Kenneth, born and raised in the South, resides in Hamilton, Alabama. He enjoys sharing his unique perspectives on life through his writing.
To Start This Introduction
I'm going to be honest. The two topics in this personal narrative may not suit you. They may not suit anyone, but I don't know of anyone who has tackled this topic. So for right, wrong, or working with a flimsy net . .. .here I go.
I'm Talking About
Mannerisms, everyone has them. It's part of being a human being. "They are us." Even animals, birds, and fish have mannerisms. This is not a startling fact that will stop the presses at the Washington Post, but at least, I am presenting this subject with a full head of steam and almost that much black coffee. Someone might get hurt.
You have worked more than 65 hours at the company you built from the ground up. You love the products and services this company provides. You have good customers from San Francisco to Tokyo. You love it. Matter of fact, you cannot get enough of your job. But there rolls down the line one Friday when you are spent. Your week has been finished and your company has made a solid profit. The Wall Street Boys are all partying day and night – and suddenly, your stomach, who has been giving you "I'm starving" signals since 3 pm, is ready to take over your life and you wouldn't want that.
But with the tip of your right thumb and index finger you hit your Speed Dial to your favorite restaurant. You know it's against the law to text and drive, but just then, you look into the rear view mirror and there you are--you are one great looking dude. You've got it all. Dimples in the right place, a full head of natural hair and perfect teeth. You cannot help being in love with you, but you cannot over come Hunger. Nope. That, my friend, is a mountain no one will ever climb. Not even Sr. Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mt. Everest.
And while I am at it, just let me say this to you, Mr. Sr. Edmund Hillary, you are not a big deal any longer. Fact is, when I was a kid, you weren't a big thing then in 1963. I got so sick of peering at page after page in the Sporting Goods Dept. of our Sears-Roebuck catalog. On each page, there you'd be--sitting so proper and pristine pretending to smoke a pipe. Yukkkk! It's no wonder that I have stomach and never ailments from looking at YOU day after day--praying that your face would disappear.
I get this way when I haven't had a good meal. I parked my BMW, special built, just for me, and before I get out of my car, I am so good looking that I don't need to check my appearance in my rear view mirror. I look GOOD. But really hungry as an angry male lion about to feast upon a huge Wilda Beast. I think that I will order The Very Best steak on the menu. I deserve it.
As I slowly follow my waiter, "Hugh," I notice everyone looking at me. I smile. Then sit down. "Hugh" knows what I drink and he is never wrong. I like that in a Service Person. I cannot tolerate tardiness or a sloppy appearance in the workplace. There is just no excuse for such tackiness.
Wonder where "Hugh" is. He is two and a half minutes late. Then for some unknown reason, the patrons around me begin to whisper and look at me. I smile and give them a friendly wave. I have worked for my prosperity. I give more than 10% in my church. Where is my buddy, "Hugh?" Can he be sick? Now more people who were sitting around me are walking out of the restaurant and stare at me. What have I done to these people? Oh, well. Maybe "they" are having a bad day.
"Hugh" finally arrives with an apology and Seagram and Soda Water. I grin at him. Then I notice that "Hugh," has this nervous look about him. His hands are shaking, but not like he is standing in front of a firing squad in Old Mexico. I sip my drink and say: "Oh, 'Hugh,' can you bring me back . . .a 16 ounce T-bone steak with . . . uhhh, Loaded Baked Potato, Garlic Bread, and another drink, please. Thank you, 'Hugh."
Like a habit I start to look out of the top of this restaurant. I am on the eighth floor. The most expensive restaurant in the USA. A person has to be worth a few million just to be considered on their Waiting List. I have been with this place for over five years. Lovely place. I bet that the owners paid dearly for this Impression painting back there on the. . .
"Oh, I'm sorry, 'Hugh,' a problem?" I ask surprised.
"Well, sir. There is a small thing that isn't really worth telling you, but you see, and I am terribly embarrassed to say this, but we, the restaurant management, received a few complaints a minute ago about you sitting here clicking your teeth like some Mexican band instrument . .. .and sir, if you are afflicted with a neurological handicap, we understand. If you are, I will run and get the "Nerve Handicap" sign and place it right here. Will that be okay, sir?" "Hugh"says with his head bowed knowing that I could have his job if I wanted it.
"Uhhh, no, 'Hugh,' that's okay. I think that if you don't mind, just make my order to go and I will see you next week," I say in my best diplomatic tone of voice.
Me. Clicking my teeth in public. What a vulgar habit. This, for me is worse than those who smoke. Yukk. Clicking my teeth. I wonder how long that I've been doing that and people were too afraid to tell me? I am worried," I add.
The next week rolls around and you drive up right on time in your private parking space and you have called ahead about an Office-Wide Meeting with your managers and employees about this teeth clicking habit of yours. It's time to take the bull by the horns. Stop trouble in its tracks. Something like this if not stopped in time, might ruin your company.
Three and a half hours later: Yep. It's true. You have a lot of honest and firm people who did step up and admit that you have a teeth clicking problem. You apologize, of course, but you have to go further, deeper. Maybe this habit was rooted in your sub-conscious mind when you were a boy, but no one ever said one thing to you.
But this is 2018, buddy. No time to click your teeth whether you are at work, driving, riding, watching a theater play, the ballet, eating out with friends, anywhere. What I am struggling really hard to say is there is NO room for you to continue clicking your teeth.
Much like The Three Spirits who visit Ebenezer Scrooge, you are carried by a mysterious spirit, let's call him, "The Mannerism Man," and he is not on earth to hurt people, but point out their petty habits that others around them cannot stand – some people have even went mad due to someone (like you) so powerful, so rich and elite that you thought that clicking your teeth didn't matter. So much for thinking.
Now turn your attention back to another place, a conference room where another Office Manager is having his weekly staff meeting to see what is being done or not done by way of the company's newest clients and how his company is serving them. His is a profit and loss world, but Office Manager has one personal problem that has drawn attention from his staff. It's not a horrible, life-threatening problem. Fact is, this is just an observance.
Notice the 16 men and women sitting at the long table – equipped with coffee, water, danish, dough-nuts, pens and pads. The staff is hanging on the Office Manager's every breath. He was named Office Manager six years ago and with his leadership, the company is growing richer and richer. But take a closer look. See those staff members. Their exterior is edgy, restless, and wishing for somewhere else to be. It's written all over their faces. But Office Manager is oblivious to their expressions.
Office Manager must have had a late breakfast for he is rolling a wooden toothpick over and over in his mouth. What a balancing act. That toothpick doesn't look like anyone's teeth has ever bitten down on it. There it goes! From one side to the other and Office Manager talks 78 MPH never noticing the Dare-Devil Toothpick Challenge: Will he drop it? Will it roll on?
What is happening and what happens every Monday morning at 9:45 am sharp. Office and Staff Meeting. Time to watch The Circus Toothpick Show. Staff members have even taken to having Office Pools betting on the blocks of the time and date of when the toothpick falls to the table. But this is no harmless inner-office entertainment. This is getting on the nerves of the staff. Some loyal staffers will call in sick; lie about having to take their pregnant wife to the doctor – and the staff member does not even have a wife. See what a Toothpick Roller can do for the staff of a prosperous company? When a person is not aware of something as unseen as a toothpick, that means that this person's mind thinking higher thoughts--seldom looking around in life. Neglecting the simple toothpick.
One day and I hope it doesn't happen, a staff member will ask for an appointment with Office Manager and he/she was elected to be their voice to tell Office Manager to stop driving them mad with rolling the toothpick with his mouth. It might cause turmoil in the office, but then again, in the case of you and your clicking teeth, your staff was understanding. So were you. And you both are working to get through this clicking of the teeth.
Just make sure that you do not substitute "this" habit of rolling a toothpick instead of clicking your teeth. Oh, don't look at your watch. We have two more places to go.
Here is another clean place where people work. Notice how large the building is. There are hundreds of people working in what looks like a kitchen or restaurant. Could it be? Sure is. You are inside and invisible (like the previous place), so you can relax. Notice the employees working like bees? All of the people are wearing white aprons and they're not joking or killing time. They are serious about their jobs.
But one. And since you are now learning about Human Mannerisms, here is one that NO ONE will appreciate, much less confess to it. See the guy sitting ALONE? He is not smoking a cigarette and that is a plus for him. But just wait . .. .you will see it . . .there! See that index finger? It disappeared up this guy's right nostril. Yukkkk! Just when you thought that Mannerisms couldn't get any more vulgar and unwanted. Look at him go! He is fishing that nostril. I wonder if bats are living up there and he is using his finger to wake them so they can fly away? Nose Pickers are worse than Knit Pickers--people who make it their business to point out other people's "little habits," and shame them into either getting help for their mannerisms or suffer the rejection and persecution of people who are happy and free from Mannerisms That Cause Problems.
Oh, you offering to scoot over there and counsel that guy with the finger up his right nostril, but he has a short temper. Why do you think that he is sitting alone? He has worked for this one company now going on 30 years. Imagine that. 30 long years. 30 long years of Nose Picking. No telling at the friends he lost in that time. And no wonder at the company higher-ups passed him over for a bigger position and pay. They noticed that right index finger up his right nostril.
I have taken you back home to your palatial three-story mansion. What a lovely home. Oh, you earned it. You built it yourself – laid every brick and block. Drove every nail. That reminds me. Have you ever thought of getting some help for your Nail Biting?
I didn't say anything at first for I though that you would be busy working on your Teeth Clicking.
© 2018 Kenneth Avery