Pet Peeves



By Mark D. Crantz

It started out as a typical day. I was sitting in my favorite chair on my favorite deck. I’ve christened this area the poop deck. Strike that. The seagulls did the christening. My grandkids love saying poop deck over and over because there are not a lot of places where kids can say a bad word and get away with it. Their mothers are not as thrilled. I can detect the grimace behind their words. “That’s nice kids. Mom is giving herself a timeout now to have some wine. Be good for Pop-Pop.”

I believe the poop deck is the best feature of the house. I use the term house loosely. I believe this place is not on Laguna’s Historic House list. It is not designated “key” or “contributory” or even “mildly interesting.” My house got passed over because it doesn’t look like a house. It looks like a grounded Navy ship. The house is battleship grey. It has blue/grey pipe railings and the staircase is encapsulated in a round structure that looks like a smoke stack. Down the way is the Ark house. Two ships. Same street. Weird, huh? That’s only half of it. All animals walking between the houses are side by side in groups of twos. Never onesies.

Let me go back to the beginning, “It started out as a typical day,” is not factual. It began by taking my car in for repair. It’s an older car. It wouldn’t start, which in its way, was a blessing because when it did start the car shook so bad at 45 mph that when you tried to stop the shakes, you couldn’t because the brakes were shot. So, other than not starting, driving or stopping, Carfax rates it great. But I didn’t want to sell it, so I took it in for repairs and then retired to my favorite chair in my favorite place, the poop deck.

I saw a baby Painted Lady butterfly. It’s related to the Monarch butterfly. Then another and another and another. They kept coming. Over the next eight hours, there was no let up. There were tens of thousands of little beating wings all flying in the same general direction, northeast. Imagine this creature the size of a paperclip, weighing in at one gram, genetically engineered to get to Las Vegas. I’d wager it’s safe to say that Painted Ladies beat Musk at autonomous driving and distance. Painted Ladies can go 1,800 miles without recharge. Musk can’t do that, no matter what he tweets. And the SEC always watches what he tweets.

At the end of the afternoon, I called the service station to see if my car was ready. “I’m sorry Mr. Crantz, the car won’t be finished until tomorrow. We got an influx of thousands of Painted Ladies that needed a wing realignment and balance. They were wrongly headed to Las Vegas. Now they’re going in the right direction to Santa Barbara. We took them first. They had a purpose and places to go, whereas, we know you don’t.” Made sense to me. I said, “Okay then, I’ll start my cocktail hour and see you tomorrow.”

About an hour into my cups, I saw the first of many. Yep, right there on the poop deck a flying pink elephant.


Crantz tells the Indy he now understands the butterfly effect. When a butterfly flaps its wings, my car is never ready.

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