Friday, February 8, 2013

A Carnival of Peeves

Any man of a respectable age will find himself vexed by life's minor follies, an intelligent man much by many. These peeves eventually sum such a quantity that they plague the man en masse, a carnival of peeves. They begin to swirl around him in a kaleidoscopic display of transmogrifying irritations, combining and complementing and amplifying one another to the mounting terror of the man.

It is at this time the man diagnoses himself insane. Surely he has lost whatever sifts or diverts such tweaking gestures away from the fore of the mind.

Should chewing gum bother me? It's but a mild vice and she's your friend, a thoughtful, talented girl. . . but oh that endless, bovine mastication. And the smacking, the smacking, her saliva splashing as the gum squishes betwixt her chomping teeth. The smacking!

I could tolerate it, though, alone. Yet the phone beeps and bloops and regurgitates every digital blip programmed into its tinny insides even as the radio blares the techno remix and everyone's talking and the horns are blaring and this is preposterous. Vexation at such is no byproduct of priggishness or excessive perspicacity but of an intolerable affront.

Yet surely I can better bear the foibles of my fellow man. What then of people who repeat themselves? Every time you meet them, after the usual pleasantries pass, it comes: the story. It matters not the topic, the repeaters have them all. Whether on politics or jobs or sports they pin you with their ever-ready angle and gored by the inane protrusion you stand there helpless. Then someone enters. A friend and ally? If only. Now the newcomer must be caught up and so the story begins anew, only the new interlocutor finds the tale fascinating and begins to pepper Scheherazade with questions. She naturally grows thirsty and begins to drink her soda, sucking each swig's remainder from the lip of the can. Madness.

What of the theater's rubes and irritants? The shaky-kneed paper-crinklers and the people who suck their teeth at every plot point. While the gentleman invites by charm, these people ensnare others in their ravenous presence. Such foibles are not mild transgressions but destructive aggressions which claim more and more of the public space until an inferno of aggravation drives out every civilized man.

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