Monday, December 11, 2006

Pet Peeves

Two of my pet peeves have come to the forefront this Christmas season. OK, make that three. . .

First, "Holiday" v. "Christmas"---I understand that there is more than one religious holiday going on around this time of year and I have no problem with that. But when stores use red and green colors to decorate, and reindeer and sleighbells and decorated evergreen trees and they speak of "visions of sugarplums" and the sales only last until December 25th and the stores STILL REFUSE to use the word 'Christmas' despite employing every tactic to evoke images of it in the mind of the consumer with the express purpose of making money off of it, then I have a problem.

#2, inappropriate use of the apostrophe S. Folks, please learn the difference between plural, possessive, and plural possessive, in particular if English is your first language. I hate shopping at the store and seeing, "Watermelon's, $4." I discovered the latest setback in our country's collective intelligence just the other day: "Happy Holiday's!!"

And #3, I'm just too tired to remember it now. 12-11-06: I remembered as soon as I stepped away from the computer: Obesity! Mind you, I'm coming at this from a purely medical point of view. I read somewhere that 80% of healthcare costs are due to behavioral issues (using psychoactive substances, not wearing helmets or seatbelts, not being active, overeating, bad eating, staying with the man who beats you, etc.). And obesity is a major risk factor not only for hardening of the arteries and heart disease, but contributes to congestive heart failure, sleep apnea, arthritis, diabetes, and poor venous return in the legs (which leads to nasty, I repeat nasty skin infections). And as a surgery resident, I have seen waaaaaay too many incisions get infected and never heal for MONTHS because fat has bad blood supply and easily harbors infections. And yet, somehow complications like this are always the doctor's fault (this is why I'm mad). When I was in France, my penpal's friends came up to me and grabbed my arm and asked (in French), "Is it true that over 60% of the US population is overweight or obese?!" with the tone of urgency normally reserved for discussing natural disasters or sudden war. Yes, my friend, it is. Unfortunately, we can't all be supermodel thin (also an unhealthy extreme), most people have a pound or two they would like to be rid of (I'm in this category), and I'm not talking about these people. I'm talking about extreme cases here, and even these are too prevalent.

Why do I bring this up at Christmastime? So I'm in the store looking at Christmas decorations and see a stuffed reindeer toy that talks and snores. I press on it to hear what he says: "Oh boy [yawn], am I tired! I do all the work, and you're just a fat passenger!! [mumbles and begins snoring]" I swear, I thought I would fall down in the aisle.


At 8:01 AM, Blogger Kristina said...

The whole Christmas v holiday thing has got me pretty annoyed this year. At my son's (public) school, they are not allowed to celebrate Christmas (understandably). They can, however, decorate a "holiday" tree for the local museum, make gingerbread cookies, have a "holiday" party the last day before vacation, and they can have "Reindeer Lane", which is a thing that comes to the school where kids can buy "holiday" gifts for friends and family. Um, the last time I checked, Reindeer pull a sleigh. So, the kids get all worked up and excited, but they can't celebrate the real reason they are excited. And, we absolutely can't talk about the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas. All I keep hearing this year is that the "Holiday season is about family and friends". Wow. It seems almost taboo to acknowlege the real reason for Christmas, or even to wish someone a "Merry Christmas".

Anyway, the "'s" thing really annoys my husband. He hates seeing signs at people's house that say, for example, "The Smith's". Unless you are saying that is the Smith's house, it should say "The Smiths", as in "the Smiths live here". I do realize, though, that we all make mistakes. My brain has turned to mush since having children, and I am sure that (in addition to my excessive use of commas and parenthesis), I probably occassionally improperly use 's and confuse there, their, and they're. For that, I apologize. However, in stores, there is no excuse. Grammar should be correct.

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Jaws said...

Good grief, no need to apologize! :o)

I saw a bumper sticker the other day: "Motherhood, changing society one diaper at a time." So this is your chance to make sure your kids never make the same mistake with apostrophes! :o)

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Kristina said...

My husband and I used to edit each other's work in college. I hope to someday regain full use of my brain (or whatever use I once had, since we supposedly don't use all of our brain's potential) - oh, see I do use lots of commas and parenthesis -anyway, I can't imagine that either of us will tolerate such grammar errors from our children.

Oh, and I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read #3 (the end part, not the fact that Americans are overweight). I am often appalled by the people in my town. This county has the largest percentage of residents who are overweight in the ENTIRE state. We also have the highest number of smokers and the highest teen pregnancy rate. We are so unhealthy. But not "we", because I am none of those things. ;)

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Jaws said...

Oh yes, smoking. Don't even get me started there.

I try to encourage patients to quit, that the benefits of a smoke-free life are so wonderful, how the circulation to their feet will improve and they won't have pain in their toes FROM THE LACK OF OXYGEN but they tell me it's just too hard to quit.

I say, "Yes, but it's also hard to walk once I'VE AMPUTATED YOUR FEET."

And they wonder why they're in the hospital. Geez.


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