816 North

David Knopf - I asked and you, witty readers, answered

I recently asked for your help in finding a pithy conclusion to “I have so many pet peeves that …”

Given our many entertainment options, I wondered if


would respond — an ironic concern from someone who uses Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman (“What, me worry?”) as his desktop background.

I should’ve known my intrepid readers would help shrink my Hour of Need to a mere 15 minutes.

As background for anyone away on business, enjoying a two-week, media-deprivation spa experience or training for the Navy Seals, I’d been unable to find an animal-related finish to my pet-peeve half-joke.

I was bogged down by overly subtle, violently yoked juxtapositions such as “I have so many pet peeves, animal control staked out my house for a day before calling in Eric Burdon and the Humane Society for back-up.”)

I was forcing it, which reminded me of “Pushin’ Too Hard,” the 1960s cult gem by the grunge band The Seeds. The lead singer repeats the title over and over, as if he’d just won a BMA (Brotherhood of Meth Abusers) Lifetime Achievement Award.

That’s when I turned to you.

The first response came from Pam Gauper, who’d never written me before. She’d chosen to read my column over watching a 2 a.m. George Foreman infomercial on the 24-hour Rerun Channel.

“Good afternoon, David. Concerning your pet problem,” she began.

Her suggestions were concise. “I have so many pet peeves, I have to buy an extra seat when I fly.” “I have so many pet peeves, my acupuncturist has to use extra long needles.”

I hadn’t imagined peeves piling up on the skin, but why not?

Pam seemed to associate pets with fleas, insects and vermin, hence the infestation by peeves. “I have so many pet peeves, I bought Walmart out of Raid … the Orkin man knows me by name … I have the Orkin man on speed dial.”

I was so thankful for her input I asked if I owed her anything, but she graciously declined. She said she’d thought of another good one, but then got a headache and forgot it. Pam, I’ve lost so many thoughts I should make a movie with Harrison Ford.

Then there were suggestions from Mick Q., a longtime reader and frequent punster from Liberty. Mick, a teacher, has few rivals when it comes to language, especially the arcane, figurative strain.

As he might say, he takes word play to a “whole new level,” so his input was as sought after as a pair of $500 Rick Pitino loafers.

“The demand for a reasonably humorous ending to ‘I have so many pet peeves …’ is indeed a great challenge,” he wrote, sizing up the gravity of the problem.

Mick’s a cat lover, so his suggestions involved felines. “I have so many pet peeves,” he wrote, “Cat Stevens friended me on Facebook.”

Was that a rim shot I heard?

“I have so many pet peeves,” he continued, “Clay County Sheriff’s Department is investigating me for felinious behavior.”


New York Times

quality, folks, barely a sniff shy of

Chronicle of Higher Education


Pam and Mick did inspire me to take a final shot at the puzzle that had long dogged me.

“I have so many pet peeves,” I thought, “people ask if I accept Friends of the Zoo coupons.”