[Original version Posted on December 9, 2012 by ]

I was reminded of a pet peeve of mine, recently. At first I was just concentrating on this particular irritant and why I wished it didn’t pop up so frequently,  but then I started to think about the whole concept of pet peeves, and what they say about us.

The expression first showed up around 1919, according to Merriam-Webster, and it is defined as a frequent subject of complaint, or as a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others may find it.

Okay, so a pet peeve is a particular thing that frequently makes one peevish. But, what makes it a “pet”?

A pet is an animal kept for companionship and personal enjoyment.  How is it that I am able to get companionship and enjoyment from keeping and nurturing an annoyance?

Another thing about pets is they tend to belong to an individual. Even  a family pet  is usually recognized as belonging more to one family member than to the others. So, my pet peeve is something that is more irritating to me than it is to others. Why would that bring me enjoyment? Shouldn’t I want to be less annoyed than other people, rather than more so?

I spent a lot of time considering this subject, as you can tell. I came to the unflattering conclusion that having such pet peeves makes me feel just a bit superior to folks who aren’t bothered in the same way I am.

Take the correct use of apostrophes, for example, especially in signs and publications.  It can really bug me when I see a sign offering “Orange’s, $1.50/lb.” or read, “The cat was carrying one of it’s kittens,” because those apostrophes give an incorrect meaning. However, since I have no trouble figuring out the intended meaning,  why let it bother me? Is it because it makes me feel superior to those who don’t know the difference? How pathetic of me to feed and support such an attitude.

I have nothing against pets, although it is a pet peeve of mine when people dress them up and treat them like children …  but there I go again; making a baby of one’s pet is not nearly as annoying as arrogantly nurturing personal opinions.

I am taking a vow that every time one of my pet peeves raises its ugly head, I am going to return it to the wild. Like wild animals, peeves don’t make good pets. They are unpredictable and may turn on you when you least expect it. Mine did. 

(Note: Today, the same may apply to one's pet offenses, as well.)

Published by J.B.Hawker http://jbhawker.com/