Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tacky Cardigan With Words on It: Common Sayings Taken the Wrong Way: Pet Peeve

Have you ever sat down and thought about all the sayings we American English-speakers use that if taken literally (or even just the wrong way), could make a person unversed in the vernacular, wonder how hard we must have hit our heads when we fell off the turnip truck? I mean, why we say such nonsense?

Well, I do. And, to tell you the truth, I can't believe how many sayings I use that flat-out don't make any sense. And worse, if someone pressed me about why I say them, or where the expressions originated, I'd just have to stand there scratching my head. (Like, how do I know? I wasn't born back then!) Think about it. Isn't it weird? How we do this all day, and never stop to question the sensibility of the words coming out of our mouths? Or whether there's a different way of saying what we mean?

Like how, for example, do I "fly by the seat of my pants" to go anywhere? I mean, what does that even mean - fly by the seat of my pants? Because the image I'm getting is that of an invisible hook in the sky that dangles people by the belt loops, and then, whirls them around like Dumbo's on a Disney theme park ride. But, what happens after that? When the "newbie" gets more seasoned at whatever the heck it is they're doing? Does a flying carpet whiz in and take over? Then maybe a hang-glider? Until, finally, they've mastered the thing and get to ride in a plane, only to willingly jump out with nothing but a parachute to break their fall back to the hard ground? NOPE! NOT ME! I'd just assume not ever do anything remotely new and difficult again!

Fly by the seat of my pants, huh. What a stupid thing to do!

I'm no Dumb-o! Just leave me on the ground, thanks!

{Insert pause here. Count off: one second, two seconds, three seconds, four seconds...}

I'm sure I was trying to make a point with all that blather...oh yes! Pet peeve*! Have you ever wondered why exactly we use those specific words for this particular thing we're trying to convey? Like, why "pet" and why "peeve"? So, OK. I know a peeve is something annoying, but why do we, then, call the MOST annoying thing possible to us, our PET? Isn't that another way of saying it's our favorite, or worse, most beloved annoying thing? But, that doesn't even make sense! How freaking annoying!

* Grammar nerds may click here and/or here for the definition of "pet peeve" and here and/or here for its origin/etymology. (By the way, the experts can't even completely agree on this "pet peeve" stuff. So, tell me, how the heck are we commoners supposed to explain what it means to someone who doesn't speak English as a first language?! Also, why do dogs dig to China? And, why have I, on purpose, just bunched up my own panties? Don't answer that!☺)


Alright. So, I've established that "pet peeve" is a weird combination of words. Hold on to that thought for a minute...

A couple weeks ago, I decided to scoop up Jon Farleigh (he's 37 lbs.-light) and dance around the kitchen (it was Mother's Day weekend and I was feeling extra happy**; haven't you ever spontaneously grabbed your pet for a dance?). One of my kids grudgingly took some pictures. Yes, she did, and, it turns out - from her vantage point - Jon wasn't feeling the joy quite as much as I was. (Though, to me, the back of his head sure did look adorable - bobbing up and down to the beat.) I'm not sure what he was feeling, truthfully, but when I saw this particular photo, just two words sprang to mind.

Now, this? This definition of "pet peeve," I can explain.  ☺

What's your most beloved annoying expression? Have you even thought about it before today? Does your dog or cat like to dance with you? (Don't lie. hehe)

** I was extra happy, listening to this LunchMoney Lewis tune my kids found for me. I dare you not to dance. 


  1. Yes, I'm sure Haley has had that look on her face many times, lol! Like most dogs, she didn't like hugs when she was younger, but now she knows a hug also comes with a wonderful massage and she enjoys them.

  2. Haha - his expression is priceless. There are a lot of things people say that I think are annoying. Most of them are not the old sayings, but the new ones people come up with lol. Like this whole eyebrows and fleek thing. WTH? So weird!


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