“That Got Me To Thinkin’…?” Chapter 33 “Personality Quirks”
By Bruce Williams
What makes somebody’s personality? Surely things like kindness, sense of humor, irritableness, awareness—these are all crucial elements (among others), but when you get down to the nitty gritty of really knowing someone, their particular likes and dislikes, their quirks, obsessions, compulsions and manias, a lot of it is wrapped up in the little things that’ll set them (or you) off, or send them into rapturous euphoria.
My wife, for instance, cringes at the use of the word “moist”—even when applied to something as benign as cake or brownies. And she’s not the only woman I’ve known that loathes that particular word. I, in turn, can’t relax when she bites her fingernails—even going as far as to threaten taking up smoking (which she universally hates) as a retaliatory habit if she doesn’t cease and desist immediately. She also doesn’t like identically dressed identical twins, often shuddering when she would see a set of lanky, mop-topped teen brothers skulking about our old neighborhood in their shadowy synchronization.
Finger sniffing is another show stopper for me. Whenever I see a stranger nonchalantly giving their tips a whiff I stare in disbelief. What’re you hoping to smell? If you’re at all suspicious, just go wash the damn things—especially now, for crying out loud. Another disgusting habit is nose picking. Everyone probably does this, I know, but hopefully discreetly. Awhile back I was at a stop light and the gentleman behind me started going at it knuckle-deep in my rearview mirror. I scrunched up my face disappointedly (hoping he’d witness my displeasure), but then when he proceeded to swipe his bounty directly on his front teeth, I yelled in horror and began frantically honking my horn to make it stop (sadly, it did not). I still get a little nauseous retelling that tragedy.
Then there are the other random things that I oddly enjoy watching—like videos of shipping containers domino-ing over in a windstorm, or too-tall trucks smashing into low overpasses…you know, someone else’s anonymous nightmare that I don’t have to personally deal with. I’ve even seen a video that just involves a guy slicing bars of soap with a big knife that I found pleasantly mesmerizing. Empty public restrooms are always a plus, too, just as ugly babies are a negative. The things that indeed make me me.
If I ever asked you to tell me a little bit about yourself, and you responded with something like, “I like pizza, and movies, and the smell of fresh baked bread…” I would be sorely disappointed—unless you added that the smell made you horny or murderous or something colorful along those lines. Everybody loves those things. The new-car scent, bacon, or the smell of the tops of babies’ heads—everybody. Puppies…again, everybody. I want to know the weird ones. Don’t tell me about how you don’t like pyramid marketing or religious canvassers (no sh#%!), dog crap in the waffle of your shoe or hidden charges. That’s also everybody, numbnuts. I want to know why you’re obsessed with the number 18, or how a longer, Greek second toe sends you into conniption somersaults. That’s the real you. How you smell your socks before you throw them in the hamper (no, I don’t—just an example) or how dangerous it becomes if you’re not fed and watered regularly (Michelle).
It all might come down to bleu cheese. You either love it or you don’t, and I know of no other categorical designation that could quickly divide the adult population (all kids naturally hate it) into halves more quickly or efficiently. Can you remain sunnily dispositioned with a chunk of that marbled stank in your gullet if you really hate it? I thought not. The rot oughtn’t’ve wrought fraught snot. Ooohh—raw oysters—another divider. I myself love both them and the old Roquefort. But hey, that’s just ME.