Dusty archives, once again…
1. Saying “excuse me” when you sneeze, even though no one else is in the room.
That’s very polite of you. It’s also slightly neurotic. But that’s okay. As long as you keep that natural reflex going, you’ll be sure to apologize at more appropriate moments. This will come in handy when you suddenly let loose with a surprise rip-snorter at Sunday church service, blowing the pretty little hats off of three elderly women sitting in front of you, making them think the Dust Bowl has returned.
(Edna Jean: “There’s that dang wind again. Guess we better load up the truck and head to Beverly.” Pearl May: “Again? I’m still diggin’ the sand out of my hope chest from the last time”. Lottie June: “I wonder if that nice John Steinbeck will write another story about us. Maybe they can get that clueless Marjorie Taylor Greene to play my part in the movie, cuz she’s always lost in the wind.”)
2. Saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that” when you didn’t understand what someone just said.
Why are you sorry? You didn’t do anything wrong, they did, since they obviously didn’t say whatever it was very clearly or there wouldn’t have been an issue. Perhaps we should change the phrase to “speak LOUDER and look at me when you say that, Mumbledore.”
On the flip side, if you are using this phrase when you actually mean “I was trying to ignore you but now that you are apparently expecting some type of response, I need you to repeat everything I ignored and maybe I’ll listen this time”, then it’s your bad. If you don’t want people to engage you in conversation, then don’t go near people. This is a basic tenet in the Church of Introversion.
(Pastor Clodhopper at COI: “Thank you for not joining us this Sunday as we celebrate our devotion to privacy and the invention of home-delivery…”)
3. Hollering like a banshee while using a wireless phone in a public setting.
Who the hell are you talking to? Helen Keller? And why are you even bothering to use a phone in the first place, as your voice is now bouncing off satellites on its own. (Kim Jung Un and his many delusions can hear you in North Korea.) There is no reason for you to be squealing like a stuck pig unless you’re on the verge of orgasm or you’re in the midst of a prostate exam. (Granted, these activities could be very closely related in certain amorous situations, but let’s not ask or tell.) Knock it off, Chupacabra.
(Police Officer: “Can you help me understand why you stabbed Mrs. Peacock with a toilet brush in the Express Lane?” Helen Killer: “I’m deaf and I could still hear her screeching away on the phone with her therapist, Dr. Brian. Something about getting a pap smear confused with a Rorschach test. No one but the two of them needs to know this information. No one.” Police Officer: “Got it. No further questions. You’re free to go.”)
4. Lifting your legs when you drive over railroad tracks.
Or touching metal somewhere in the car. Or pulling on your ear lobe. This is the residue from childhood games that parents invented to keep you occupied and quiet. It really doesn’t improve your life in any way. Unless you’re trying to impress your date with how high you can lift those legs.
(Bobby Joe: “Girl, you make me wanna grunt when you do that mess.” Sally Jo: “This? Oh, it ain’t nuthin. I gotta trick pelvis. And a waterbed back at my goat farm.” Bobby Joe: “Dang, you fancy. Just show me where to turn and we’ll show them goats what’s what.” Sally Jo deftly points the way using the foot behind her left ear…)
5. Walking on your tippy-toes when get out of the shower and head toward the bigger bathmat in front of the sink.
The floor is going to get just as wet no matter what, as it’s the same amount of water dripping off your body. You’re merely concentrating the flow into one focal point which will then spread out to cover the same amount of floor. Only people who have appeared in “The Nutcracker” need to be walking like that.
(Biff: “I never really cared for nutcrackers. The name just makes me uncomfortable.” Muffy: “Oh, you’re fine. They don’t make them small enough to find yours.”)
6. As you prepare to make a right turn onto a side street, you swing your car out into the left lane so you can make this over-reactive, wide-ass maneuver that you hope will guarantee a successful mission.
You really don’t need to do that. Your car was designed to make this kind of turn without you ending up in a ditch. It’s unnecessary. It also completely annoys the people who were peacefully driving in that left lane and minding their own business, when suddenly they are forced to slam on their brakes because your car is moving in the opposite direction of your turn signal. Assuming you even know what a turn signal might be.
(Little Billy: “Mommy, why is that man driving like that?” Mommy: “Because some people don’t have any sense and you should never date them.” Little Billy: “I bet he has a waterbed and a goat farm.”)
7. You set the house alarm, walk five feet to the back door, then have a small paranoia attack and race back to the alarm to make sure you set it correctly.
And, of course, you did set it right. You always do, because it’s not complicated and you do it all the time. But you know that if you don’t double check it, you will worry about it all the way to work and then be completely unproductive the rest of the day and say rude things to innocent people.
(The Alarm Keypad: “Did they pull out of the driveway?” The Back Door: “Not yet. The one with the ugly haircut is doing something stupid with the rearview mirror.” The Alarm Keypad: “He’s probably in denial about the ugly haircut. What does he expect if he goes to a place called ‘Cheap Snips and Beer’?” The Back Door: “Okay, they’re headed down the street. Mission engaged!” The Alarm Keypad: “Hello? Security Company? We have a breach on Bonnywood. Send 46 alerts to the guy with the beer haircut…”)
8. You try to put on socks while standing up, something goes terribly wrong with your balance, and you end up crashing into a piece of furniture that was just innocently sitting there and waiting for you to dust it.
You knew it was going to happen, but you thought you could pull it off anyway. Sadly, you’re not 17 and limber anymore. Now you actually have to take a small break and rest between socks. Maybe even lay on the bed and watch another episode of “House Hunters International” before you attend to the other foot.
(Sock #2: “Why do you always get to go first.” Sock #1: “Because I paid attention in high school while you were smoking behind the gym.”)
9. You give your cat an “official” name, but then never actually use that name again.
Instead, the cat must suffer through an endless string of evolving nicknames that are vaguely related but still don’t make any sense, consisting of made-up words and repeated syllables that sound cute. The poor furry thing should probably be in therapy for some type of identity neurosis, but that type of coverage isn’t included in the Kitty Medical Plan. Just give little Bo-Bo Snookie Jumper something shiny to play with and things will be fine.
(This bit of trivia goes out to the long-time guests at Bonnywood. Cleo the Cat, shuffling through important papers in Daddy’s desk: “Wait, my actual name is ‘Cleopatra’? This is an outrage. I should sue.” Scotch the Cat: “Oh, get over it, honey. I found out my name is really ‘Butterscotch’ when I broke into the computer at that vet where they took my berries.”)
10. You take a tiny, unimportant incident and turn it into a torrid melodrama of pain and betrayal. At least in your head.
Whilst semi-snooping, you find this strange pencil on your partner’s desk in your shared home office. Your partner doesn’t use pencils, what’s up with that? And it’s been sharpened recently, a sure sign that someone is up to no good. And there’s a faint, possible perfume/cologne smell wafting from the evil wood. It doesn’t smell like anything your partner wears or exudes. This pencil belongs to somebody else!
What has been going on behind your back? Is it an affair? Oh my God! Your mind races as you mentally run through all your friends and acquaintances, trying to determine which of them has a fondness for stick-like things with graphite in the middle and is also a slut. Who has been lying to you when? Which skanky ho has been smiling sweetly at you during happy hour at The Regal Beagle, and then running off to recreate scenes from “The Postman Always Rings Twice” with your formerly-beloved partner who is apparently not the person you thought you knew? You stagger to the liquor cabinet and guzzle everything, because it feels important to accomplish such an objective during this time of personal trauma.
Two weeks later, after you’ve written to Dr. Phil, Oprah and Ellen, and even anonymously posted questions on some blog named “How to Seek Proper Revenge on Those Who Have Disappointed You in Life”, the phone rings. You set aside your latest bottle of gin, belch, and pick up the receiver. It’s your mother. Always the penny-pincher, she’s wondering if she left her favorite pencil at your house the other day. You know, the day when she and your partner got together to sketch out plans for your surprise anniversary party next weekend?
Whoops. You might want to call your lawyer back and have him tear up a few freshly-signed documents, especially that notarized rant where you went into graphic detail concerning what your partner can do with the graphite in his cheating pencil. But first, finish off that bottle of gin. Momma always said to eat everything on your plate or you won’t get dessert…
Previously published. Revised and updated with extra flair for this post. (One item was completely excised but was given a generous severance package and now lives in a lovely bungalow on an island where hurricanes are irrelevant.) Photo source: Yet another snapshot from the Alcazaba of Malaga, wherein I was attempting to be arty but I no longer recall what that art might be.