Do you ever listen to your eyeballs as they roll in their sockets? I discovered this sound only recently. It terrified me. I never wanted to move my eyes again. You think something’s wrong. You shouldn’t be hearing this. Perhaps your sockets require some sort of oil change. Like sex, is this yet something else mommy and daddy failed to adequately explain? That every few decades you might need to replace your eye lubricant? If so, is it an in-patient or an out-patient procedure? Will insurance cover it? Does it hurt? Will it affect your sight? And if it’s not done, will your eyes eventually freeze and stare in one direction? Can you imagine that? Everyone looking at you while your eyes are permanently lodged up, down, or askant?
“Hey!” snaps every woman you talk to, “I’m up here!”
“I know,” you plead, “but my eyes are stuck!”
They’ll slap you anyway.
And while we’re on the subject of corporeal embarrassments…
Do you think it’s worse to fart uncontrollably or to belch uncontrollably? Methinks unabated belching is particularly bad when you pucker up to kiss your date goodnight. Worse still, a sudden belching fit is truly burdensome whilst shoving your tongue down your lover’s throat.
Surely unfettered farting is more desirable. It’s nothing to fake a belch, but it takes some skill to fart on cue. True, the unpremeditated fart may redden your face. But people tend to make a good time of it. They laugh. You can turn it into a game—as in your request to “Pull my finger” (which takes some presence of mind), or the assertion that, “The one who smelt it dealt it.”
A fart can break the ice. And if it doesn’t, you’ll know it’s safe to go ice skating. On the other hand, relentless, involuntary belching is a scary thing. Who’ll believe you? You’ll be ostracized and you won’t be able to defend yourself. Even worse, you’ll sound like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. You might be in real trouble while everybody else thinks you’re just being an asshole.
I have a problem with indecisiveness. Last week, I bought the self-help section of the local bookstore. I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of help I needed, so I bought every book on the shelf—even all of the multiple copies—just in case I lost or damaged one. It’s always a comfort to have a spare, isn’t it?
The desire for a spare (you name it) is mapped onto our DNA: It’s why we have two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two arms, two legs (if push came to shove, we could always hop), two breasts, two nuts; multiple fingers, toes, and chins. And now that I have fifteen copies of How to Win Friends and Influence People, I’m free to accidentally spill a cup of coffee on fourteen of them. Alas, I’ve yet to open one book. Like I said, I’m indecisive. What if I don’t need any help at all? The question I am confronted with—annually, monthly, daily, hourly, minutely, secondly—is not simply what to do next, but what to do first.
When the alarm blares at me every morning, I struggle over whether I should open my eyes first or hit the snooze bar first. I dwell on the benefits and impediments of each; and then I consider weighing the pros and cons instead.
For the moment, here’s what I’ve decided to do: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I’ll open my eyes first; Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I’ll hit the snooze bar first; Sundays, I’ll do both at the exact same time—which is tricky when you’re a perfectionist. No doubt I’ll have to Hulk-smash something—perhaps a spare copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People—every time I accidentally open my eyes first on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and/or Saturdays, or hit the snooze bar first on Mondays, Wednesday and/or Fridays. By following Monday’s ritual on a Tuesday (for example), I will upset the balance of things, throw the whole day outta whack, inflame migraines, inspire junk food binges. You might call it a chronic pattern disorder. Or, more traditionally, an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Or, you might call it Bartholomew. Whatever ails you, consider calling it Bartholomew.