by Conor Friedersdorf

Paige knows what makes no sense to her:

The rat race. Society at large glorifies it, most people engage in it. Those who don't are labeled marginal, antisocial and excluded. It permeates everything. And yet, it is the rat race, in its more extreme manifestations, that is probably responsible for the over-consumption that is resulting in the destruction of the planet. It also dehumanizes people and the way they view other people. It removes principle in favor of advancement, etc., etc. Problem is that it appears to be genetically ingrained, part of the process for determining who is the fittest member of the herd, the alpha dog of the moment, if you will.

A corollary is cars as status signal. I've never understood that one, though at least a luxury automobile has more utilitarian value than a diamond, the ultimate sucker's purchase. (There are competitors. Lots of them.)

Brian has an eccentric pet peeve:

Hula Hooping.  Not the standard twirling it around ones waist, mind you. But taking the time for learning to swing one around your neck, arms, or forehead is amazingly irrational, absolutely absurd, closing in on offensive, definitely silly and nonsensical, utterly counterproductive, and, potentially, morally wrong.

This I cannot abide. My friend Anjuli traveled around India paying her way partly by drilling holes in a larger than average hula hoop, pouring in paint, and hooping it out on canvas that surrounded her on three sides. It looked pretty cool, and it paid. (I am terrible at hula hooping.)

An anonymous reader writes:

I enjoy parties, discussion, and raising my wineglass in a toast to friendship and good health, but I can't stand the wine. After trying multitudes of beer and wine, and a bit of the harder stuff, everything that people say about taste still doesn't make a damn bit of sense. I just can't enjoy putting such a nasty taste in my mouth.

And for that matter, why do people willingly ingest a mind-altering substance when they go to an important business or social dinner? It boggles my mind.

Excessive inhibition can hurt your performance in a business meeting.

Patrick somehow manages this one without sounding like The Grinch:

I've got one, and I've felt this way since I was a little kid...and I have honestly never found a kindred soul regarding it: Christmas trees. I'm not a hippie tree-hugger, or anti-religious, or a contrarian hipster, or a hater; I'm really just a regular random person.

Ever since I was a little kid, I thought the idea of chopping down - killing - a tree just to cover it with garish decorations and then unceremoniously dump it a week after Dec 25th just seemed like such an incredible waste of a perfectly nice little tree. It's essentially a very negative act ("treeicide?") perpetuated on the grandest of scales, annually. The site of a brown, discarded Christmas tree just lying on someone's kerb still gives me a pang of sadness.

Wouldn't it be much nicer if instead everybody bought a little tree and kept it alive in a pot, decorated and celebrated it, then after christmas (in the springtime, obviously) they planted that little tree somewhere. Imagine if every community had a tree farm that received hundreds, thousands of little trees every year...or other plants, different species of trees, etc. They obviously don't all have to be the same little evergreens. People could celebrate with all manner of trees, etc.

Imagine if you could return every year to the plot and identify certain trees that represented Christmas' Past. Doesn't that seem like a positive idea? Plus who knows, maybe if we planted 100 million trees and plants every year instead of chopping them down, we might influence the planets bio-sphere in a better way...

Bloody hell: maybe I am a hippie tree-hugger!

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.