Minutiae

from Nick Suss

Feb. 9, 2014, 11:27 p.m.

I don’t think I’m good at shaving. I don’t know if shaving is something one can be especially good or bad at, but I may have found a way to be the latter. I use shaving cream. I just recently changed out my razor. But I still feel like I’m missing areas. And they aren’t areas I can’t reach. It’s places I know that I’ve gone over but still don’t feel shorn. I stare at myself in the mirror when I’m done and I still appear to be rocking a five-o-clock shadow. Maybe it looks cool, maybe it doesn’t, but I just don’t understand why I can’t shave cleanly.

All the time, people say things to me along the lines of “Only you would do that, Nick.” Sometimes I get people who come up to me and say “How do you come up with these things?” Every once in a while I get the “I wonder what goes on in your head” speech. I want to solve this conundrum once and for all. I don’t think I’m as peculiar as I portray myself, but maybe I am. So I wanted to take you, the privileged StoriesHouse readers, through a day inside my head. I wrote down in my notebook some observations that I came up with from morning until I fell asleep. Hopefully this illuminates my unique human condition to some of you.

To say that I don’t shave cleanly is a double entendre. Not only does my face not appear clean, I honestly am a messy shaver. I am incapable of wearing a shirt while I shave for fear that I will dribble water and hair shavings on it like I just had oral surgery and I’m trying to drink water but my lower lip is numb. (I’ve been criticized in the past for using run-on analogies. I rather enjoy them.) This creates an interesting juxtaposition in my head. I am not a quick shaver, chock this up to my quasi-perfectionism, so I often run over the same places two or three times before I drain the water from the sink basin. Spending this time in front of the mirror looking at myself shirtless makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to come off like I have a negative self body image, I don’t, but I am more than aware that I am not in peak physical condition. I never was, but I at least used to be close. So invariably, more often than not, I will finish up shaving – I generally shave at night because if I were to shave in the morning I would have to peer through the slowly-spreading cracks of my fogged-up, post-shower mirror – and travel three or four steps to my bedroom floor to do some push-ups. I get down on my hands and toes, and start repping them out. Around six push-ups, I start to feel really good about myself. They have been effortless, seamless. I start to think maybe I’m in much better shape than I had previously believed. Then I hit the number 11. Then I hit the floor about two later. I don’t know why I don’t pace myself. I really could and would be much more effective. But then there would be no exhilaration. Apparently I treat push-ups like I am riding a roller coaster: I like going really fast to a point that I don’t fear the crash. Then I get back in line, but it’s not as fun the second time. After I knock out a few sets of feeble exercise I give up and watch TV. I’m much better at that.

Why is ankle skin so thin? I feel as though my ankle is constantly bleeding. I wish it were acceptable to wear socks that covered my ankles, because my ankles seem to be gluttons for punishment. It’s not as if there are thorns in the backs of my sneakers; trust me, I’ve checked. But this has been happening to me since I was in the 10th grade and my football cleats starting tearing up my ankles. No way to avoid using an ankle, I begin to limp when I walk. I think I do the stanky leg. (I have no clue what the stanky leg is. Is it a dance? Is it a disease that sailors get after contracting the gout? I’ve just heard the phrase before and I used it. I shouldn’t do that anymore. Makes me sound ignorant.) Either way though, ankle skin also heals relatively quickly. At least it heals quicker than other skin abrasions I’ve had in the past. Ha. Now I’m thinking about the pun made about ankle skin “healing.” I’m funny.

I like to make up words. By that I don’t mean words that could be misconstrued as real words to sound smart. I just like to make up nonsensical words as integrate them into my inner monologue. For example, my roommates have heard me say “schmangladorf” more times than anyone has ever actually said the phrase. It means nothing. I just say it sometimes. When I was a sophomore or junior in high school, I wanted to make up a word that meant “better than best.” So I came up with “magnifroposkopotoupolous.” To this day, I remember the originally intended enunciation of that fabricated word. The most recent made up I word I’ve been outed on is “flarj.” To me, flarj is defined as the word that I type into websites to see if those websites have spell check. If I type flarj and I don’t see a red squiggly line, I know I have to try hard with my spelling. If I see the line, I can relax a little bit. However, a few coworkers of mine noticed this word the other day. (I actually told them this story. I am 100 percent at fault for this.) They looked at me like I was crazy. (Maybe I am.)

I talk too much to have a filter. I wouldn’t say I don’t have one, but I wouldn’t necessarily argue that I have one either. I just like to talk. So if there is a topic I know I shouldn’t bring up, I still do bring it up. Because I can’t bare the sound of silence. (I mean the tangible sound of silence. I love the song by Simon and Garfunkel. I also love the Graduate. Great film.) I need to work on this. If I keep putting my foot in my mouth, I highly doubt I’ll be able to talk at the volume I currently do. And I don’t think I’d be good at sign language. Or walking on one foot, for that matter.

When I get bored in social situations, I like to imagine people who I’m listening to as if they were in a Lucky Charms commercial. Hear me out. It is actually rather funny to imagine everyday dialogue as if it was spoken in an advertisement for the breakfast cereal. Last Friday, for example, one of my professors was using way too many adjectives to describe something we had read. So I imagined that those adjectives were being used to describe marshmallows in a new edition of Lucky Charms. Then he said the word “magically.” I actually laughed out loud. Nobody else was in on my inside joke – literally – but I thought that his use of that word was magnifroposkopotoupolous.

I wear glasses some days and some days I wear contact lenses. I prefer contacts, but sometimes I have to wear glasses out of either laziness or fear of contracting another eye infection like I did during my last month of high school. (It was the second worst eye pain I had ever had, only to the time that shrapnel from a firework landed in my eye on the 4th of July. Needless to say, I didn’t have a pleasant 5th of July that year.) The thing is though, I can’t tell the difference. My prescription is the same whether I wear contacts or glasses. So sometimes when I am wearing contacts, I push up my nose instinctively because I feel like my glasses are about to come off. I end up just poking the area above my nose and between my eyes. If I was a Cyclops, that would really hurt.

(A side note on glasses: have you ever noticed that there is fine print on the inside of the prongs of a pair of glasses. [Prongs? Is that what the ear holder on thingies are called? {Wow. Thingies is a real word according to Microsoft Office} I have no clue as to the nomenclature on those.] There is very small white print on the inside of my glasses. That bothers me. How do you expect me to read that print if I need glasses to read? That’s just mean. I bet the print just says “Nanny nanny boo boo, you can’t read this!)

Every so often, I wish I as a human being didn’t have to eat. Again, this isn’t a low self body image thing, this is just a tangibility factor. Eating is rather inconvenient, especially when one gets busy. You can’t eat just anywhere or any time. You have to be in the right place at the right time. I would eat a heckuva lot more if I carried a lunch pail along with me and could consume on the go. But that isn’t acceptable. (I wish I could carry a lunch pail for the soul purpose of using the word “pail.” It doesn’t come up more. I blame the word “bucket.”) So I often go hours without eating even though I am starving just because I can’t find a socially-acceptable time or place to eat. On the day I thought of this, the first thing I ate all day was a bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles at 2:30 in the afternoon. That can’t be healthy.

If I ever were to concede one part of my life as legitimately insane, it would be my tendency to lip sync. I am really good at lip syncing. Ever since I was younger, I could memorize lyrics very quickly and I’ve used that to my advantage since I was a child. When I was in weight training classes in high school, I would follow people around after I had finished my work out, lip syncing to the rap songs blaring through the stereo system just to be annoying. And I was. But the problem is that I lip sync whenever I listen to music. Any time, any place. If I’m not audibly singing, I’m moving my lips. Why is this a problem, you may be asking yourself? That answer is slightly more embarrassing than I’d like to admit, but anyone who goes to UGA could honestly pick this out. About 75 percent of the time that I am listening to music, I am walking to or from a class. In effect, what I mean by this is I dramatically act out the songs I’m listening to with my lips walking up and down the streets of the University of Georgia. I’d like to tell you that I stop when I see people coming, but that would only be slightly accurate. In actuality, I just put my head down and try not to move my jaw. I still am opening and closing my lips. I’m kind of paranoid that a bunch of people have noticed this about me and like I’m a laughingstock. Like, I imagine that there is a parody Twitter account about weird lip syncing guy and maybe a Tumblr of pictures people have snapped of me whilst I was jamming out to Bob Seger’s Night Moves or Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al. (The main songs that have been rotating through my ears recently have come courtesy of Paul Simon, in case you were wondering. Been going through quite the kick. I’ve also been listening to Marc Cohn’s Walking in Memphis, Billy Joel’s Vienna and Shawn Mullins’ Lullaby. Just in case you were wondering.) My paranoia has led me to contemplate searching these things, but I’d rather just be shrouded in mystery. If people are having fun making fun of me, I’ll let them. What’s the harm anyway?

The letter “I” and I are currently having a bit of a spat. I physically cannot write the letter if it is in the middle of a word. I just connect the letters preceding and following the vowel, sometimes with the courtesy of adding a dot above the squiggle. I have no clue why my handwriting has developed this quirk, but it is rather difficult for people to decipher my writing now. Not that many people have to. I don’t hand in much that is handwritten. Regardless though, I should work on that.

When most people get bored in classes, they doodle pictures in the lines of their notebooks. I’m not creative enough to do that. I simply write words on top of words on top of words until it looks like I have scribbled a darkened blog into the margins of my notes. That wasn’t clear. Let me explain further. Mostly with song lyrics, I write letters on top of one another until the entire phrase is written out. I then try to figure out which letter is the most prominent in the phrase based off of my handwriting. For example, when I recently wrote the chorus of “Handbags and Gladrags” on top of itself, the letter “G” was the most prominent. I don’t know what that means, but I now know that. (In case you are wondering, yes, I have done this with Paul Simon lyrics. The most common letters are indistinguishable for the most part. Except for in the case of Slip Sliding Away. The letter “S” is very prevalent. Thus solves yet another mystery.)

When I was younger I had a weird habit of licking my palms when they felt dry. It was a disgusting habit I’m glad I ridded myself of. For the most part. Though I no longer bathe my palms with saliva, luckily, I still do gnaw on my fingernails. I wish I didn’t, but it’s a habit I am more or less unaware of. In fact, I often don’t recognize the fact that I have been biting my fingernails until I either feel the pain of biting too close or find myself in a little too deep. I promptly sit on my hands and try to stop, as what I had been doing is both unsanitary and unbecoming. But I started to analyze when I bit my fingernails the most often and have created a bit of a recurring paradigm as to when I most frequently engage in this habit. Firstly, I do this most during the few occasions when I am playing video games. I don’t know why, but any second my fingers aren’t on the controller, they tend to be between the clench of my jaw. Secondly, I chew my fingers specifically in my one class on Tuesday and Thursday. This one perplexes me. I am not particularly stressed and out and my professor has outwardly encouraged me to speak my mind in that class. I am in no way thwarted or suppressed, nor am I taking out my aggression on my hands as I do while playing video games. This only leaves deep-set Freudian problems which I would much rather not discuss on an online platform. Thirdly, I bite my finger covers when I can’t figure out how to start an article. Once I have typed my second paragraphs, my fingers remain affixed on the keys. But the first paragraph, if it doesn’t come naturally, comes covered in spit. (Sorry if that was graphic. I’m trying to limit myself to one usage of every epithet pertaining to digit munching. I’m running out.) Fourthly and finally, I snack on my stubby fingers as a cyclical result of past chewing. This is the worst part. Sometimes I chew because I had chewed previously and I had made things worse. My teeth come in as a beautification process, rectifying the past wrongs they had wrought. Oftentimes however, this makes things doubly worse. I don’t think you want to know what happens after this.

My head is a weird place. The things I think are things only I could think. But I’m sure I’m not the only to think things that only I think. So I encourage this to be a platform to be proud of your inner idiosyncrasies. Comment at the bottom of tweet or Facebook us some of your inner thoughts. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is insane. And if I am, at least I got a laugh out of this. And you got a very different kind of laugh. I’ve got to sign off now; I’m lip syncing to Hey Jude and I need to devote my attention to that endeavor.


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