Frank King was a cartoonist in the early 20th century. You’ve never heard of Frank, but that’s ok.

His great success was the comic strip, Gasoline Alley. It debuted in 1918 and grew to a daily readership of 27m. It was the second longest-running comic strip in history, making a millionaire out of Mr. King at a time when being a millionaire really meant something.

pet peeve - frank king

I remember the comic strip as a kid and, frankly, I wasn’t a fan of it. But that’s not the reason I’m writing this.

Why I bring up Frank King is not for his long-standing success, but for the brief failure that preceded it.

In 1914, before the Gasoline Alley phenomena, he created a short-lived comic strip that, in some ways, has far outlived his great Gasoline success.

The comic strip was called “My Little Pet Peeve.”

You see, Frank invented the term “pet peeve.” That failure of a comic strip introduced the term to the world.

Though the comic strip kinda sucked and didn’t last for more than two years, the idea of pet peeves has endured and is still part of the popular lexicon more than 100 years later. Which is more than I can say for Gasoline Alley.

This, of course, reminds me of an email exchange I had recently.

pet peeve - unhappy

My Pet Peeve

Last Tuesday I got an email from a colleague asking me if I was available to talk “later in the week.”

“Absolutely!” I replied, with arguably a little too much enthusiasm. “I’m wide open on Friday. Just name the time and consider it confirmed.”

An hour or so later the colleague replied to me. All she said was:

“Sorry, Friday doesn’t work”

Ummm… ok.

<pet peeve enter stage left>

I don’t understand the mindset of people who say things like “I’m not available then” but neglect to tell you when they actually ARE available.