded it. I most certainly have what Bob Ridgley & Terri Krantz referred to in their 2008 documentary American Collectors as “the collector’s gene”—an uncontrollable (or at least uncontrolled) urge to gather quantities of the same thing up in piles. Some collections are made to stack, like records or plates. Others—like tractors or cadavers—aren’t as easy.
Patti thinks I have a problem. Matchbooks, inkwells, KISS memorabilia and brass bug silent butlers are bad enough. But when I realized I was actually clipping the corrections out of the daily paper and putting them into an envelope labeled CORRECTION COLLECTION, I realized that maybe it was time I got some help.
The dark danger with most collections is that they’re open-ended: they can never be completed. You just keep on adding and adding– presumably until you die– at which point your kids have to come in and agonize over what to do with Dad’s prized collection autographed 8×10 black & white promotional photos of bald celebrities.
But I do have one collection that doesn’t take up much space, is easy to stack, and which has a definite end. Part of me hopes I never complete it…
It’s the same thing every season. This region prefers football to baseball, and I can’t say I don’t understand why. Most people don’t have the patience for baseball in our one-minute culture. And the fact that there were no professional sports of any kind in the PNW before the 1970s means collegiate sports (where there is no baseball) have a deep comparative history. But it’s frustrating that the most exciting part of a long baseball season (the stretch and post-season) coincides with the beginning of the football campaign, and that this preview and early-season period is given such clear preferential broadcast consideration on the local sports radio affiliate. I have this argument with them every October in some form. This was a FaceBook message from 2012
Our poker games are frequently put on pause when someone starts talking about music—everyone sitting there with a handful of cards blabbing on all drunk about the first Dio album or some Day on the Green. Inevitably, someone says “you were at that show?! I was there, too!”
One of these times, I suggested to the publisher of the local music paper sitting next to me that his rag should have a column called I Was There about shows of historical significance that (older) readers might relate to. Brent Cole agreed—and he reminded me of my idea on Monday morning with an assignment of 500-700 words on the historically significant show of my choosing. I’d forgotten the conversation, of course– but suddenly I was a columnist.
This review appeared in the WhatsUp Magazine in 2002. I’ll make it clear in this italicized introduction that there are few bands of any genre that I despise more than Def Leppard. I don’t imagine they are all that much worse than any number of others, but my disdain for them lies in the fact that they were once my favorite band. The importance of High ‘N’ Dry to my musical development cannot be overstated. And the first time I heard the follow-up Pyromania my heart was broken. They’ve only gotten shittier since then.
Still, 1981 was a very good year. I was there…