Sunday’s post on my being neurotic has had a funny impact. Everyone’s been approaching me confessing their quirks. Not in an ashamed way, but in a way that comes with a cute smile that says, “we’re all such funny creatures, aren’t we…”.
I’ve even had a talent scout for Jerry Seinfeld’s The Marriage Ref wanting to get in touch with people who have quirks who’d be happy to appear on the show. This is what she wrote: “I’m really not looking for serious neuroses, but more quirky things that people do, along with their partner’s response or light grievance with it.”
In the spirit of our all being in this together, below are some more neuroses, names deleted. What are yours? You a tapper? A checker? A number counter? Share….!
Derek Reilly, at surfing mag Stab, sent me this from a column he’s just written for the mag (uncanny!):
- When boarding an aircraft I must walk to the final porthole on the air-bridge, sight the fuselage, identify the model of aircraft (and its potential age) or else it will crash. The responsibility of two hundred lives means that, even if I have a death wish, which I do occasionally, I still have to look – or risk having the blood of innocents on my hands.
- When I walk, I tap the back of my legs with my feet. The faster I walk, the faster I tap. Running is a physical impossibility for me.
- When I look in the mirror, the first third of my tongue comes out of my mouth, dog-like. I didn’t know even know I did this until Wheels, the other Stab guy, triumphantly announced it to a group of people in an elevator (it had a mirror and I was doing it). A humiliating triumph for a man whom I champion and behold as a great friend.
- When I piss I always tug the bottom of my scrotum to check for any loosening of skin, a sign of ageing.
- Until a few years ago, if I heard an ambulance I would plug my navel with a finger and leave it there until the sirens had faded. I believed it would keep the human inside safe.
- If a flight becomes turbulent I pray to God to allow this flight to make just one more safe landing. In return, I agree to let God make it crash on a routine training flight, with all crew parachuting to safety and the plane exploding harmlessly in a field.
- Once, when I was in an armed robbery at a hairdressing salon, I whispered to God that if he let me live (I was the only man in the salon and was treated roughly by the gangsters) I would never, like totally ever, cheat on my girl. A rubber cheque written by a scared man and returned with a dishonour fee to the Almighty.
- If I’m at work and I feel the tremor of an active bowel and the arrival of the familiar peristaltic waves, I work standing up, all the while drawing the evacuee back and forth along the interior sphincter wall.
Derek mentions some that other surfers do:
- Luke Stedman is compelled to avoid cracks in the sidewalk. If he has an important meeting or event, and he realises he’s walked on a crack, he’ll retrace his steps and begin all over again. “I know if I don’t do this, the meeting won’t go well,” he explains. Luke also makes deals with God. For instance, while bodysurfing, he’ll tell God that if he bodysurfs one all the way to the beach, God will let him win his next heat. Or, if he’s getting smashed by a massive set, he promises to worship God if he lets him survive.
- Luke is also compelled to hold his breath when he drives through tunnels, even the three km long Sydney Harbour Tunnel. He has nearly blacked out several times and on the rare occasions he fails to make it to the exit, he tells himself: “It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t mean a thing! I am a man in control of his destiny!”
- Stab’s Charlie Smith regularly eats beef jerky and pretends he is on a forced march. If you meet him in a bar watch as he touches the back of the stool next to him, near the butt, no matter who is sitting there.
- Andy Irons holds his breath when he walks through cemeteries. During High School, the bus would pass a boneyard every day and the teenage Andy would close his airwaves. “It’s to keep the evil spirits at bay,” explains Andy.
- Sterling Spencer, my favourite surf blogger in the whole world, meanwhile, has a lucky wetsuit that is worn under his clothes. Hence the long sleeves and jeans.
Derek asks: Are we mad or do we hold the keys to controlling the universe? Food for thought.
Others that have come in:
- I must have my head facing forward when landing and taking off so my neck doesn’t break and I have trouble not humming “My Sharona” when walking up and down the aisle doing DVT exercises.
- My most recent is the obsession with coloured pegs. Basically when I hang my washing, I just can’t see two pegs of the same colour beside each other. For some reason we have blue, red and white pegs at my place and I just BURN when I see two blues together.
How about you? What do you do?