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Thread: Pet Peeves

  1. #1
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    Pet Peeves

    There is a Washington state attorney, Robert Cumbow, who contributes articles to the state bar association's Bar News publication about writing better. I usually find his articles of interest, as I am always trying to improve MY writing. One of my pet peeves, which he shares, is the rampant misuse of the apostrophe in the spelling of plurals of things. I see it everywhere these days: photo's rather than photos, 1990's instead of 1990s, DVD's instead of the proper DVDs, etc. Folks, please just add the "s"--not apostrophe "s."

    Cumbow mentioned in one article three or four years ago that the NEW YORK TIMES was about the only major publication in the world that, for some bizarre reason, still insisted on spelling 1990s as 1990's, for example. Well, I noticed that starting this year, 2007, the NYT has started spelling 1990s as 1990s. It appears they have changed their ways and joined the rest of the publishing world.

    Oh, and another one of my peeves, among many, is when the local TV news goes to a "live" report in the field somewhere. The roving reporter says a few introductory words, then what you really get is a pre-recorded video of something that is the main substance of the piece, followed by the reporter saying a few follow-up words, including "Reporting live, from Xville."

    What is your pet peeve?

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Hey, Box, are you a Washington state attorney? I am. You can find me at Riddell Williams.

    I sometimes read Cumbow. I caught him out one time and wrote him. He was very gracious about it.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Thanks, Dan!

    I've tried to be mindful of that when writing the word, "its," as in "The penguin must always be aware of its surroundings when plunging into the deep abyss." However, more often than not, I violate that rule, as when I refer to the 70s or 80s. It's so hard not to type 70's or 80's.

    I can appreciate such notices on diction.

    Got any more?

    Regards,


    Juan

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    I think anyone who treats the English language as something of value should be supported, even if he steps out of line once in a while.

    The rise of the internet, text messaging, email and (yes) message board posting has made poor grammar and spelling an accepted part of the language. The thought, reflection and editing that go into letter-writing is a thing of the past. If you saw the way even professionals write nowadays, you would think that we are regressing back to the muck at an alarming rate.

    CHECK YOUR G'DAMN SPELLING -- AND I DON'T MEAN WITH "SPELLCHECK".

    In the words of Bob Dylan, from Chronicles, Vol. I, "Spelling is important."

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    Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink

    And can we fix this saying before it, too, gets out-of-hand? It's "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink"--not "wink, wink, nod, nod," or a half dozen other incorrect variations of this Monty Python-inspired phrase. It's meant as: using your elbow to nudge the person next to you in the ribs to get his attention first, then winking knowingly without having to say anything. ("Say no more!") It today has become a phrase used in the context of saying one thing, but implying something totally different that people understand without it having to be explicitly said.

    I hear so many incorrect variations of this. What in the hell does "wink, wink, nod, nod" mean? That doesn't make a lick of sense, compared to the correct saying--which makes total sense.

    Also:
    I don't have a problem with typos, mistakes, and the like when made in message boards like this. That's understandable and to be expected. What I am pointing out is stuff that is learned incorrectly and being passed on to other folks. As Deputy Barney Fife would say," Let's nip it. Nip it in the bud!"
    Last edited by BoxofDaylight; 01-17-2007 at 03:43 PM.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Towards. There is no such word. It's toward in all cases but I see even the NY Times using towards.

    GorDoom

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    "Utilize." A word used only by pretentious morons.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Hey,

    Not to bust anyone's chops, but, here are two things quickly:

    1. From www.dictionary.com :

    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source
    to·ward /prep. tɔrd, toʊrd, təˈwɔrd, twɔrd, twoʊrd; adj. tɔrd, toʊrd/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[prep. tawrd, tohrd, tuh-wawrd, twawrd, twohrd; adj. tawrd, tohrd] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

    –preposition Also, to·wards. 1. in the direction of: to walk toward the river.
    2. with a view to obtaining or having; for: They're saving money toward a new house.
    3. in the area or vicinity of; near: Our cabin is toward the top of the hill.
    4. turned to; facing: Her back was toward me.
    5. shortly before; close to: toward midnight.
    6. as a help or contribution to: to give money toward a person's expenses.
    7. with respect to; as regards: his attitude toward women.
    –adjective 8. about to come soon; imminent.
    9. going on; in progress; afoot: There is work toward.
    10. propitious; favorable.
    11. Obsolete. a. promising or apt, as a student.
    b. compliant; docile.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [Origin: bef. 900; ME; OE tōweard. See to, -ward]

    —Related forms
    to·ward·ness, noun
    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
    Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
    Two, now about the word, utilize:

    "Utilize." A word used only by pretentious morons.
    Um, in all fairness, I think the word, utilize, is one of those words that gets used almost unconsciously by many because it's been heard and repeated so many times.

    Dr. Michael Easley once chuckled about a phrase similarly thrown around in Evangelical prayers: Dear Lord, I just want to...

    As a high school and college student, I used to use the word, utilize liberally. That is, until one day an English teacher one day introduced his pet peeve about that word. He talked about speaking directly and simply, citing that the word, use, says the same thing and less pretentiously so.

    Nudge, nudge, say no more...

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    And can we fix this saying before it, too, gets out-of-hand? It's "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink"--not "wink, wink, nod, nod," or a half dozen other incorrect variations of this Monty Python-inspired phrase.
    A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.............

    I think the 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink" gets twisted up with, e.g. he said, "with a wink and a nod".

    My current personal disfavorite is "think out of the box".

    I've had to attend at least several hundred meetings in the last several years where there is always someone using that phrase. We used to play a little game called "bullshit bingo" where each time someone used a worn out catch phrase or phrase of the month one of us would cough while saying bingo. Sounds a bit stupid but not nearly as stupid as a person using overused jargon trying to act "in tune". It also broke the boredom.

    Talk's cheap, I'm expensive.

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    Thumper is my hero

    Just typing "think outside the box" makes my friggen skin crawl.

    Here's another one of mine and as far as CORRECT speak, I know it's incorrect, but for anyone to point out the Correct way to say it, makes me want to hit them in the face with a rusty shovel.

    RBI's Stands for Runs Batted In. I KNOW the Runs part of it is where the "s" is and it is not Ins .

    But If someone comes up and corrects me with: "It's R's BI not RBIs", I will literally stab them with a fork right in thier esophagus.

    Hawk

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    I stand by my disdain for "utilize." There is no situation where "use" can't be substituted. It's a word for people who need to sound smarter than they are, ie, consultants.

    "On the ground." We are going to have 20,000 more soldiers "on the ground" in Iraq. Where the f*** do you think soldiers are going to be, genius?

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    That's 'Copasetic'...

    Hey DScribeDC,

    I hear you. Since that class in college back in the 80s, I've pretty much shied away from using the word, utilize, for reasons cited before. And yes, it does get tiresome hearing it tossed around.

    One word I never cared for and which--thankfully--seems to have died a quiet death is "copasetic."

    Man, I hated that slang word. Yuck.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don't say thank you when you hold the door for them... a friend of mine held the door of her apartment building for about 60 seconds because she saw the woman behind her carrying groceries... the woman didn't thank her, so she said, "Well thank you, you stupid bitch!" I've never done that, we both agreed you shouldn't answer rudeness with rudeness, but I still gave my friend a "high five".

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by DscribeDC
    "On the ground." We are going to have 20,000 more soldiers "on the ground" in Iraq. Where the f*** do you think soldiers are going to be, genius?
    I'm guessing some will shortly be in the ground.

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    Re: Thumper is my hero

    Quote Originally Posted by hawk5ins
    Here's another one of mine and as far as CORRECT speak, I know it's incorrect, but for anyone to point out the Correct way to say it, makes me want to hit them in the face with a rusty shovel.

    RBI's Stands for Runs Batted In. I KNOW the Runs part of it is where the "s" is and it is not Ins .

    But If someone comes up and corrects me with: "It's R's BI not RBIs", I will literally stab them with a fork right in thier esophagus.
    "RBIs" is correct. Initialisms form irregular plurals and tenses. The next time someone argues for "Three RBI" ask him if he'd also say "Three POW were rescued today."

    "RsBI" is absurd. Are there people who argue that's correct? Would they also say, "Foreman was K'dO by Ali"?

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    Rtfb

    "RBIs" is correct. Initialisms form irregular plurals and tenses. The next time someone argues for "Three RBI" ask him if he'd also say "Three POW were rescued today."

    "RsBI" is absurd. Are there people who argue that's correct? Would they also say, "Foreman was K'dO by Ali"?

    For some reason, all this wacky talk reminds me of something an instructor at a work-related class wrote on the chalkboard many years ago.

    It read, "If all else fails, RTFB."

    When someone asked what that meant, the instructor deadpanned, "READ THE BOOK!"

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don't say thank you when you hold the door for them... a friend of mine held the door of her apartment building for about 60 seconds because she saw the woman behind her carrying groceries... the woman didn't thank her, so she said, "Well thank you, you stupid bitch!" I've never done that, we both agreed you shouldn't answer rudeness with rudeness, but I still gave my friend a "high five".
    Yeah, I hate it when that happens. That, or you let a pedestrian cross in front of you when you have the right of way, or you let a car in during a pause in crowded traffic, and they don't give you even the slightest acknowledgement.

    That--or even worse--you are driving in a main lane at a large parking lot. Someone brazenly crosses all the aisle lines coming towards you at a diagonal trajectory and forces you to apply the brakes to avoid hitting them, then shoots you a dirty look, like you're in the wrong!

    I've had this happen a time or two.

    That, or people recklessly cut you off on the highway because they're in such a big hurry. No appology. No raising of the hand to say, "Oops, sorry!"

    I've noticed this more with people in huge SUVs. Just total attitude. Like, my car can squash your car, so get the hell out of the way!

    Man, don't you just want to drag them out of their cars and pummel them senseless?
    Last edited by Juan C Ayllon; 01-18-2007 at 01:02 AM.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    I notice people saying "That's my bad." I think it's the same as "That's my mistake.", but I'm not sure. Anyway, I hate it.

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    Gentle Oblivion

    I have so many piccadillos about the spoken word that I don't even know where to begin. But the king of them all is the people who pronounce the word "often" as "off-ten". The fucking "t" is soft. Drives me up the wall. Yet it's everywhere (note the proper use of the apostophe in "it's").

    But my king of all pet peeves (not just language peeves) is something I only realized about 2 and a half years ago. Since my wife had ourt twins (bringing our offspring count to three), I do all the grocery shopping. Always on a Saturday mid-afternoon - right when I have to get away from the screaming children for some serenity. BUT....

    At the grocery store, there are these people. You've all seen them, know who they are; unless you're one of them (very good odds that some of you are) in which case you won't have a clue what I'm talking about: people that take up the whole aisle in the grocery store.

    They park their cart on one side of the aisle, then stand beside it, taking up the other side of the aisle while they carefully and thoughtfully consider every possible culinary option on the shelf. You can walk your cart right up to one of these drooling fuckheads, clear your throat, tap your foot and armpit fart out "Ave Maria" from point blank range, but nothing can pull them out of their dietary reverie. "Excuse me," sometimes works. "Do you mindf moving so I can get past," will often provoke an apology. One particularly bad day I found that, "Hey asshole, get the fuck out of the way," will actually create a look of horror as they dart back to the back of their cart and drag it sideways to create as much room for you as possible. I like that one.

    I call these the "gentle oblivion" people. Utterly without any consideration that they are not the only person existing on the planet.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    But the king of them all is the people who pronounce the word "often" as "off-ten". The fucking "t" is soft.
    Geez, I heard this just the other day. Isn't it funny how some people take special care to pronounce it that way, sometimes pausing for effect, as if to underscore their 'gramatical superiority' to all those around.

    Yeah.

    I can also relate to the grocery aisle story. Thanks for the laugh!

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by Juan C Ayllon
    That, or people recklessly cut you off on the highway because they're in such a big hurry. No appology. No raising of the hand to say, "Oops, sorry!"

    I've noticed this more with people in huge SUVs. Just total attitude. Like, my car can squash your car, so get the hell out of the way!

    Man, don't you just want to drag them out of their cars and pummel them senseless?
    Take it from someone who knows: when you drive a BIG truck, even the SUVs think twice about pulling that kind of shit on you. PeteLeo.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    "off-TEN" is horrible. Brits, especially, seem to really hammer that T. I wonder if they use fabric sof-TE-ner on their clothes.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Are we just bitchy today or is it we enjoy a nice glass of whine?

    Either way, it's fun.

    Please note my proper utilization of the apostrophe.

    Another question...is the "t" silent in bitch?

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    I hate "mean-spirited," which is a namby-pamby usage used to deride any comment or statement vehemently in opposition to one's own beliefs. One's own beliefs are "passionate"; those in opposition "mean-spirited." This is one of those terms that was developed for use by mealy-mouthed politicians and somehow escaped across the Beltway to infect the rest of America.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Here's one for ya: I was in a stall in our cramped faculty Men's Room. It's maybe 10' X 6.' Then, someone came in, took care of business quickly, and walked out, but not before turning off the light.

    Of course, the hallway was loud with passing students, so he couldn't hear my "HEY!" as he exited.

    So, I sat grousing in the dark.

    A swirly would have been in order. Idiot!

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Juan - that's a good one. It reminds me of when I was in university and would, as often as possible, dump a bucket of ice-cold water over the shower curtain on whatever unfortunate soul happened to be cleansing himself at the time.

    This isn't a pet peeve, just something funny that happened to me in a public men's room a couple of years ago. I was sitting there doing what you do in the men's room, when from a couple of stalls down came this low groan. Then a loud grunt, then a deafening series of grunts, moans and "hunh, hunh" heaves that went on for about 30 seconds. I had my hand clamped over my mouth and was chewing the insides of my cheeks to keep from laughing.

    Then, after all that effort, came a large plop. There was no holding it back then - I laughed until I was weeping, pounding my feet on the floor. It took me about an hour before I was completely together again.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Hi TKO11,

    Thanks! I loved the water over the shower curtain trick, too. Nice crapper story!

    So, you were a prankster in college, too? What is it about us creative types, anyway?

    I loved doing that sort of thing back then, too!

    Here's a few of my favorites:

    - filling up a plastic bag full of Edge Shaving Gel, inserting the mouth of the bag under a dorm door, and stomping on it. Instead of merely sending shaving cream into the room, it blew the door wide open and sent a relatively narrow band of a gelatenous and foamy mixture across their carpet, up the side of the desk, up my pants leg, and onto the ceiling. Of course, someone else got in trouble, as my buddy and I ran. The nearest squealing witnesses recognized the laughter of an innocent onlooker, who took the fall for me.

    - Running around Iowa State University's Friley Hall with an athletic squirt bottle and nailing people with their doors open. I got quite a few--maybe 30 people.

    - On Halloween, donning a hideous devil's mask, knocking on doors, jumping and screaming gutterally when people answered. It so happened that the first night I did this, a horror movie was showing and many people were watching it. Almost always, people screamed, jumped and, afterwards said, "Man, you got me good, dude," or words to that effect.

    - "Pennying in" a strange ex-roommate named Dennis into his dorm, then asking our R.A. if I can borrow her phone. She was busy, so she said, "Go ahead." I took the phone handset out in the hallway and left it there for several hours. Dennis couldn't reach the R.A. and a friend couldn't dig out the penneys jammed in his doorway.

    For the uninitiated, "Pennying in" someone is when you get someone to lock their deadbolt--usually by annoying the heck out of them--then silently exerting a LOT of pressure inwards on the door. Then, you insert small stacks of pennys inbetween the door and the door jam (I usually pre-taped about five pennys together). Then, when they try to unlock the deadbolt, the pressure on the bolt is so great, they can't budge it.

    Sure enough, about a minute after I returned the phone handset to the R.A., she came pounding on my door and told me to let Dennis out.

    - Borrowing the master key from our R.A. when Bobby--a friend who'd been a previous victim, as well as instigator of pranks--went home for the weekend. I turned his place upside down and had a gal stash his mattress in the women's restroom.

    Bobby came back, raved about his trip home and said, "The best thing about it was that YOU COULDN'T TOUCH MY ROOM! About a minute later, he came back, white as a sheet, and said, "What the f--! How the hell did you get into my room? I-I-I have no security! You better tell me...

    My roomate and I had him convinced that we broke in by climbing in via the narrow ledge just outside his fifth story window. After all, we didn't want him to know our secret!

    - Green-wiring Dennis' phone. Back in the day, Bell telephones didn't have the easily unclipped phone lines. They were screwed in. You simply removed the face of the phone, tucked a green wire under the dial face out of view. Then, you or someone else would call them up. With the green wire disconnected, the ringing would never stop until the caller hung up.

    Dennis was out and left his door unlocked, I greenwired the phone and--knowing that Dennis would suspect me--I had someone else call him up. When he got home and discovered he couldn't get the phone to stop ringing, he came to my room. My roommate and I played dumb.

    His phone rang for hours and hours. Then it went silent. He and a friend had laboriously disconnected the phone. Eventually, I went over and, feeling a tinge of guilt, reconnected the green wire and told him to put everything back in place.

    By the way, in case you think I was just mean, Dennis had gotten on my bad side by bugging me and repeatedly terrorizing my ex-girlfriend at the time. I literally had to threaten his life to get him to leave her alone

    - Leaning a garbage can full of water (along with other dorm mates) against an elevator door and sending it to a girl's dorm floor in the Towers at I.S.U.

    - Getting a bunch of fellow gym mates at Gold's Gym in Ontario, California to half lift/half drag the gym manager's car onto the sidewalk in front of the gym and telling him someone moved his car.

    - My ex-roommate, James, got me when I pulled up to our rented condo in Baldwin Park one day. I was entering the garage and he called, "Hey, Juan," from the kitchen window, which was on the second floor above the garage.

    I looked up just in time to catch a dousing of water in the face!

    - On a retreat, someone was at the door, so I opened it and I literally got a whipped cream pie in the face from some girls next door.

    Needless to say, they got a waste basket full of water leaned up on their door later, which took them about half an hour to get out of the carpeting after they unsuspectingly opened their hotel room door...

    There's much, much more, but that's enough for now...

    Cheers,


    Juan
    Last edited by Juan C Ayllon; 01-18-2007 at 11:47 PM.

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Honestly Juan, when I think about what an ass I was in those days, I'm surprised I had any friends. Some of my university favorites were:

    Getting about 10 guys and picking up this English exchange student's car and moving it to a different parking lot. We did this 4 nights in a row before we got caught by the Campus Police. I worked for them doing security, so they let us go with the promise to stop it.

    The "Frozen Diaper". This had a bunch of things happen at once. First, it was January and about -10 degrees. One of the guys in the townhouse complex we lived in had sent away for a free sample of Depends, and had it sent to another one of the guys. Good for a chuckle, but not much else. But as it sat on the dining table, another roomie was making brownies that ended up way too gooey to eat. The remains of these, of course, ended up in the Depends diaper. Which was then snuck out and held onto the doorknob of the girl's townhouse right across from us until it froze there. Caused quite an uproar - first they thought it was crap, then they found it had run into the keyhole and froze there as well, meaning the lock had to be replaced....

    The ice-water over the shower curtain was my favorite though - that was when I lived in the dorms. Nobody was safe. Everyone showered in terror if they thought I was around. Of course, that meant reprisals - I ended up showering in the middle of the night most of the time just so nobody would catch me and pull it on me.

    One Saturday I had a date, and had to shower in the aftyernoon when everyone was around. I KNEW someone would be coming. So when I heard the pneumatic hinge on the door I looked out and saw one of my prior victims standing there with the bucket. He said, "Aw crap," and left. When I heard the hinge again, I counted to 5 and then charged. He was in the middle of the room and the bucket was left hanging in the air as he bolted. I chased him halfway across the residence before I got cold and went back.

    Now I'm about 6'4" and in those days went about 210. So when I later tracked this guy down I asked, "Why didn't you nail me with the water? I was right there! Why'd you take off on the run?" His response left me in tears again...

    "What would you do if a big nude guy was running straight at you?"

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    Re: Pet Peeves

    Those are great stories, TKO11!

    Yeah, I was (still am?) pretty obnoxious at times with my pranks.

    Years ago, my brother Luis's then-girlfriend and now wife of 20+ years, Lisa, came by our parents' house for the first time and spent the night.

    Well, she had this huge old Teddy Bear with an eye hanging out and the other one missing. It was lying around the place, so I took matters in my own hands. I plucked the other eye out to make it look better and, feeling obnoxious, hung it from the ceiling in a noose.

    Okay, yeah, so I had a pretty demented sense of humor at the time...

    Still bored, I saw that she left her car unlocked. So, after a few beers, my friend, Scott and I shifted it into neutral, pushed it out onto the island in the middle of our cul de sac and turned on all the buttons in her car (i.e., radio, windshield wipers, heater and fan) to their "high" settings.

    This was our demented way of welcoming her into the fold. We figured she'd just laugh it off.

    We were wrong.

    Luis pulled us aside later and said that Lisa cried, thinking we hated her. Needless to say, we apologized.

    Funny, I still remember a couple years later standing up in their wedding, knees trembling. Luis was just 20 years old and I was worried for him. They're still going strong, no thanks to me!

    Regards,


    Juan
    Last edited by Juan C Ayllon; 01-19-2007 at 01:32 PM.

  30. #30
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    Re: Pet Peeves

    I hate pedents

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