I’m supposedly a mature adult with mature adult responsibilities, but at times I catch myself doing things that are, to put it simply, stupid. Things that put the lie to the idea that I am a mature and responsible anything.
- Trying to sing the catchy instrumental parts of songs. I’ll be singing along to some song on the radio (like you do) and it’ll get to that awesome guitar solo and, rather than shut up like any normal person, I’ll attempt to sing along with gibberish noises that my inner five-year-old would like to believe sound exactly like the instrument I’m mimicking, but that actually sound like the death squeals of a cat caught in a taffy puller. Neener-neeeener-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-neener-NAAAAAAAAAAAAA! It’s even worse when it’s a drum solo or, heaven forbid, an oboe.
- Beatbox. I’ve done this one for years only I didn’t know it was called beatboxing until it became the hot shit thing to do on YouTube a few years back. I always called it “making stupid noises with my mouth.” In spite of my many decades of doing this I have nowhere near the talent of the people on YouTube. This is in part due to the fact that I don’t do it in an attempt to recreate the sounds of a drum kit producing a recognizable tune. It’s more of a way to disperse nervous energy in an annoyingly audible way that is almost always embarrassing when I get caught doing it. Which happens often because I don’t usually realize I’m doing it at the time. It’s like my mouth gets bored with not having anything to do and just starts spitting out random noises in an attempt to feel like it’s contributing to the task at hand. My wife catches me at it more than most. Usually prompting the question: “What the hell are you doing?”
- Talk back to the radio. Not because I’m angry, but because it amuses me. I often listen to NPR on the way into work and just before the break at the end of the hour both the hosts of Morning Edition as well as the local station will announce their names. I’m Steve Inskeep. And I’m Renee Montagne. And I’m Christina Shockley. To which I will always shout out “And I’m Les Jenkins” as if they could hear — or even give a damn — that I was there. Note that I’m the only person in the car when I do this so it’s not like I’m amusing anyone else.
- Announce my name to the waitperson at restaurants. Every time the waitperson walks up and says “Hi! My name is Laura McWaitress and I’ll be your waitress tonight.” I always say “Hi! My name is Les Jenkins and I’ll be your customer tonight.” It’s stupid and yet I do it all the time. It’s a testament to my wife’s patience that she’s gotten used to me doing this. Every. Damned. Time.
- Call a gyro (the food) a gyro (short for gyroscope). Granted there are a lot of people who make this mistake, but I’m doing it intentionally all so I can follow it up with a very stupid joke: “You know, the well-balanced meal?” This actually goes over pretty well in a college town like Ann Arbor. I’ve even had one waitress tell me she was going to use it on her Greek sister-in-law who was an engineer. It’s still a stupid thing to say.
There are other stupid things I sometimes do, but I can’t recall them at the moment. All of them are pretty much habits I’ve never been able to resist. Most folks who witness them smile at me weakly and make a mental note to avoid the weirdo if at all possible.