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Guest post by Landon Saunders


When I was growing up, I sometimes faced the question: “Aren’t you being a little persnickety?”

“Persnickety” isn’t one of those words that requires understanding to know that something’s not quite right! The word carries a bit of reproof, but it’s reproof that is smiling a bit. As I think about it now, I confess a little surprise that the word had found its way to the hills of West Virginia and into our house.

The definition for the word is: “placing too much emphasis on trivial or minor details; fussy.” Or, another: “giving too much attention to small details that are not important in a way that annoys other people.”

One could be a bit too persnickety about food, for example. Or, clothing. Or, making a choice about something to do or buy. And to the point of being annoying to others.

It suggests that one should try to pay more attention to things that really matter and less attention to things that are more trivial or minor.

It has been decades since I was asked that. But, the thought of it still smarts a bit! I still hear the echoes: “Landon, be thoughtful. You don’t want to be annoying, do you? Choose the things that are more important as matters of concern to you.”

So, to this day, I’m still trying not to be too persnickety. Even about being persnickety.