Tuesday April 7th, 2020 3:15AM

Pets of a different sort

By Bill Maine Executive Vice President & General Manager
  Contact Editor

When it comes to pets, not everyone is a dog fancier or a cat lover. Others aren’t big on birds or fanatical about ferrets. But there is one pet everyone seems to have: peeves. And usually more than one, at that.

The upside is the fact that peeves are the only pets that won’t run away, jump on the furniture or soil the carpet. They will make you crazy if you aren’t careful. They’ll also cause you to avoid some people while pushing others away.

They come in all sizes and will never leave your side. Which means they never have to be on a leash, although we’d all be better off if they were.

I did some poking around and have learned that when it comes too peeves, we’re definitely pet-friendly people.

One of the more popular ones is the sound of other people chewing. This breed of peeve is calledmisophonia. It is one of the few domesticated pet peeves with a pedigreed name. To be precise, misophonia translates to “hatred of sound.” That would make it more of a family name, meaning there are other species names that fall under it. Those include, but by no means are limited to, lip smacking, gum chewing, mouth breathing and even pen clicking.

My daughter has this. It is more a lap dog than a mere pet. She once texted me a running monologue during a college class involving a classmate who was chewing gum loudly. I’m guessing that texting me was the therapy that kept her from committing a felony. Does that make me a peeve whisperer? I’m not sure, but I was glad to help.

My dad, a quiet easy-going person at heart, kept a little misophonia with him too. His was of the frozonius aquaticus crushious variety. That’s the dislike of people crunching ice. Unfortunately for him, it was the way my brother liked to finish his glass of iced tea at the end of a meal. I once thought of suggesting they not serve him iced tea, but milk instead. I thought better of it. Best not to give advice to your father once he hits the “dad bum it” point. It was one of his favorite sayings when he was running out of patience with us. I would have taken the grief for the crunching instead of my brother. It’s no fun when someone unleashes their pet peeve on you when you’re not the one who got the critter all riled up in the first place. The fangs! The fur! Oh, the humanity! It’s not a pretty site.

Not all peeves have a fancy name like misophonia. Most of them are just run-of-the mill peeves. Mutts of maladjustment, if you will. These every day peeves include slow walkers, bad drivers, and the oxford comma. People who talk during a movie, especially when it’s one they’ve already seen, and they keep saying “you’re not going to believe what happens next.”  If one is not careful, this can also trigger your pet peeve to respond with a backhandous maximus.

There are people with big news who preface it by saying, “Do you know what I just heard?” I often want to respond, “Yes and it’s just awful” and then walk away. I don’t because I’m able to keep that peeve on a leash. Because you never know if the other person has the smart aleck pet peeve. This would set off a pet peeve duel. No one wins when that happens. So just beware.

As with any pet, discipline is essential. Let’s say your pet peeve is bad drivers. How well behaved is your peeve? If you only mutter something less than savory under breath, then give your peeve a kibble. If you give the driver who cut you off the one-finger salute, then you might think of sending your peeve to obedience school. If your peeve turns into full-blown road rage, then you really want to have it put down. Bad things can happen when a peeve goes rabid.

Spending time with people who like to pet their peeves a lot can be dangerous. Next thing you know, one of them gives birth and its offspring follows you home. Feral peeves can be a real problem. Unfortunately, they are not the type of pet that animal control will come haul off and relocate.

Pet owners love to talk about their pets, especially people who own and maintain peeves. I once went out with a girl I didn’t know very well. During the date I asked if she had any pet peeves. I thought it would be a good conversation starter and a different way to get to know her better. I was right. It was a little too good. By the time she finished introducing me to all of them, dinner was over and the check had arrived. That is why I only went out with her once. While peeves are the only pets that don’t soil the carpet, you can step on them which is rather messy. Hanging around with someone with so many of these pets, I don’t think I could have kept my shoes clean.

She didn’t have just a few pet peeves. She had an entire zoo.


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