If you’re reading this, you’re probably lucky enough to only have first world problems – getting zero likes/favorites/retweets/comments on your carefully crafted social media post, having a jackass cut you off on the freeway, waiting in a particularly long line at Starbucks. The following three things may or may or may not fall into this category, but calling something a “pet” peeve already seems to reduce its importance or significance. Anyway, since the challenge wasn’t “What are all of your pet peeves?”, here are three.
*Side note: Is the phrase “may or may not” redundant? I feel like it is.
1. Weak handshakes
When I was an impressionable young lad, my dad told me, “Always give a firm handshake” so I always do. A firm handshake signifies that you actually care about the person you are meeting. It also increases the chances of the person you are meeting will actually care about any subsequent words that come out of your mouth. If I am going to risk touching germs or a finger that may or may not have picked a nose earlier, I at least got it from a firm handshake instead of an 18th century aristocrat hand. A quote from Sarah Silverman explains this perfectly:
“If someone gives me a handshake like this [holds out limp hand], I go, ‘I’m going to change your life forever.'”
So if you give weak handshakes, I’m going to change your life forever. If you don’t care then your life won’t change and that’s precisely the point.
2. Not using turn signals If not for changing lanes, merging, turning right, or turning left, then when DO you use turn signals, you uncivilized heathen?? When you accidentally meant to turn on the windshield wipers? This blows my mind especially living in southern California where a car is pretty much an appendage. Not using your blinkers is like refusing to use prepositions or the word “the” when you speak – don’t be surprised when people didn’t know what hell you were trying to say. We might not be able to prevent the earth form warming two degrees anymore, but we can at least reduce the collective stress of the world by at least 10% by using turn signals.
3. People who use the off-ramp lane as a way to skip ahead of traffic Dude, just don’t. The reason why that lane exists is to let people off the freeway, not for you to shave 30 seconds off of a two hour commute. My commute home involves a freeway interchange that people always use to get ahead of the traffic but really end up blocking all the people trying to get off that freeway. If you want to witness the physical manifestation of rage, block a line of cars from getting off the freeway while you are trying to cut back into traffic at the last possible minute. Even from the relative comfort of your car, you will feel the heat emanating from everyone behind you like japanese honeybees on an invading hornet. If you’re someone who does this, I’m going to change your life forever.
Write something that someone told you about yourself that you never forgot.
In 11th grade, I was in a trigonometry/pre-calculus class in preparation for taking AP Calculus my senior year because nerd. I don’t remember what was happening, but two of my classmates got into some argument about a math problem we were working on and I was trying to broker some kind of agreement on either side. My teacher, while trying to settle the matter herself told me “You’re going to work for the UN (United Nations) one day, because you’re always trying to make peace.” That really stuck with me because I later in life I did realize how concerned I always was (sometimes to a fault) how okay everyone else was with the situation. If I’m in a group of people I often sense the person who is not really feeling it or not having as good a time as the others. I don’t know where that came from, but maybe in one of the later writing challenges, I’ll figure that out.
If anything, I am a lazy person. Even if the task is six inches in front of me and will take one minute, it might as well be a mile away. Despite this laziness I do realize it’s good to have goals outside of the kinds related to your family and home (namely being good at taking care of both). One of those goals is to be a good at writing. I’m a huge comedy fan and usually the most successful funny people write their own stuff. If you can create your own opportunities through writing, you always have a chance to succeed. I ravenously devour podcasts, stand-up specials, TV shows, and movies hoping to absorb any morsel of insight. Every night after I finally have an hour or two of free time, I tell myself I’m going to write something, but often end up watching Netflix, but then often end up with Netflix paralysis and actually watch nothing. Even when I do get to writing, I’ll write just a little bit at a time, put it away, read it weeks later and decide it’s crap and then close the browser. I lather, rinse, and repeat until months later I have something that I’m not totally ashamed of posting.
However, I do know that one will never become better at anything without actually doing the thing many times, so I am taking a cue from my friend over at bookreviewsandhaikus.com and doing this 30 Day Writing Challenge. Looking at this list, there are a few things that don’t seem that interesting to write about or are too personal to write about, but sometimes you just have to force yourself to do it and hopefully learn from it. Do, or do not. There is no try.
Day 1: List 10 things that make you really happy
I know after I write this I’ll come up with 20 more things I wished i thought of, but these are the things that came to me, so there.
Coming home to my family: Every day after work, I get to come home to my family. My son either runs at me full speed to give me a headbutt hug or gives me a side hug and kiss while watching Octonauts or Justin Roberts on the iPad. I then proceed to snarf down dinner, give my son a bath, read him a story, put him to bed, and spend time with my wife while we mostly ogle at pictures of our son before the house goes quiet. People nowadays tend to be anti about that suburb life with the wife/husband and 2.5 kids, but having my wife and son to come home to every day gives me great comfort and joy.
Making people laugh: Scoring a laugh from people is one thing that makes me really happy. I’m sure there’s some deep-seeded psychological issue it stems from, but there are worse ways for issues to manifest itself. It’s kind of like crack, but without the sad Behind the Music ending and I will use any means necessary to achieve this, from gifs to cat keyboard videos to just plain ol’ words.
Making my wife laugh: This deserves a separate item from the above because relatively speaking, making my wife laugh is like hitting a 10 chain combo in Puzzle Fighter. I am often laughing to myself like an idiot over some joke while said joke makes me less appealing as a partner, but once in a while the planets align and I can make her laugh. On purpose.
Drums: Ever since high school I dreamt of tearing it up on a drum set, but for some reason I never just thought to seek it out. None of the friends I hung out with were musical, and neither was I, so it just seemed out of reach. Not until after college did I finally join a taiko drum group just so I could scratch this 10 year itch i had and only after leaving the taiko group did I start playing on rock drums regularly. I don’t get to play much nowadays, but even though I’m not very good, sitting behind a set makes me feel at home.
Finding new music: My philosophy on finding music is that if I find something I like, I’ll keep looking for something that’s more boundary-pushing until it’s too weird and then pull back. I can waste lots of time on Spotify jumping from related artist to related artist until I find one new song or artist that I like. Next to comedy, music is most dear to me. If given the choice, I would rather go blind than deaf, because a world without music would definitely suck.
Prepping food for cooking: This one may seem strange. I do like to cook, but one thing I like even more is having this spread of ingredients that are all ready to go. Before I dice/slice/julianne/cube/peel/seed anything, I usually try to look up the best way to do it on YouTube first. Nothing beats seeing a pile of perfectly brunoised vegetables.
A freshly vacuumed carpet: Something about hearing all the dust and debris being cleaned off the carpet is so satisfying. And no, I will not come over and vacuum your place. I have enough to do.
Comedy: You may sense a pattern here, but for as long as I can remember, I have consumed mass amounts of comedy in all forms. The 80s and early 90s were firmly ensconced in the comedy boom when there was SO much stand-up comedy on TV. I would religiously watch shows like Evening at the Improv, Carloine’s Comedy Hour, VH1 Stand-Up Spotlight just to name a few. I probably started watching these shows at way too young of an age and as a result, it has informed the way I think and look at life. The Oscars almost always dismiss comedy, but I think it’s way harder to do good comedy than good drama. I have so much respect for people who can professionally make me laugh.
Korean food: Sorry to betray my heritage and pick korean over japanese food, but I could really eat korean every day. Japanese food is all about simplicity, subtlety, presentation, and precision, and I love it, but korean food includes all that while spanning a way bigger flavor spectrum. As much as I love ramen, I could not eat that every day. I could eat my wife’s kimchi chigae every day though.
Good company: Put me in a party with 20-plus people and I will freeze up like a Windows PC, but nothing beats making the dumbest jokes and laughing hard with a few good friends.
I came across this article yesterday and after reading it, I couldn’t help but feel compelled to write a companion article. This is not intended to mock people who have all the time in the world to wake up at 5:30 voluntarily, this is just to make people who have that luxury feel bad. Also, that last sentence was a joke. Also, two sentences ago was a thinly veiled defense mechanism because it is a luxury my wife and I no longer have and IF I ONLY had that much time I would get SO much more blogging done…and by blogging I mean Internet surfing.
Waking up early every day for the past 21 months has been one of the most life changing things that has ever happened to me. Having to wake up a few times each night is one of the most character-building things in parenthood. Even though our son now (mostly) sleeps through the night, he’ll still wake up at about 5:30-6am. Today, I’m still waking up early and I want to reveal how I did it and what happened to me.