Thursday, November 3, 2011


I have a large book of New York Times Sunday crosswords puzzles in my upstairs bathroom. I solve—or try to solve—them without a great deal of success, and I do them in ink. Since I am not blessed with either a phenomenal vocabulary or better-than-average puzzle-solving skills, however, I also have a couple of Wite Out pens for when I make mistakes. I never, ever, look at the solutions in the back of the book, preferring to leave a puzzle unfinished rather than cheat and look at the answers. I rarely actually solve an entire puzzle, and when I do, it is cause for a small celebration.

Friends have told me this is a rather interesting quirk. I have others.

When with a lady friend, I always walk on the side closest to the road. I was taught this by my father who told me that in case a runaway carriage (or automobile) leaped from the street to the sidewalk, I, and not my companion, should take the hit.  Also, not so long ago when the underprivileged did not have access to bathrooms, they routinely tossed the contents of their chamber pots out the window. I am supposed to take that hit too. And they say chivalry is dead.

I cannot write unless my bed is made, and dishes washed and put away.

I dip radishes in salt before eating them. Or rather, I did. Now I try to avoid salt.

I do not, ever ever, watch daytime television. Unless it’s a football game.

If I am to be honest, though, these are truly minor quirks, tiny aberrations in an otherwise humdrum life.

According to Bob Fenster’s book, They Did What? Things Famous People Have Done, the 18th century English poet William Blake liked to read his poetry aloud to his mistress while both were naked, while writer Henry Miller enjoyed playing naked ping pong with his girlfriends.

Enrico Caruso wore a necklace of anchovies around his neck in the belief this would protect his voice from the two packs of cigarettes he smoked daily, and Carmen Miranda never wore underwear beneath her amazing costumes. Busby Berkeley’s musical production numbers always featured dozens of chorus girls. They were allowed to show daring décolletage but he insisted they all wear skin-colored patches on their navels. At the beach, F. Scott Fitzgerald would bury his feet in the sand so people couldn’t stare at them.

Following Frank Sinatra's death in 1999, his daughter Nancy spent six days preparing his coffin for the funeral. Among the items packed in his casket? Tootsie Rolls, Wild Cherry Life Savers, chewing gum, and cotton balls soaked in cologne.

I like to wear a black tutu to bed.

That's not true. Just seeing if you were paying attention...

Any quirks you’d like to share?   

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure you could mention a few that I might not even admit, but:

    I always make the tip and the cost of the meal add up to an even number. I always let the song finish on the radio before I turn the car of because I consider it disrespectful not to, and I, like you, defend the curb side of the sidewalk pretty much no matter who I am walking with but probably for different reasons - I trust my awareness more than theirs and stand ready to tackle them away from danger should it appear.

    All of this order from a guy who has trouble keeping his own areas clean - ironic, eh?