Your Weirdest Childhood Habit

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One of my all-time favorite Pissing Contest topics arrived in early 2015. (Can you even believe such a year existed?) Jezebel’s beloved former managing editor Madeleine Davies requested commenters share the “funniest, weirdest” thing they did in childhood, and I have been patiently waiting for the right time to bring it up again. It’s been half a decade, it feels like the world is ending, and I want some levity. Clearly, now is the time.


Loyal readers of this blog, tell me: What’s a weird (and ideally, funny) habit you had as kid? I expect some booger talk, but I’m not explicitly asking for booger talk. Drop those anecdotes in the comments below.

But first, let’s take a look at last week’s winners. Objectively, these are the best stories you had to share about the time someone saved you from despair. Believe it.

BrooklynInferno, this sounds like a scene from Touched By Angel or something... unreal, in the best and most human way:

So about a decade ago, I had just started my second year of grad school at NYU- when I got a call from my mom that my uncle had had a horrible fall, was in the ICU and unlikely to live. I was really close with this uncle and absolutely devastated. All of my family lived on the west coast and I had no money to get home and just felt so so alone.

A day or so later I was waiting for the D at Broadway Lafayette and just started sobbing uncontrollably, like unbelievable ugly wailing sobs. This older woman spotted me and pulled me into a big hug and just rubbed my back while I wept and wept. I am certain that I soaked her shirt. She held me in the middle of rush hour as easily 4 trains came and went. The D arrived eventually and I was able to pull myself together to get on. She handed me a handful of tissues and told me she was sorry I was in pain.

It didn’t make me less sad but I felt so much less alone for a little while. In retrospect it’s the moment that made me really truly fall in love with New York and feel like this could be home.

Devonna, your friend sounds really wonderful. I hope you two are still close:

Nearly 16 years ago I was living in a small studio apartment in Los Angeles. I had been to “treatment” (both in-patient and outpatient) twice for alcoholism. I had lost my job, isolated myself from family and friends, had my car impounded, and was basically drinking myself to death because, well, alcoholism.

In an increasingly rare moment of lucidity, I answered the phone when one of my best friends called. He said, “You’re not picking up your phone. I’m flying out there and I’m bringing you home.”

Two days later, my stuff was packed in a u-haul that he paid for, my car was towed behind the u-haul, and we drove nearly non-stop for three days back home.

Today, I have fifteen plus years of sobriety, a well-paying career, an aging pit bull, a loving partner, a different car, a house, an amazing circle of friends, close relationships with my family members...all because I have a pushy and amazing friend.


BabyMaude, I hope you find a way to get in contact with Jodi again:

I was in jail but it was actually prison because for some reason in CT everyone goes to prison even if it’s a misdemeanor. There weren’t any county jails for women. This lady named Jodi who had already done 2 years in the Martha Stewart prison (federal) got transferred to the state prison. We were on 23 hour lockdown and she still remained so positive. She got everyone doing stretches and exercises even though we were stuck in a dirty little cell. She always had something kind or positive to say. This other chick was really creepily coming on to me and she shut that shit right down and told her to leave me alone.

Jodi, I know you’ll never read this, but you were a bright spot in a very dark place. I hope you’re doing well and you’re home now.


DareDare, I never knew “good managers” existed but Amy sounds like some kind of wonderful:

I worked as a lead cashier at a buffet and salad bar restaurant in high school. I was excellent at this job because it tapped into my idealistic view of people at the world at that time. I always said a genuinely happy greeting and gave the customers what they wanted. But one day, this nasty bitch of a woman came in and berated me for literally everything possible. She was so cruel. It was like she knew exactly what would crush a 17 year old’s soul. I could not win her favor and she left the cashier stand fuming mad at me for absolutely nothing.

This triggered my first panic attack that I can recall. I started hyperventilating and rushed to the back office in tears. My manager at the time (Amy?) saw me crying and asked what what wrong. I told her what happened and she flipped. She asked me to tell her who it was, so I reluctantly followed her to the main buffet area to point this woman out.

Amy walked right up to her, as she scooped her pathetic clam chowder into her bowl on her tray, and told her to get the fuck out of the restaurant. The woman made up some excuse about my being a shit employee and that I deserved it. I was sure Amy would placate to the customer, but instead she said something like, “if you treat the hardworking employees of this restaurant like garbage, then you don’t deserve to eat here. Get the fuck out and never come back.”

I mean... it was a shitty $6.99 dinner buffet, so this woman was probably better off eating somewhere else, but I felt so championed. Amy was my hero. She had the balls I still hope to have some day.


Did My name is snow chop some onions in here or...?

My first job out of college was in a tiny administrative group at a healthcare facility. My boss suddenly had to leave for a couple of weeks and I was so inexperienced that I really struggled. One of the doctors yelled at me and I felt like I was failing at every part of my job.

I answered the phone one afternoon and must have sounded miserable because the man who called turned everything around for me. I don’t remember his reason for calling or his exact words, but he didn’t just conduct his business and hang up - he was kind and gave me a little positive attention and a pep talk that I really needed. More than 20 years later I haven’t forgotten how much that 2 minute conversation cheered me up. It reminds me that I can say a few kind words to someone and move on, but I may never know how much it might help the other person.


Okay, commenters. The floor is yours. Call you mom if you can’t remember what weird shit you used to do. She’ll remember.


Cheers Pink Ears!

I’ve got a weird one. I think I did this well into middle school. I always got the passenger side window seat in the back seat, and, for whatever reason, every single time my parents drove us anywhere, I would imagine there was a very long saw attached to the car, and the only way to save all the mailboxes, telephone poles, road signs, etc. was if I blinked in time to “lift” the saw up. My mom only noticed once, because one time when she was driving me to dance class she said "Are you alright Cheers? You keep grimacing." I guess I destroyed a lot of mailboxes that trip.