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KARL RICHTER | No matter who you are, we all have pet peeves

by Karl Richter | June 9, 2021 at 1:56 p.m. | Updated June 9, 2021 at 1:59 p.m.
Karl Richter

If you need reassurance that the famous are at heart ordinary people, too, search the internet for celebrity pet peeves.

Oprah can't stand people chewing gum. Kesha hates hats. Exposed clothing tags drive Kelly Clarkson crazy. And you better not complain within earshot of Beyoncé.

Who doesn't have some little thing that especially bugs them? It makes you wonder whether what annoys us provides some window into who we really are.

There's a pattern in my list. Nothing puts a bee in my bonnet more than needlessly making something more difficult.

Take the long pastas: spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine. My foursquare stance against them is unshakable.

There's simply no good reason to make food harder to eat. Yet instead of easily forkable bowties or shells that taste no different, we insist on plating tangles of string.

Every time I find myself forced into the fork-twirling ritual of gathering long pasta into an edible wad, the same question arises: Why?

It's not that eating it is especially hard. It's that it's harder than it has to be, because tradition, I guess?

Not to mention the splatter problem. Who came up with this?

"I know: Let's whirl around some tomato sauce right in front of our shirts! Centrifugal force, shmentrifugal force, it's long noodles or nothing!"

My No. 2 pet peeve also has a connection to Italy. That's No. 2, not No. II.

I refer to the mysterious persistence of Roman numerals, which, if it has any explanation at all, has something to do with people wanting to seem smarter or more important.

Again, unnecessary difficulty. Naming it Super Bowl LVI doesn't make the game a bigger deal. It just sends people to Google to decipher the code.

There are already umpteen gobbledygook website passwords to remember. Please, world, can you give me a break from having to remember the weird letter-number system of a long-dead civilization, too? I've got 99 problems and don't need C.

Modern economics and technology have transformed the third pet peeve on my list.

Once upon a time, I hated when grocery cashiers put only one thing in a bag. It defeated the purpose of bagging in the first place, namely, to make things easier to carry.

Handles, you say? Yes, I know plastic grocery bags have handles. But they only add value if they facilitate toting multiple items at once. If I could get a single item from the shelf to the cart and the cart to the conveyor belt without handles, I don't suddenly need them at the end of the process.

The end result was taking home more bags than I needed to and adding them to the heap atop my refrigerator that I keep imagining will someday, somehow conjoin, come to life like a rustling B-movie blob monster and suffocate me in my sleep.

Anyway, my complaint is rapidly becoming obsolete, replaced by another: that I have to bag it all myself now.

If there's no other option but to do that work ourselves, we should get a discount equal to a cashier's wage pro-rated to how long it takes us. Looking at you, Walmart.

In case you're worried that I'm clinging too hard to my petty grievances, fear not. There's at least one I've recently come around on.

It used to bother me when people misspell whoa as woah. But what difference does it make? The A and H are silent. Whoa, woah, woha, ahwo, awho, awoh, hawo, hwao, hwoa all the same word. Knock yourselves out.

After all, I wouldn't want to be seen as a complainer. I'm pretty sure Beyoncé is a fan.


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