I could not be more pleased with the current bumper crop of "weird habit" shows. I sincerely thought nothing could put me off pizza for a couple of days, but the "Freaky Eaters" episode about pizza saved me hundreds of dollars in anti-pizza hypnosis tapes and costly pizza aversion therapy. And do not get me started on "My Strange Addiction," that therapy minstrel show of cannibals and couch eaters (which would make a much better, "Toddlers and Tiaras"-esque name for it, incidentally).
Whenever I find myself ... oh, let's call it "unable to sympathize" with these people, I remember that I have a strange revulsion: the sound of pencils. I know. This is very weird and possibly hereditary (certain sounds -- like chalkboard squeaks -- are believed to replicate animal distress noises).
I become horribly, privately agitated when I hear somebody using a pencil (particularly of the wooden variety -- dull ones are even worse). Thankfully, people don't use them much anymore (mmmmthanks, Tech Age!) but it makes certain things agony: Standardized testing. Sheepish people doing crossword puzzles. Mini-golf.
I think that a lot of us have these. A quick poll of my friends unearthed strange revulsions including
- the sound of certain words (like "globe")
- mushrooms ("Not even in food! Just looking at them.")
- toes (including one's own)
- "stiff paper"
- the sound of forks (particularly touching teeth or plates)
- the skin of certain animals (she specified sharks, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most of us probably do not like to rub up on those)
These irrational betes noires are the stuff of some of my favorite daytime television episodes, and I am FASCINATED by them. I want -- nay need -- to hear yours. Tell me what freaks you out without reason and let's pitch this show. We can sell it to TLC, or a team of non-judgmental scientists.
Note: There's a difference between being "bothered" and being "repulsed." For example, I am BOTHERED when a celebrity uses what is obviously a middle name as a last name (Lea Michelle What?) but Tyra is REPULSED by dolphins (although that may be more of a phobia, I'm allowing it, because: Tyra). This is something that makes you shudder or would compel you to leave a room, physically or in the secret, "I'm too embarrassed to react outwardly so I'm just going to watch the "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" intro in my head. NA NA... NA NA NA NA NA NA.... Look at her, putting on outfits. Ha ha, Salem! You imp" way.
It's cool. Me and my "thing" are here for you and your "thing." Leave said things in comments, and for the love of God, please use pens when you are around me.