The other day I was out for a jog reflecting on my biggest pet peeves when I focused in on this one: greatest hits compilations that inexplicably fail to include some of the band’s greatest hits. I have had this unfortunate experience in the past of buying many albums that fit this definition.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Well the compilation must have come out before some of their hits did. Duh.”
Yes, of course, that’s why Areosmith’s Gems doesn’t have “What it takes” and there is no “Handy Man” to be found on James Taylor’s Greatest Hits.
Sorry, that’s actually not what I’m talking about. I’m not a complete bonehead. I always check dates. And it seems like every really popular band has at least one Greatest Hits compilation that conspicuously lacks one or more of their greatest hits. Why? It is tough to say. Sometimes the omission reflects a legal wrangling between two record companies. Or maybe the band is just sick of that song. Maybe most other people are. (I, for one, hope I never hear “Hotel California” again, but I still love the Eagles.) But whatever the reason, when you buy the album and realize the song you wanted to hear isn’t there, you’re bound to be frustrated.
And then it occurred to me how many people in the world don’t have the luxury of pet peeves. They’re too busy trying to provide for their family, seek safety, or find medical help for a sick child.
It reminds me of an old For Better or For Worse cartoon. Liz, a preteen at the time (the cartoon famously aged its characters), was lamenting to her father about how much she hated her new haircut. He replied with a surprising lack of sympathy. When she protested at his callousness he replied by comparing her woes to those of many other people in the world, not in a sanctimonious way, mind you, but with a bracing matter-of-factness.
And with that, I returned from my jog prepared to listen to the entirety of Best of April Wine with a whole new perspective on the lacunae I had once lamented, and a new appreciation for the luxury of having pet peeves.