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Pet Peeves

21 May 2014, 11:16

This morning Sir Iru’s erudite irritabilities knew no bounds and he let loose with a string of peeves as long as they were accurate and I happen to agree with him. (Yes, Charles, I know he’s an atheist)

One of my pet peeves is official forms with a little block that says PLEASE DO NOT WRITE HERE. So I comply, with a little addition. I spread a little blob of candle wax on the space and spread it around evenly, then scrape it off. My reasoning is quite simple: if I cannot write in there…

Then of course there are our beloved Metro cops, who direct traffic every single day (unless it’s raining) at a robot that’s working perfectly, thereby buggering up the traffic. One kilometre back, however, a major robot is out, with the cars being backed up all the way down Harrow Road (I refuse to call it Joe Slovo Drive. What did he ever do for me? At least the road is harrowing, and the name accurate, but I digress) as far as the off-ramp from the M1 South.

Juju excelled at woodwork, it seems, so he’s in a better position to build a cabinet than Jacob Zuma, although Jacob pulled off something near miraculous. He built a cabinet out of a$$holes. That takes some talent, what with his Grade five education.

My secretary, who is highly qualified, and has attended a number of courses (compulsory) at Liberty Life, earns R12 000 per month. The miners, who are common labourers, expect to earn R12 500 a month, and all they can do is drill holes. My son has his Masters in Artificial Intelligence (i.e. ANC: there is no intelligence more artificial than theirs) and is doing his PhD in Quantum Computing while working as a full-time lecturer. His salary? R17 500 a month.

People who say ‘amount’ when they mean ‘number’.  ‘We have to get the right amount of black players in our cricket team.’ And it’s very often the more educated people, such as newsreaders, who confuse the two.

Massive used incorrectly: ‘A massive earthquake struck Columbia today.’ No, a huge, gigantic or immense earthquake; not massive. It shifted a lot of mass, but it itself had no mass.

‘I hear you.’ Really? Is that what those things on the side of your head are for? How about, ‘I understand?’ or even, ‘Really?’

‘At this time’. What about ‘now’ or ‘currently’? It probably needs a paradigm shift to level the playing fields, so we must all put our shoulders to the wheel and play the ball, not the man.

How about this one? ‘Well, basically the way I see it, you only have one body, so you have to look after it.’ Really? I thought after this one wears out we are given a new one! And basically, oh my word, basically. This is the ‘umm’ for people with very little education and/or intellect who want to come across as intelligent.

‘I didn’t come all this way to lose.’ Wow! That is so refreshing, because we find the case with most people is they do come all this way to lose. You are one unique individual and I doff my lid to you.

I love the English language and I have no problem with dialectical English: what I do have a problem with is people who come up with an original phrase which everyone immediately adopts as their own.

One of my all-time peeves is when they interview celebrity Christians. Now I’m not for a moment disparaging their faith or the genuineness of their faith. What I am disparaging is their free use of CS Lewis’ famous assertion, which they then trot out as if it were their own original thought.

‘Well, the way I look at it, Jesus was the Son of God or he was a liar or a lunatic. And he doesn’t come across as a lunatic, so he must be the Son of God and he said he’s God, so that settles it for me.'

The problem is, most of them have never read CS Lewis, so they’re actually quoting what they heard someone else say, then paraphrasing it as their own thoughts. That is disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst.

And we couldn’t leave out sports commentators, now could we?

‘They’re going to want to take his wicket!’ Really? Is that why they’re bowling the ball at him? I thought it was for him to hit it!

‘Ooh, he won’t want to lose his wicket.’ Most of these people are ex-players, so they enlighten us to the mind-set of the player and finer the details of the game. I’m fascinated to find out that a batsman doesn’t want to lose his wicket! And here I thought I knew the game.

‘This is a match they’ll want to win.’ Hmm! And here I thought it was up for the losing. Just goes to show; sport is a lot more complex than we believe it to be.

And finally, not a peeve, but a Brian Johnsonism. Brian Johnson was for years one of the favourites of listeners to Test Match Special. The West Indies were playing at Lords, and were out in the field. He commented. ‘It’s a bitterly cold day here at Lords and all the fielders are wearing two jerseys, and putting their hands in their pockets between balls.’

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