I suppose everyone has their quirks and idiosyncrasies, but I worry that I may have more than most. Sometimes I think, “Is it just me?” But then I am comforted whenever I find out that I’m not the only one who thinks this way. So, in my attempt to feel more normal, here are a few of my personal peculiarities that I hope some of you can relate to. If you can’t and if you think I’m weird, then I was just kidding.
I am deeply disturbed by dust mites. I spent the first third of my life being blissfully unaware of their existence. Then I found out what they are and saw what they look like. (If you don’t already know, do yourself a favor and DO NOT Google them.) The fact that millions of microscopic spiders are crawling all around my home and feeding off my dead flesh is like something out of a horror movie that I would not want to see. The very thought of these little buggers have kept me from ever sitting bare-assed on a couch again.
I curse a lot when I’m driving. I find myself uncontrollably muttering obscenities at other drivers like I have Tourette’s Syndrome. Cut me off – “Dickweed!” Won’t let me in your lane - “Asswipe!” Don’t go on a green light because you’re texting – “Fuckwad!” Normally, I consider myself to be a very well-mannered and well-spoken person. But put me behind the wheel and piss me off and I turn into Gordon Ramsay in a Chipotle kitchen.
I worry that I wear the same clothes too often. Whenever I’m getting together with friends and I’m deciding what to wear, I wonder if I wore the same thing the last time they saw me. (Like they would remember.) This can be embarrassing when I’m showing them my photos and realize that I’m wearing the same thing as I am in the picture. Which is particularly bad when the picture is like twenty years old.
I don’t know how to do most things on my computer. I realize this is a common issue with my generation. What drives me crazy is whenever I ask someone younger to fix a problem I’m having they always tell me the same thing, “It’s easy.” Except it’s never easy. Usually, right after they say that, they just fumble their way around trying this and that until they stumble on a solution. During which I often hear them mutter, “Well, I’ve never seen that before.” I don’t think that young people understand computers a whole lot better than we do. I think they’re just a lot less afraid of them than we are. I’m reluctant to just start clicking on things I don’t understand because I’m afraid that I’ll accidentally hit the self-destruct button and the whole damn thing will blow-up in my face.
I hate being the oldest person in a crowd. I’m very sensitive to this and I can usually sense when I am. It’s not always immediately obvious (except when I go anyplace after 10PM). It’s usually more of a creeping realization as I scan the room to check out the crowd. I might see a couple of people who look older than me, but then I realize that they’re probably not and I just don’t feel as old as they look. That’s why I enjoy hanging out at Senior Citizen Centers. Because I love being the youngest person in the room.
I’m not afraid of death, but I am afraid of dying. Death is final. Nothing more to worry about. There’s a certain sense of relief that comes with that. Dying could be a very long, sad and painful experience. Everything I can imagine about the end of my life is bad. Most things I can imagine about the afterlife are good. The worst case scenario would be that I go to Hell. But I've already lived in Florida, so how much worse can it be?
I love a good funeral. I know it’s a sad occasion and the loss of a loved one is very painful. But what better place to be during a time of grief than surrounded by others who also loved the deceased. We comfort each other and tell stories about what a great person they were (even if they weren’t). Everyone’s all dressed up in black (which is very slimming) and it’s the only time you can wear sunglasses indoors without looking pretentious. Plus there’s usually lots of free food and an open bar. I’ve been to weddings that I didn’t enjoy as much as some funerals.
I don’t like the TV show Modern Family. I know that it is one of the most popular and acclaimed sitcoms of the past decade and I acknowledge that it can be funny at times. But I just can’t get past the premise of some unseen film crew documenting the lives of privileged white people (and one hot Latina) for going on ten years now. When is this documentary ever going to come out? Why do they sometimes acknowledge the camera and other times conveniently forget it’s there? Why do people they suddenly meet never seem to notice the camera crew? Sorry, but it just seems like lazy writing to me. I plan to send them a very critical letter after I win my first Emmy.
I didn’t buy my first pair of sweatpants until I was 60. Not because I’m cheap (although I am) but because I never exercised a day in my life. Sure, I’ve played some sports. I used to swim a lot and I love taking walks, but I had never worked out in a gym before. So when I finally broke down and started, I was wearing old jeans. My friends quickly explained to me that this was an embarrassing fashion faux-pas. So I begrudgingly bought some sweat pants. Oh. My. God. Why didn’t anyone tell me about these before? They’re like pajamas you can wear in public! Now I never want to wear anything else. I’m even looking for a sports coat to go with them.
I don’t like getting a professional massage. Jerry Seinfeld has an old routine that sums up my feelings. “I don’t want people touching me that don’t know me and don’t want to have sex with me...It’s like having chocolate rubbed all over your face. You want to go, excuse me, I think you missed a spot.” Besides, they make me uncomfortable. If I got a female masseuse, I’d be a little worried that I could become inadvertently aroused. And if I got a male masseuse, I’d be even more worried that I could become inadvertently aroused.
I tell people what I paid for things when I shouldn’t. Not because I’m bragging about how much money I spent, but because I’m so proud of how much money I saved. Like when someone recently told me how nice my jacket was and I immediately replied, “Thanks! It only cost sixty bucks!” I suppose it’s a Jewish thing. We don’t measure material worth by retail prices, but by wholesale value. It’s like when my wife happily tells me how much money she saved buying her new dress on sale. Except then I ruin it by saying, “I don’t care what you saved. How much did it cost?”
I don’t like house plants. The very concept seems inside out to me, like hanging paintings in a garden. When you think about it, they are mostly just dirt. I spend a fair amount of time keeping dirt out of my home. Why would I want to bring a big bucket of it inside? Frankly, I don’t have much use for any life-form that I can’t have an intelligent conversation with and that includes plants, pets, small children and stupid adults.
I have an annoying habit of turning conversations into songs at home. My wife might ask an innocent question like, “What time is it?” and I will break into Chicago’s, “Does anybody really know what time it is?” She could comment on the weather by saying, “We’re having a heat wave.” And I’ll sing “…A tropical heat wave. It isn’t surprising, the temperature’s rising. She certainly can. Can-Can.” (Of course, I have to add a little dance move at the end of that one.) She might then be provoked to say, “Stop!” Prompting me to belt out, “…In the name of love!” My wife puts up with a lot.
If you share any of my quirks and idiosyncrasies then I hope you take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. But if you share all of them then I hope you get the professional help that you so obviously and desperately need.