What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Reading badly written books. One of the small manifestations of my particular flavor of alleged OCD is found in the fact that even when I find something I’m supposed to be reading for pleasure and the sheer joy of the English language tedious, I can’t seem to stop. It’s the feeling of having a personal obligation to keep on with a book I’ve started no matter how badly it sucks. It’s infuriating. I hate to imagine how many books I’ve plowed through over the years long after I’d lost interest just because finishing what you start is the right thing to do. I’m getting better at ignoring that little voice in my head the older I get (and the correspondingly less I care about the “right thing to do”). Life is too short to read badly written drivel. Except when it’s something posted here, of course. Then you should definitely read it.

2. The Fight for Fifteen people. I wonder if these people realize that the minimum wage is exactly that. It’s the minimum wage set by the government. It’s not as if the government is telling business that they can only pay someone $7.25 an hour. It’s the absolutely minimum threshold for pay (as long as you’re not working a tipped position). Businesses are free to pay employees as far above that minimum basic wage as they are willing and able to pay – or more reasonably at any amount higher than the minimum than the prevailing market rates call for. It’s why you make more flipping a McBurger in Times Square than you do in Pig Knuckle, Arkansas. Wanting to make more money is fine – noble even – but you do that by making yourself a more valuable commodity and developing skills that are more marketable in the workplace. Expecting anyone to willingly hand over more money just because you show up with a sign still just doesn’t make any bleeding sense to me at all. It seems to me that if you have time to stand around on the sidewalk holding a sign, you might just be better served by doing something income generating with that time. I know I keep coming back to this well, but every time I forget about it and then see it pop up again, the annoyance mounts afresh. It can’t be helped.

3. People who put tartar sauce on a fresh made, Maryland lump crab cake. I can probably allow it if you’re feasting on fish sticks or if you lower yourself to buy flash frozen imitation crab cakes, but when you slather it on to the culinary gem of the Chesapeake, well, you’re just a monster.

Blue…

Despite the head full of crud that’s had me spend the better part of the last two days relegated to the recliner with a box of tissues and more liquid than any one person should drink, I feel like I need to rally this morning long Blue Crabsenough to celebrate that most magical time of year – April 1st. Sure, it’s April Fools day and I’m told it’s baseball’s opening day this year, but it’s also marks a far more important milestone: The opening of blue crab season in Maryland.

Sure, you can get blue crabs from other parts of the country and they’re fine if you need an Old Bay fix in the dead of winter, but for a Marylander, there’s something special about the crabs landed here in our own bay, by our own watermen. For my money, there’s no better food in all the world than Maryland crabs. It’s one of those seemingly small features of home that I only really learned to appreciate after spending five years in the landlocked middle of the country where “crab picking” ment dealing flash frozen snow or king crab legs.

For me, the Maryland crab is the quintessential taste of long summer afternoons. A bushel of crabs, an iced case of Natty Boh, what could possibly be better? Happy crab season, everyone.