Thursday, June 11, 2009

Coffee's Habits

Good afternoon, time-wasters! Greeting you in this manner is probably the safest way to go, as it's always afternoon, unless it's exactly 12:00.

Of course, it technically IS afternoon, even when your clock says 12:00. The knife-edge of noon exists for only an instant. Cutting that instant into ever smaller increments results in there essentially being NO NOON, which is scary. So I won't talk about it any more.

Since I have a headache, I'm going to have Coffee help me write this post. You folks remember Coffee, don't you? He's that abstract personification of caffeine's effect on my physiology? Ah, good.

Our subject for today is: habits.

Coffee: The nun capes?

FooDaddy: No. Those things you do without thinking.

Coffee: Like being awesome?

FD: In a manner of speaking, yes. What I'd like to discuss with you is their origins. Throughout one's walk of life, when do we stop to pick up our habits?

C: That's stupid. That language you just used? Flowery and stupid. "Walk of life"? Who are you--Nicholas Sparks?

FD: You're right; that was a little cliche. How would you put it?

C: I wonder what beavers are made of. I'd imagine they're made of the same stuff as you and I, mostly, but I like to think they're at least sorta made of dried ketchup. You ever think about that? What things look like they should be made out of?

FD: Not really. Habits? Where do they come from? I assume we're not born with them, but rather with a predisposition for developing certain ones. Like if you're a nervous baby, you will probably develop into an adult that needs to squeeze a stress-ball a lot or who gets sweaty easily.

C: Now, adobe houses, they look like they're made of really pale fudge. Giraffes? Cardboard. You? Now despite your pansy tendencies, you're made of half spanky, half dope. You're like a spanky-dope sandwich with kick-ass sprinkles. You wanna go to the mall and pretend to be business hobos? We could bring a card table and set it up in the fountain and try to charge people for stuff.

FD: Take Coffee here as an example. He has a habit of leaping from one train of thought to another without so much as waiting for them to pull into a station. He treats segues like a bad driver treats a clutch; they're an unnecessary formality.

C: (poking me in the chest) You know what you need? A hat. A big hat with a buckle on it.

FD: I suppose you'd have to draw a line between habit and "obsession" or whatever OCD people call the things they do. But where would you draw it? A person whose habit it is to always soap up his left arm first in the shower is decidedly less a slave to habit than the person who has to spell out his name on his kitchen table with Skittles before he can leave the house.

C: I'm going to develop a habit right now. Check this out. (grunting and straining) Ow. There! Now I always have to pick the Maraschino cherry off of something and eat it separately. Whaddya say to a milkshake? Make mine a mocha with a cherry on top. I'll go get your keys.

FD: My colleague brings up an excellent point. Can you think of a habit that you consciously started? While you may have, through daily repetition, "made a habit" of locking your house before you leave, I would call that more of a learned pattern than a habit. It's ingrained because you were taught to do it by your parents or forcibly by having your stuff stolen when you forgot to do it.

C: (picking up a fork) This one's got five tines! Five! What a crazy, twisted--oh, wait. It's only got four. My mistake. But still, if it had five, wouldn't that be weird? Most of them only have four.

FD: So that's your homework assignment, time-wasters. Consciously develop a habit. It has to be something totally unconnected to the efficiency at which you go about your life. Make it a habit to check for your wallet before you blow your nose. Turn your car's fan to medium-high before you start it, and then to low before you back out of the driveway. Eat all the red Skittles out of the bag before starting on the rest.

C: You know how you can make people remember you? By getting yourself a hat with a buckle on it and asking for strange things at Steak'n'Shake. You have that list of funny British words? That'd be great. I'm going to ask for a plate of fried trundle-wheeps. Oh, and the Steak'n'Shake building looks like it's made out of peppermint candies.

FD: Never waver! It has to become a habit. And if you can teach it to your children, it could make the leap from stupid idea you read on the Internet to habit to meme to neurosis in a matter of generations. Just think! Something you started doing one day because you were bored could eventually turn into "that thing we don't talk about over dinner, okay? Now stop staring and eat your corn."

C: You're out of ideas now, aren't you?

FD: Pretty much.

C: How're you going to end it?

FD: Stop typing?

C: Brilliant!


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