Back on the Chain Gang: My Life’s Quirk


So, Friday is here… which would ordinarily mean time for my weekly “In Deep Smit” posting. But it’s also my turn to post in our Blog Chain Gang. Photobucket

Luckily, this post can be a two-fer, cuz I’m Deeply Smitten with the current Blog Chain topic, started by Mary Lindsey:

What kind of quirky habits or rituals do you have regarding your writing?

(or regarding anything else, if that is more fun.)

Leah Clifford is the last link before mine, and next up after me is an awesome new Chain Gang member, Jessica Verday.  I have loved reading my chain gang’s responses to this topic. But now that it’s my turn, I am deeply grateful for the parenthetical part.

I am uber-quirky. But not when it comes to writing, I don’t think.

I don’t write in a scuba mask, or act out my upcoming scenes with sock puppets. I don’t tango with my teddy bear when I need inspiration or compose my dialog in pig latin.  I don’t do my best writing after stuffing myself to the gills with Olive Garden breadsticks*. (*To be fair… I don’t actually know this is true, since I’ve never tried it.)

Pretty much, I just write. Photobucket

BUT… I am plenty quirky, I swear!

Some of My Quirks:

  1. I could have been Weird Al Yankovick if I wasn’t all distracted by this doctor-and-novelist stuff
  2. I cook without measuring
  3. Richard Dawson’s family feud made a greater impression on me then you might expect
  4. I remember almost anything I hear or read
  5. I have a wide selection of hot beverages available at all times
  6. I have tumbling impulse-control issues

I have lots of other quirks, but let’s look at these for the moment.

I could have been Weird Al Yankovick. I compose parodies all the time.  Weight loss parodies.  Sports team parodies.  I planned an entire musical parody of West Side Story about rival health insurance companies.  I compose them in the car to whatever’s playing on the radio as a means of coping with road rage, such as this one I rattled off a while back:

*cue Beach Boys music*

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were driving
like you had a clue on how to steer?
And wouldn’t it be nice if I was home now,
‘stead of burning gas just sitting here?

Please choose a lane and stop this sudden braking,
there’s only so much stupid crap I’m taking.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were not the
self-important bozo that you are?
and wouldn’t everybody else be safer
if they simply took away your car?

You probably shouldn’t have a license really
everyone driving here can see that clearly…

Maybe iiiiiif you weren’t such a stupid, selfish, shagging ass…
Maybe theeeeen you’d pull aside so everybody else could pass.
We could get past ya (we could get past ya)
And traffic’d move faster (and traffic’d move faster)

Wouldn’t it be nice?

I cook without measuring. This drives a lot of people nuts, I know.  But I can’t give you my recipe for fudge. Or garlic shrimp pasta.  Or almost anything, really.  Cuz I just do what seems like a good idea at the time.  A handful of this, a few shakes of that.  Saute until it smells right.  Yes, this means I can’t always exactly recreate a recipe, but that’s just one of those things.  My mother says it’s genetic; apparently her Busia (who was a cook for a Polish count) did the same thing.  The only reason we have the recipe for Busia’s Bread is because my mother and grandmother teamed up to wrestle each ingredient out of Busia’s hands so they could measure what she used.

Richard Dawson’s family feud made a greater impression on me then you might expect. This is another stress-saving defense mechanism, not unlike the angry car-composed parodies.  When someone is making me angry, and I cannot express that anger, I use visualization.  What do I visualize, you ask?  The big red “X” graphic from the old Family Feud right over their face.  Yes, of course it’s accompanied by the imaginary buzzer sound.  Trust me, this tactic helps.

I remember almost anything I hear or read. I do.  It’s a bit freakish, what I remember really.  It comes in handy, though, for identifying plot inconsistencies in storylines and also for annoying my husband. 🙂

I have a wide selection of hot beverages available at all times. This is also freakish.  In a really-great-hostess sort of way.  If you pop by, you will have your choice of a variety of coffees and flavored syrups for your espresso/cappuccino/latte or whatever. I’m partial to a sugar-free caramel latte myself…


Or you may select any of the 24 varieties of bagged tea in my mahogany velveteen-lined tea box.

Or if you prefer loose tea, I’ve got that too.  And your choice of plain or flavored hot chocolates.  Whipped cream and cinammon sticks, too, natch.  It’s a bit obsessive, sure.  But completely delicious.

I have tumbling impulse-control issues. Now perhaps the oddest of my quirks is one entirely confined to my own mind.  Whenever I find myself alone in a long empty corridor (as often happens working late nights in a hospital) I get a compelling urge to execute a dazzling front flip/round off/handspring/back handspring sequence.  I take a deep breath, and my muscles tense as my body pitches slightly forward in anticipation.  The problem is… I don’t know how to do any of those things.  Like, at all.

So, if you ever read a mysterious case where a pediatrician’s battered and broken body is found at the end of a deserted hallway without signs of a struggle, you will know what really happened.

I think that’s plenty quirky for me to get in one post.  But rest assured, there’s lots more where these came from. 😉


13 Responses

  1. Oh.My.Gosh! This is exactly what I had in mind when I selected the topic. My daughter just came in and asked me if I laugh out loud at stuff I’m reading when no one is around. The answer? Yes!

    This was a blast. The parody had me howling. I sang it out loud to my kids, who are now convinced I’m totally gone mentally.

    I, too, have the tumbling impulse-control issue, but the problem is that I was a gymnast and I DO know how to do that stuff. Sadly, my body doesn’t remember as well as my mind, and my lack of impulse control will result in a trip to the hospital one day. Fortunately, the urge usually hits me when I come across a large patch of soft grass. Much better than a hard hospital corridor.

  2. Humm, now I’m tempted to try to tango with Oscar. Do you think Erica and Douglas can teach a legless stuffed animal how to dance?

    This was great! And I’m also a Wierd Al fan; I’ve even seen him in concert. I write my own song parodies too on occasion, though I don’t think I’ve completed an entire song, just a few lyrics here and there.

  3. LOL! Kiddoc, you are awesome! My husband was Weird Al in another life, I think. He makes up words to anything. It’s hilarious. And, yeah, I don’t get the cook without measuring thing. Even when I do measure, it ends up wrong most of the time. *sigh*

    Great post!

  4. What a great post! We should have had Kiddoc go early on to inspire us messy-desk posters. 😉

  5. Alas, Carolyn, I have no designated workspace, ergo… no messy desk to post. So I had to make do with my general nuttiness. 🙂

  6. OMG!!!!
    That song was GREAT! You should submit that to Weird Al himself! Heck, just record it yourself and sell it….I’d buy it!

    As for the tumbling, I used to “show-off” when my girls were doing their cartwheels and splits. Impulse control at it’s finest.
    Me : “I can do a cartwheel one-handed, can you?”
    Them : “Nu uh. Show us.”
    Me : “Watch and learn…watch and learn.”
    Them : “WOW! She did it!”
    Me : “OOOOOOWWWWWWWWW! My wrist, my groin muscles, I can’t walk, I can’t feel my hand….OOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!”

    Yeah, I still have the impulses, but the past pain is a pretty good deterrent!

    Love your post.

    🙂 Terri

  7. LMAO!!! Holy crap, that song was hilarious! and I love your hot beverage selection!! Can I come over? I could really use a nice Irish Creme hot chocolate with a peppermint stick right now…..

    Absolutely awesome post! Makes me feel less weird about the quirks I didn’t post 😉

  8. Great post! Your hot beverage selection look like mine…and I am a huge fan of the sugar-free caramel latte.

    I can relate to your tumbling impulse-control issue. I used to ice skate so I all of a sudden feel the need to do a double axel or some other spinning jumpy thing, (gonna brake an ankle one of these days). But I will never look at a deserted hospital corridor the same again…I just hope I can resist.

    Growing up at the beach, the Beach Boys are big ’round here. Love your Weird Al take on one of their songs. Too funny!

    Thanks for the laugh.


  9. I love this post!!! This totally makes me want to come over and visit you, just to take advantage of your awesome tea collection, homemade fudge (I tried to make fudge once and it was a disaster), and listen to you sing fabulous parodies. Brilliant.

  10. Michelle and Kate… you are both welcome. Just give me a heads up, as I work crazy hours and Mr. Kiddoc will not open the door if he isn’t expecting someone. 😉

  11. I too have the impulse control issues. For some reason, when you were telling about your gymnast moment (in your head 😉 ) I had a perfect vision of doing the same flipping tumbling with a roundoff except I pictured it in the tunnels under O’hare…as in the airport…in my flight attendant uniform and high heels. Because I worked their for a year (it was my base when I was an F/A) and I always used to picture doing that. 🙂 You’re not alone!

  12. *scowls* THESE are your quirks?? This is like a list of ‘Things That Are Awesome About H.L. Dyer.’ Where’s the dirt?? Do you have a secret obsession with stashing eggplant behind your curtains?? Do you fold your clothes 28 times before hanging them up?? Gimme something here! 😉

  13. […] So, okay… this brings up a quirk I did NOT discuss during the Quirky Blog Chain last week. […]

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