Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Quirks Have Taken Control

My mind has its quirks, there is no doubt. Usually, though, I can contain these quirks with the aim of living a useful and polite life. Sometimes, though, sometimes, the quirks overtake me and reveal themselves.

Yesterday, I was delighted to not have a long wait at the nail salon. The woman who does my nails is wonderful at her job, but does not usually visit or socialize with her clients other than to find out only the most necessary information. She spends most of the time she works on my nails talking on the phone. I have no gripes with that, as she is an excellent nail artist. I cannot understand what she is saying on the phone as she is speaking a language I assume to be Vietnamese or Cambodian. It is a lovely language, full of soft blends and gentle consonants. Yesterday as she worked on my nails, I let my mind wander to what she was speaking.

It sounded like this, "Whum sha fo shum sh*t sh*t." Huh? my ears perked up and I listened carefully.

"Shu sha lo hum sh*t sh*t," she warbled into the phone.

Her tone took a serious turn. "Hu fo shem li sh*t sh*t SH*T!" she spat.

Then I felt it, The quirk was taking over and I couldn't stop it! No, no, not now, you quirk!

I tried, but the quirk was more powerful than I. It started deep in my belly and before I knew it came out of my mouth with an almost deafening roar. "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!"

And then I couldn't quit laughing. It startled her enough that she put the phone down, stopped the work on my nails and quietly looked at me.

That made the quirk even stronger and I laughed and laughed until tears squeezed out of my eyes. I was breathless and red faced by the time the quirk acquiesced.

Embarrassed is not a deep enough word to describe how I felt in the aftermath.

This is not the only time the quirk has overtaken me.

In grad school, I took a linguistics class at night.

This class was important to my degree and I knew I was privileged to be in this class because the professor only took on a small number each semester and was a well known scholar. I wanted to wring every bit of knowledge I could out of this class.

Apparently the professor came to this class immediately after he ate his supper. He had a habit of belching, not burping, but BELCHING whenever he felt the gas from his meal rising up through his digestive tract.

"Tonight we will be discussing *BELCH* the rise of the Indo-European *BELCH*...."

 I'm sure you get the idea.

The first few times it happened, I was shocked and embarrassed for him. The next few times, I looked around at my classmates to see how they were reacting. They obviously wanted to stay in his good graces because they showed no reaction at all, their faces painted with pseudo-Mona Lisa smiles a jackhammer couldn't have chipped off.

One night midway through the semester, after almost three straight hours of listening to the belch-speak, my quirk started to exert control. What had seemed disgusting to me before now seemed more and more humorous.

I imagined painful things, like walking barefoot through burning, broken glass to try and distract my quirk. My belly jumped in tiny spasms. I put my hand over my forehead and leaned into it, rubbing my temples in a last ditch effort to assuage the quirk.

"Don't forget, *BELCH* your midterm *BEEELLLLLLCCHHHHH*..." and with that last extended expulsion, it was over.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!" my quirk released from me. I couldn't stop.

My classmates didn't share my mirth at the situation. They sat, open mouthed, in feigned shock at my rudeness. If small Puritan hats had been available that night, I'm sure they would have rushed to don them, so great was their righteous indignation at my outburst.

Their pinch faced disapproval at my laughing spell only infused strength into my quirk and I hee-hawed all the harder.  I finally regained control by leaving the otherwise completely silent room.

I would have left the building completely, but my purse and my books were still in the room. When I finally worked up a serious enough face to go back in, my professor looked me in the eye and said, "I suppose I should eat dinner earlier. My apologies."

I wanted to dig a hole in the floor and remain there the rest of the semester.

I try to keep control of my quirks, but sometimes they overpower me.

What about you? Do you have any quirks that cause you social discomfort?


  1. Oh my gosh that is so stinking hilarious! There are so many times I practically bite my tongue in half trying not to laugh and 99% of the time it doesn't work and I end up busting up. I'm thinking your nail lady probably thought you understood Vietnamese. I hope it didn't mess up your polish!

    Hey so I see we travel in the same circle, you seem to follow the same blogs I do!

  2. Saimi: I am SO glad I am not the only one who does that. She was certainly shocked into silence! I'm headed over to your blog right now. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Your incident reminds me of the Sienfeld episode when George's father understands every single thing about those asian girl's conversation. This is funny ! LOL
    Also I am very careful about not talking to my family in our native langauge ie Urdu or our national language ie Hindi where people don't understand us. Mostly because that would be rude.
    - Munir

  4. Munir: Oh, I remember that episode- too funny! And yes, we are the same about using Spanish. I agree- not nice to make people feel uncomfortable.

  5. Sadly, my quirk is your, and my daughter has inherited it. When she was about to be married, she took a good look around the room and got an uncontrollable case of the giggles. Nerves, yes - but it was very naughty of her, and I remember making these shrugging gestures while looking around all wide eyed and innocent - like "I don't know where she gets this..." And then I started laughing. Terrible.

  6. I love people like you who find it easy to laugh, Shelly. I really admire it. I try to find humor in everything. In fact I find it without even trying and it sometimes makes me the only one in the room who's smiling or laughing.

    Your anecdotes remind me of my favorite episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show in which all of the cast members attended a famous clown's funeral service. (cut and paste time)

    << On the episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust" Chuckles was killed off by the script writers who had Chuckles being trampled to death by an elephant in a parade. It seemed that Chuckles, as the parade's grand marshal, was dressed in a giant Peter the Peanut costume and was quickly shelled by a hungry pachyderm. At his funeral the minister said:

    "Chuckles the Clown brought pleasure to millions. The characters he created will be remembered by children and adults alike...Peter Peanut, Mr. Fee Fi Fo, Billy Banana and, my particular favorite, Aunt Yoo Hoo. And not just for the laughter that he provided. There was always some deeper meaning to whatever Chuckles did. And what did Chuckles ask in return? Not much. In his own words-'a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pant's."
    Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) the station's news producer began to laugh violently during Chuckle's funeral when the silliness of the whole situation finally hit home. >>

    Thank you for sending me to bed with a smile on my face, dear Shelly!

  7. Karen: Mine is inherited, too, and I got it from my mom. So far, my oldest daughter is the only one of her generation who has it, but still, yikes!

  8. Oh, my gosh, I'll have to think about this one!

    I am so surprised the professor actually apologized, that's great, he should have. I wonder though, did he eat earlier? How did the next classes go?

    I imagine being your best friend though this and laughing and giggling through things, I'm sure you have some great times with friends laughing through quirks!!

  9. Shady: Oh, I remember that episode well, and I also remember how very hard I laughed at it. It was truly hilarious, and now that you've reminded me of it, I feel better about my social gaffes. I am also reminded that Tim Conway used to break Carol Burnett up all the time when they were taping, too.

    Thanks for stirring up the pleasant memories!

  10. Jamie: Oh my goodness, if you only knew how much trouble my laughing can get me into! The professor didn't belch nearly so much, after that, but he still let loose with a few before the end of the semester. I would be so humiliated I wouldn't be able to teach that class again, I think. It would be fun to have you sitting next to me the next time I get one of these attacks!

  11. oh my Shelly; how cute to read about, but I'm sure so embarrassing when your quirks take over. In all defense of you, the people sure set themselves up with their behavior; belching rudely and your nail lady's choice of words while talking on the phone. It would be hard to contain one's self under those circumstances. The fact that you went back into class speaks volumes to me; I would never have ventured back in there and would be looking for a new nails person. You are brave!!


  12. Bwhahahahaahahah! Quirks rule the world, my dear! I hate to admit this but mine take over in Church. And like Shady's Mary Tyler Moore's Chuckles The Clown, I've even had the quirks attack during a funeral. And Heaven forbid if a member of my family siblings or my children are present because we all come down with a huge family case of the quirks...
    Might as well laugh....

  13. Betty: I'm just having to learn to live with my quirks since I can't seem to overcome them. I think the nail lady was saying a word in her language that sounds like the bad word in English. It just struck my funnybone all of a sudden, unfortunately!!!

  14. Oh, dear Shelly. (this is Orchid)
    At first, I couldn't figure out what it means from the word "quirk"
    I really agree with the Sush's comment and hope it is excusable, as I do have laughing spell sometimes (*^_^*)
    I liked the way you said "struck my funnybone" in your return comment, my friend.

    Blessing to you and hope the wonderful weekend, Orchid*

  15. You tell great stories on yourself! My quirk is talking to myself when I'm shopping. It can be embarrassing when someone overhears you. My sister Liz told me I talk to the computer too. I don't even realize it.

  16. Shelly, I just LOVE you to pieces for this quirk of yours! I had to giggle as I read. Too funny! I wish I could be there one day as it occurred. I would develop the same quirk immediately! :)

  17. Sush: Oh, no! But also, Oh, yes! I can tell you are spectacular at it, just as I am!!! I hope I don't have to go to any funerals any time soon, but the next one I go to, I'm sure this will be on my mind. I'm already giggling just thinking about you in the funeral!

    Orchid: Thank you so much for taking the time to understand my crazy writing. You are a talented linguist. I do hope this bad habit can be excused in us, because it's almost impossible to control when it comes out! Thank you so much for stopping by!

    Belle: I talk to myself (or the other drivers) all the time when I drive. I think it's cute that you do it in the store and to the computer. With the bluetooth craze on now, maybe folks will just think you are on the phone!

    Crystal: Oh, it would be dangerous if we both got it at the same time, but a whole lotta fun, too!

  18. Well, it coulda' been a lot worse. Belching ranks in the middle of a list of social indiscretions, you know...

  19. Clint: I almost spit out my milk laughing at that one!

  20. I know it's awful, but my sister and I went into bouts of hysterical laughter at my paternal grandmother's funeral. Tears ran down our faces, our shoulders shook with the effort to NOT laugh, but it wouldn't stop. I bit the inside of my mouth so hard that I bled, but it still wouldn't stop. My aunt, a wonderful woman from Saskatchewan, turned around and whispered "I know what you're doing" and I was so ashamed but it still didn't stop the laughter.

    Since then I've come to find out that hysterical laughter in a church, particularly at a funeral, is not uncommon. But my sister and I still feel bad about it, all these years later...


  21. Shelly, this is a good topic to explore! I am afraid I laugh, too, at inappropriate times. As my dear husband Clint likes to put it, I laugh at bathroom humor. I am ashamded to admit this, I got a bad case of giggles when Clint had his colonoscopy. There's nothing truly funny about a colonoscopy but the guy next to Clint, separated by the thin curtain, was hilarious discussing post-procedure "side effects". That was one time I could not help but pay attention to "the man behind the curtain".

    Having nails done is so expen$ive, I think I would want their undivided attention.

  22. Pearl: I know exactly the feeling- the harder you try to stop it, the worse it gets! I hope your aunt ended up understanding. It has happened to me before at a funeral, and I had to excuse myself and step out for a bit. It will be OK with me if people laugh at my funeral. I will completely understand.

    Cindy: Oh, what a time to get the giggles! I'm afraid I might have done the same thing to my husband! I hope Clint understood. The man behind the curtain- oh, that slays me!!!

  23. I am cracking up over here!! I would have soooo laughed out loud at that Vietnamese lady AND the belching man! Why does he think that it's okay to belch like that? Ha!! I have had a lot of those type of experiences. We used to watch this one guy play the guitar in college, but his face got waaaaay contorted and into his music. I couldn't help but laugh! I'd try to contain myself, but if I caught the eye of my friends, I would LOSE IT!

  24. Kelley: I am so glad I'm not alone! I have so many more episodes with myself I didn't write about here, and I would have laughed loudly at the contortioning guitar man. I don't know that I'll ever find a cure for it. Let me know if you do!

    1. I am SO GLAD you linked this up over at #findingthefunny! I laughed out loud all over again, especially about the Vietnamese speaker. That is GOOD stuff!

  25. Your stories are always so much fun to read and I love knowing people who laugh a log.Keep the good stuff coming and have a wonderful weekend.

  26. I laugh at almost everything, even at myself. I had a great chuckle over what I read here. The lady doing your nails was downright rude. I probably would have waited for her to finish and then told her so. With the professor, well he should have known better... We humans are a funny race and we never see ourselves, just everyone else.

  27. Odie: Thank you so much- you have a terrific weekend, too!

    Crystal Mary: I do think it is rude, and she doesn't ever seem to change her ways. I don't know how the professor ever even thought belching in front of class would be socially acceptable-

  28. Oh, too funny! I am inclined to laugh, but able to do it silently. Do you remember the movie, Arthur (the original)--he would periodically break into hysterical laughter and then say, "I'm sorry. Sometimes I just think funny things." This reminded me of that a little. I have plenty of quirks, so I get it, and this is an endearing one!

  29. Hart: I LOVED that moment in Arthur. It so describes what I am inside. It's just that from time to time it escapes. I'm glad you appreciate your quirks, too. They make life all the richer!


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