My Own Drummer

Published on: January 29, 2008 |Tags: ,,, | Categories: Articles

Grass Houses

I was meandering through technorati, checking what people out there in the world have to say about us (at least those who have the courage to link back) and saw WAH(Web)Mommy expose her weirdness to the world. A little off kilter, I had almost relegated her to the OCD kookie bin, where she would be pleasantly surprised to find about half the women I have ever loved including my wife, when dear god, she called me out to lift my skirts too. Never one to back down to any kind of challenge, I bring you seven more pathetic quirks to add to this ever growing rash of personal exposure making its way across the web.

1. My Hand Shakes When I talk to People I don’t Know on the Phone

I know a lot of people have a tough time with cold calls. I react physically. My wife would always know when I had been doing business calls with a stranger because my phone hand wouldn’t stop shaking for about 20 minutes. It is not subtle either. Even years later, when they barely scare me at all, I still get the shakes.

2. Don’t Touch that Pile

I am afflicted with a particular type of mnemonic curse. Out of site, out of mind. Literally. As a compensation system, I build piles. My wife has worked with me and we have reached a compromise. Julie is a woman of order, who believes each thing has its place. A belief I encourage and benefit from (I love a clean house, especially when I don’t have to do it). I have assigned places to pile and as long as I stay within my assigned places, my stacks remain unmolested. But should they break quarantine, all hell breaks loose.

3. Please, Never EVER Crunch Near Me

Ok, you know how on TV they make this big drama about the nails on the chalk board torture technique. Well you could abuse your chalkboard all day long, see if I care, but crunch on a pretzle or granola within 10 feet of me and prepare to see me tense up and wince. If I feel safe around you and know you, I’ll nicely ask you not to do that (if I am not able to run away). And if I love you, I’ll probably freak out on you and yell things like “You know I hate that $%^@, why do you come near me with your bowl of shredded wheat when you know I’m just going to have to leave the room.” Where did this come from? No idea, but I’ve definitely considered regressive therapy just out of love and courtesy for my wife. It is no fun being stuck with someone who can’t stand to hear you eat.

4. Don’t Eat or Clip Your Toenails in Bed

Now most people would say, that’s pretty normal. And it is, if I was a neat person. But I’m not. I pay very little attention to physical appearance as I tend to be very, very focused on whatever is today’s dominant thought in my life. I’ll wear the same clothes for a week and forget to shower for two days in a row. I respect hygiene, it is just one of the last things to enter my mind, I have more important things to deal with. I’ll have piles of laundry and when I was single would only do laundry every 2-3 months (I bought tons of undies). But somehow, I developed this internal rule that food & nail clippings on the floor is fine, but in bed are gross.

5. Bring on the Fear

I was terrified of heights, so I started rock climbing. I had horrible internal issues with how alone I felt, so I left to travel the world for a few years by my self. I had physical reactions to talking to strangers on the phone, so I volunteered for a community hotline where I listened to strangers in 4 hour blocks talk about anything they wanted, then went on to do a cold calling network marketing business for five years. I am obsessed with personal growth. I am happiest on the razor sharp edge of the discomfort of change.

6. I Can’t Hear You

A blessing and a curse. I have the ability to focus. More than most people I meet. I get so focused that I don’t hear you when you talk to me. Great if you work in a public place like a coffee shop and need to stay on track. Bad if your wife is trying to get your attention and begins to believe you are purposefully ignoring her.

7. I Believe in Fate / Spirituality but Can’t Stand it in Most People

My grandmother called me while at college at 11pm pacific, 2 am her time (New York). She was over 80 years old, in fine health, and usually went to bed early in the evening. I was concerned.

Listen close Shane, I know it is late but I need to talk to you. It is time for you to stop being angry at your parents. They did the best they could raising you and even though they don’t quite know how to show it, they love you very much. You need to grow up and let it go.

That is it, almost word for word. She wished me a good night and then hung up. That was the last time I spoke to her. She had an accident the next day and died. My life is full of these events. Insane karmic circles that only belong in daytime soap operas. These consistent events and connections in my life have made me a strong believe in fate and karma. And yet the moment someone begins to talk about spirituality, my hackles fly up and all my warning alarms trumpet. “Charlatan walking, make room people.” As our friend Brito said in his interview, I just want to sell them some magic beans. It is an odd double standard I have yet to puzzle out. Perhaps it is that so many people use spirituality (and religion) as another form of segregation and bigotry.

Oh and a bonus

I love to dance and am a fairly decent dancer. But put me around other people and something odd becomes clear. I love the off-beat and am always about 1/2 a beat ahead of everyone else. Still works for me.

You’re Next Sucka

And in conclusion, I am of the firm belief that misery loves company and everyone who writes a blog is fundamentally an exhibitionist seeking attention. So I pass it forward:

Brito at Bobby Street
Christine at Self Made Chick
Jarkko at Insanely Interested
Jonathan at Awake at the Wheel
Cyan at Freelance Switch
Tara at Horse:Pig:Cow
James at Branding Shed
Eric at The Admin
Jon at Freelance Folders
Susan at Vox Fortis

Have a good night – I stayed up way too late on this one.

22 Responses to My Own Drummer

  1. Jarkko Laine says

    Ouch… I was reading this post, nodding, smiling, and quietly thinking of my own weirdities. And now all I can do is stare at my name and sweat at the thought of me having to do this next.

    Just kidding: I’m sure it’ll be fun ;)

    By the way, it feels good to hear that you too have the problem of your hands shaking on the phone.

    Number three reminds me that I should ask my work mates if they feel like that too, because at least a few times a week, I have my lunch at the desk… Maybe they are too polite to tell me that it’s annoying?

  2. James Chartrand - Web Content Writer Tips says

    Shane, I think you and I are related. Maybe cousins.

    This was too funny to read and great insight into who you are. Each quirk has some sort of reflection on your business attitude, I bet.

    Drop links, people. I want to see what the rest of you have to say!

  3. Peter says

    it’s funny when we have lunch together because I have the same reaction to a chewing sloshing sound as Shane does to a crunching sound. We do sort of a reciprocal torture ping pong given a couple of sandwiches and a bag of chips.


  4. Susan says

    My quirks are up….SUCKA!

  5. James Dalman says


    I feel like I have been called out. Since I am not having a productive spark today and I admire you, I am going to go grab a toenail snack and laptop to complete your challenge.

    BTW – I only dance if there is a fire pole attached to the ceiling.

  6. James Dalman says

    Mine is now posted peeps. Enjoy!

  7. shane says

    James – Thats hillarious – your pop in law gave you a vasectomy? wow. Did you have the permed mullet when it happened?

    Susan – I will never buy you a houseplant – unless I am really mad at it.

    Jarkko – the crunching at the desk was ok at work. You can stick headphones on and ignore the sound. What is tough is when it is in your home or in a meeting where you can’t escape.

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  10. Jarkko Laine says

    Ok, my seven secret weirdnesses are now out. Have fun!

  11. WAH(web)Mommy says

    Thanks for joining in the fun, Shane!

    I’m also quite a bit of a people phobe (you wouldn’t know it online, lol, but I hate using the phone and get nervous for IRL meetings, etc.)

    The story of your Grandmother reminds me of my husband and his Grandmother… She was very ill years ago, but knew that we were coming up to visit one Christmas. I am so glad that I got to meet her! We got engaged that Christmas as well… but she passed shortly after we went back home. We always feel like she was waiting to see my husband again and to find out he was getting married.

    I see you’ve spawned quite a few more weird posts! I’m off to read those now, too. :)

  12. James Dalman says


    The Bolton mullet was a thing of the past by then but the sweet memory remains…

  13. michael brito says

    first off: hey how’s it going. been awhile. i have a valid reason for disappearing. i wrote about it on my blog.

    great post. as i was reading it i kept thinking about how similiar we are.

    1) yep, that sounds write.

    2)i hide shit all the time so that i don’t have to deal with it, piles make sense, still look tidy.

    3)not just crunching, i like most peeps just hate there little annoying mannerisms.

    4)gross, i would divorce my wife for that shit and i am not fucking around.

    5)so afraid of heights, so i did the most logical shit, took up diving. hey guess what i’m doing tonight…rock climbing (actually on a wall, to fucking cold to go outside).

    6)my wife and i both suffer from this, we believe that not communicating strengthens the relationship.

    7)don’t get me wrong, i have no ill feelings towards religion just keep that fucking shit to yourself. i myself am a strong believer in fate.

    bonus: i won’t dance, why should i? i won’t dance, how could i?

    PEACE brotha

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  16. Naomi Dunford says

    Shane, we can’t ever eat together, dude. My jaw was broken when I was a kid and it never got refixed, so every time I chew my jaw cracks, sometimes really loud. You’d probably die if you heard it.

    Maybe we can go out for smoothies together.

  17. Peter says

    yeah, it’s tough. i have a similar chewing sound affliction. My wife has a popping jaw. i have to put headphones on when she eats and i’m not eating

  18. shane says

    Naomi – wow someone broke your jaw and you are still all snarky? I am impressed by your persistence! Smoothie’s it is. Your jaw cracking with every bite would be torture. Lindsey does that (Peter’s wife) and it is tough to sit by it.

    Brito – I’m glad you and the fam are ok. Car accidents are honestly sucky.

    JD – I’m so sad .. I really wanted to see the mullet.

    WaH – This was fun. Thanks

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