Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love Month Series #9: Pet Peeves & Catch 22 (guest blog by Peter Haberly)

The  word "pet peeve" was first used around 1919. The term is a back-formation from the 14th century word "peevish" meaning  ornery or ill-tempered.

According to Wikipedia, pet peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, such as a spouse or a significant other. These behaviors may involve disrespect, ill manners, bad personal hygiene, relationship kinks and family issues. A key aspect of a pet peeve is that it may well seem acceptable to others.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary, on the other hand defined a pet peeve as simply a frequent subject of complaint.

As for Catch-22, Wikipedia defined it as a paradoxical situation in which an individual is incapable of avoiding a problem because of contradictory constraints or rules. Often these situations are such that solving one part of a problem only creates another problem, which ultimately leads back to the original problem. Catch 22 situations often result from rules, regulations or procedures that an individual is subject to but has no control over.

The term Catch 22 was coined by Joseph Heller in his novel "Catch-22". Initially this is based on the explanation of the character Doc Daneeka so to why any pilot requesting a psych evaluation hoping to be found not sane enough to fly, and consequently escape dangerous missions, would thereby demonstrate his sanity.

"You mean there's a catch?"
"Sure there's a catch," Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch 22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."

Relationship expert Alina (whoever she is) identified the following top 5 most common relationship pet peeves:

  • Nagging
  • Lying
  • Drama king or queen
  • Indecisiveness
  • Promise breaking

In my view pet peeves are common  and relative, whether or not one is in a relationship. Venting, for example, may be perfectly acceptable to some people if done in a friendly manner but annoying to others under any circumstance.

Or for me personally, living in a huge residential complex where interactions with angry or harsh words by couples are seen and heard, but can't be avoided creates a situation I cannot do anything about. That pet peeve I would keep to myself. Usually this would fall under the Catch 22 definition if, for example, I complain to management  and I am harrassed when my complaint is somehow discovered by the one I've complained about.

Simple things can be pet peeves also, like the Bird of Paradise in a soda bottle in my neighbor's lanai. The floral arrangement was beautiful when it was first put in the bottle two months ago. Now decaying and brown, the exotic flower has become not only an eyesore but a cause for speculation about why my neighbor hasn't bothered to get rid of it.

Over the years, I've tried to be tolerant of most everything that came my way. I've always considered patience not only to be one of my best virtues but a necessity in any field of medicine.  I must confess, though, to having been stubborn and easily annoyed as a youth.

My advice is to be forgiving, accepting and thereby happy. Do not whine or complain.  Instead, be grateful for what you have and don't have.

Have a happy, peaceful and loving Valentine's Day!

- Peter Haberly

Ariel's note: Peter Haberly is a doctor of veterinary medicine now retired and enjoying life in Hilo, Hawaii.


  1. Well said! I also try my hardest to ignore the behavior of others…providing such behavior is not intended to run-over me. If someone brings to my attention something that I do that annoys them (interrupting people when they are speaking is a case in point), I try my hardest to modify my behavior.

    Not always successful.

    Anyhow, enjoyed the blog!

  2. Forgiveness and tempering the ego make a lot of difference Pete, whether or not one is in a relationship. But then we are all in a relationship! Thank you for guesting on my blogsite.

  3. You're welcome & Thank You for allowing me to do it, Ariel !

    1. You honor me by sharing your thoughts Pete.