MY PET PEEVES has asked me to stop writing about him for a bit. Too much attention, he barks. Needs a break, fame is unforgiving, etc..

However, he has asked me to ask everyone I know—myself included, needless to say–to stop saying stupid things.

Here’s not only his list, but “at the end of the day,” why he can’t stand hearing them anymore:

“At the end of the day.”
Translation: Right now, I’m in the dark.
“Deal with it.”
Translation: I’m not.

“Pay it forward.”
Translation: Take the money and run.

“Giving back.”
Translation: To get more.

“It’s all about you.”
Translation: Make it all about me?

“I’m getting on with my life, leaving this behind me, moving on.”
Translation: Fuck you. AND it’s all your fault. AND none of it’s mine.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Translation: Nor do I want to.

“That’s boring.”
Translation: Either you’re afraid to say anything, or I’m afraid to hear it.

“I care about you.”
Translation: Duck. Run for cover. Look out..

I’m lonely.
Translation: I’m a snob. (I hate rejects like me.).

“We’re moving forward.”
Translation: We’re going backwards. No questions allowed.



Photo of Peeves barking out sermon.

<p>Photo of Peeves barking out sermon.

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This is a post from my junior high teacher, Bernie Schein. Clearly, one of the influences that ensures I remain a warped individual today.

Right, Peeves is my dog’s name, a mauzer, a cross between a schnauser and maltese. I call him “Pee” for short, because he is short, like most Jews. He attends our synagogue right here in Beaufort. Photo (above) of him barking out guest sermon. Hey, he was as understandable as the Israeli who only spoke Hebrew. Besides, most sermons I’ve heard were in English and they were coma-inducing. Incomprehension at least arouses curiosity. That’s what Peeves and the Israeli had in common. So relatively speaking, I would have to rate them pretty high on the Sermon Scale. And you know how everyone almost always starts chatting away with each other once the rabbi begins the sermon. Not with old Pee up there. No sir. They seemed fascinated. My cousin, Barbara Mark, is now featuring him, top billing, right above Eli Weisel in fact, in our annual fund-raiser. So after Pee’s sermon, Barbara’s so delighted she invites him to sit in her lap. Pee aims to please. He is unbelievably obedient. I’m great with him. He does everything I say, and naturally because he sees everyone else as me, like I do, he does everything they say. So when cousin Barbara says, “Come here, Pee,” patting her lap, “here, Pee, Here Pee. Here, that’s it, Good dog, yes, right here, Pee,” well Pee pees. Yep, right there in her lap. So the moral of this story? I know, a real cliff-hanger. What can I say? Never tell a dog to pee in your lap? Never tell a dog to do anything, since he will? Teaching Obedience, at the expense of critical and independent thinking, is immoral? Our educational system sucks? We suck? Pee pees? Dogs can be passive-aggressive? Cousin Barbara didn’t have a treat for him. I always do, naturally. He just about lives on them. I spoil him? So what? He didn’t pee on me. My question, and the question for all guilt-ridden Jews–in other words, all but perhaps seven in the whole world–Whose fault is it? Mine? Cousin Barbara’s? The system? And this is what we’ll deal with in our next lesson. Be thinking: 100% of your grade will be based on your contribution. See you on Monday!!!



Since I’m a Jew, a member of the tribe with the runaway tongues who worries about everything under the sun that is totally meaningless and unimportant, here’s what I constantly get from loved ones trying to help:

“Let it go, Bernie. Don’t absorb it.”


Don’t you think if I could, I would?




Again, don’t you think if I could, I would? Advising a Jew to relax is like asking a narcoleptic to Hell, just get up off his ass, Man up, if you catch my drift. It’s like asking a paraplegic to try jogging. No legs? Hell, take off without ’em. You’re brain-dead? Here, try this calculus problem, give it a go, Bubba., that’s the American Way.


Here’s my favorite: “Get a hobby.”


Sure, that ought to do it. Four thousand years of anxiety, and the solution to worrying over nothing is photography? Besides, fishing makes me anxious. Too much time there to start fretting again. Golf? A Jew playing golf is a country-club Jew, playing at being a Gentile, all casual, everything in hand, everything under control, not a care in the world. Sure.


I told my wife Martha that such comments were unhelpful, dismissive, and that people who made them were trying to “fix” me, which is another way of saying they didn’t want to feel my pain, that they lacked empathy, and that, I concluded, is what is wrong with the world.


“No empathy for a man who spends his life worrying, in his words, over ‘absolutely nothing?’ Get over it.”


“Get over it?’


Right. I married a Gentile, a real one. Mom warned me about this. ‘Get over it’?


“Don’t you think if I could, I would?”


“Sure, where’s the remote? My program’s on.”


“Martha, you’re not listening.”


“Don’t you think if I could, I would?”


Good point, don’t you agree?