Sunday, January 11, 2009

Doing That Thing You Do

     As I am writing this post I am eating an apple.  A rather innocuous thing to do but still it got me thinking.  Actually, it wasn't the apple itself, even though it was an amazingly delicious apple, but how I was eating it.  See, whenever I eat an apple I always start at the bottom.  I always eat off the four or five little nubs that surround the place where the core sticks out the bottom first.  I don't know why.  It's like I am biting off the apple's feet.  I don't know why I do it, I don't know how I got started on it, and I don't know what it accomplishes.  But I always do it.  And it got me thinking about all those little things that we do, those little idiosychrancies that make us who we are.  So that is what we are going to talk about today.  Okay?
     I have my apple thing, among others, and you have little things you do that are odd or quirky.  Don't even try to deny it.  When I was in high school there was a group of girls we hung out with that had a really weird little thing.  Whenever they would see an airplane go over, they would clap their hands together and say some saying and hold their hands up to the sky, making a little window that framed the plane as it went by.  It was terribly strange.  But they did it every time they saw one, regardless if they were in the middle of something, everything stopped and the little ritual ensued. 
     They are also the people that taught me that, if the song "Take the Money and Run" by The Steve Miller Band is playing you ABSOLUTELY MUST drop whatever you are doing and clap along with the hand claps when they happen.  It doesn't matter if you are driving your car along a winding road, trying to negotiate a hostage situation, or holding a small child.  You must figure out a way to do the five ultra-fast hand claps both times that they happen in the song.  Hell, I've done it in the middle of a public office setting.  I've done it in the library with my headphones on.  It doesn't matter.  That's just how it's done.
     Now, I am not talking about our poor friends who are afflicted with obsessive-compulsive disorder.  There is nothing funny or quirky about having to check a light switch 52 times before you leave the house.  I am thinking more along the lines of the girl who always has to have a rubber band around her wrist.  Or the guy who always has to eat the whipped cream off the top of his pumpkin pie before he can eat the rest.  Or maybe the fact that your Pittsburgh Steelers blanket always have to a certain side up and facing a certain direction while you are lying under it.  Or when you absolutely cannot bring yourself to use an abbreviation.  Those are loveable quirks that make each of us unique.
     The deal is that everyone has those little things about themselves, and many of us are embarrassed about them.  Don't be.  You are most certainly not alone.  For every strange little ritual or custom in which you engage, there are a millions others being practiced by a million other people.  So embrace it.  And go on with your bad self.  Keep doing that thing you do.  After all, it's what makes you, you.

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