Pet Peeves


My 15 Minutes

By Mark D. Crantz
By Mark D. Crantz

The unthinkable happened on April 25. The Orange County Press Club notified me by email that Pet Peeves was a finalist in the Excellence for Journalism Awards. I have never seen the words pet peeves and excellence used in the same sentence. I reread it again. The words stayed the same. It had to be a prank. I was told to go to the Balboa Beach Resort Club for an awards dinner and ceremony on May 18. So I went to find out who had punked me.

Upon arriving, I asked for Ashton Kutcher. No guest by that name. I tried Demi Moore. The hotel clerk, an avid tabloid reader gave me a look that said I needed to get in touch with Hollywood relationships and with a finger flutter wave sent me off to bother someone else. So I meandered down towards the conference rooms and kept a third eye opened for for hidden cameras. I couldn’t detect any, but managed to run into the OC Press Club Awards dinner. There were hundreds of attendees or were they Hollywood extras involved in pulling off this prank? So I said to the first guy I ran into, “Don’t you think the newspaper industry is up and coming?” He choked on his cocktail and spat, “What planet did you arrive from?” Oops. Right answer. No question about it, these folks were the real McCoy news reporters and editors. They were two fisting their drinks and lamenting about the digital age and being linked out and not in.

Whoa. I had no acceptance speech prepared. So I hastily scribbled the following remarks on the only cocktail napkin I could find not cried upon by industry participants. I like to thank the OC Press Club for this award. It means a lot to me. My last win was in fifth grade. I won a Duncan Yo-Yo contest at the local shopping center. The string attached was that I didn’t win for the next 52 years. That’s a dry spell. I said to my son who rode over with me tonight that I’m relieved the losing streak has ended, but I’m sick with worry that I won’t win for another 52 years. I’ll be 115 years old. My son said, “Don’t think like a loser. There’s cryogenics.” I said back to him, “You mean you’ll cut off my head and stick it into a vat of liquid nitrogen. And what? Sit me next to Ted Williams so we can talk baseball?” I hate baseball. My son responded, “No you misunderstand me. I’ll cut off your rear end. That’s what you talk and write out of.”

So much for family support. I was fortunate that my son wasn’t one of the OC Press Club judges, who I’d like to thank for bestowing “Pet Peeves” with second place in the Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story category and third place in the David McQuay Award for Best Columnist category. I appreciate this wonderful recognition and validation in front of a roomful of great and talented writers. I enjoyed my 15 minutes of fame.


Mark splits his time between California and Michigan, but is always in the state of confusion and befuddlement. His wife told us so.    

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