Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I drove behind the same car all the way home from work today. Its license plate said "Eat a peach." (Or, in the language of personalized licence plates, EET A PCH.) I generally have a pet peeve about personalized license plates, and this one was somehow worse because I was really, really hungry. I don't know if personalized license plates piss me off because they are generally meaningless, because people spent extra money to put nonsense on their car, or because I am never able to ask people why they chose a particular message. For instance, on the way home today, I really wanted to ask the driver, was EAT A PCH already taken? Did you really have to misspell the word eat?

Intentionally misspelling words is also a huge pet peeve of mine. There was a gas station in Missouri called the Kum and Go. "What?!" I would scream at it every time I passed, usually during hour four of my drive home from college. Then that would be followed by "Why?! Why?! Why?! WHY?!" There is absolutely no justification for spelling the word come, K - U - M. You can't change two thirds of the letters and claim it's the same word!

One of my old friends has a pet peeve about pet peeves. She claims they are selfish and silly. Rereading the previous paragraphs, I will at least have to agree with the silly part. But, (and I promise this is my last pet peeve,) my friend is not a teacher. This means that my friend has not developed a pet peeve through hearing your name repeated 416 every minute. This is the pet peeve of all pet peeves. Maybe the first two should just be called peeves, because in comparison to the last one, they are not fed and nurtured nearly as much. I tell my students in that teeth-gritted, about-to-lose-it tone of voice, "Do not call out my name one more time." They listen for about ten minutes, then forget again. I know it's only day five of the school year, so I don't have them fully trained yet, but I'm working on it.

Last year, my students were spectacularly trained. One student even told another adult who was bugging me, "I wouldn't mess with Ms. Armstrong. It's fifth period and she hasn't eaten lunch yet. She's about to be in a bad mood." And my students knew they weren't allowed to ask me any questions until I had finished my meal. The time I spent eating was the best behaved they were at any point during the day. And they almost always quietly, raised their hands instead of yelling out my name.

So, until my new students are fully trained, don't dare to call me Ms. Armstrong. And, no, I will not EET a peach.

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