Pet Peeves

By Mark Krantz
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Out on a Limb

by Mark D. Crantz
by Mark D. Crantz

I was saddened to see the demise of City Hall’s pepper tree. I know how that old tree felt. I’ve spent a lifetime being cut down to size. Over the years, readers have said, “Pet Peeves stinks” or “He’s not funny” or “I have dyslexia and loved the read.” Everyone shoulders a share of put-downs. And then sooner or later it’s the final put down. Cut down forever. But wait, I think we can write a better ending for this old and nearly dead pepper tree.

I’m going out on a limb here. For years now, I tell my grandchildren (six of them) Pop-Pop is on the naughty list. This condition concerns them greatly. They can’t imagine any thing worse than not getting toys at Christmas. “Pop-Pop,” they cry, “You have to try to get off the naughty list. You’re missing out on a lot of neat presents.” I answer, “Nah, too much work. I enjoy being bad.” The precocious one of the bunch huffs, “Your attitude reflects badly on us. Your antics could put us on the naughty list by association. You jeopardize our good standing. Straighten up.”

Geez, what bad luck it is to have a grandkid more adult-like than I am. She shouldn’t get presents because kids who think like that are really adults and are ineligible for kid presents. But then again I’d hate to be the cause of them being bumped to the naughty list. So I’ve come up with this one good deed column. Here goes.

I’ve borrowed an episode from “Seinfeld.” I know this may appear to look like a rocky start by stealing another guy’s jokes. It’s not. Trust me. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So be flattered Jerry or go get a cease and desist order and show the world you stand in the way of a good cause and are deserving to be on the naughty list, too. A Seinfeld episode invents “Festivus,” an alternate Christmas holiday. Instead of the typical Christmas tree, Festivus for the rest of us celebrates with the aluminum pole. I say we borrow the pole and put it behind the Pepper tree stump. In my desperate attempt to get on the nice list, there will be aluminum pole branches. Laguna residents are encouraged to buy peppershakers to hang from the aluminum branches. Each peppershaker will come with a donation to local Laguna charities.

Donations of all sizes will be welcomed. Hopefully, as the years pass, Lagunans will grow this hybrid Pepper tree to the full size of the original Pepper tree by our acts of charitable kindness. I know we can show one another that we are the salt of the earth and light up the lives of those less fortunate.

But if this good deed idea fizzles, I’ll look forward to more company on the naughty list.


Crantz tells the Indy he’s optimistic the idea will go forward. He’s written to Santa on what presents he wants.

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