Opinion: Staring down a bad habit

Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

Just once in 38 years, I’d like to hear Mary Ellen say something like: “Dick has this terrific habit of changing his underwear every day.” Generally, the word habit is associated with a repeated bad action. It’s almost redundant to include the word “bad” with habit.

Mary Ellen recently commented that it still drove her batty that I whistle all the time. I do it while working in my home office, while cleaning out the garage and even when I am on my way out the door to go to the TV station.

“No one whistles on the way to work,” she said. I said I could name seven who did, but one of the dwarves’ names kept slipping my mind.

I asked my sister if she had any memory of this habit of mine. “Well,” Linda said, “Mom’s neighborhood nickname was Whistler’s Mother.” Funny, I never made the connection.

Mary Ellen wasn’t finished. “Dick, you always shake your leg up and down, like at dinner, when watching TV and at the movies. At first I thought it was some kind of courtship mating ritual, but I looked it up and unless I’m married to a praying mantis, this has little to do with romance. Here’s another: You open the fridge every day and stare into it, like a salami sandwich will magically appear. Then you open the door moments later and stare again. Did you think I went to Kroger and got back in 60 seconds?”

“Anything else?” I asked.

“In a restaurant you taste my entrée without asking me, even when we order the same thing. I can deal with that. But please stop doing it to the strangers at the next table.”

I told her my next column would be filled with all of her annoying habits. She walked up to me nose-to-nose and stared at me for 30 seconds.

Not only did that scare the heck out of me, but I now know how the inside of my refrigerator feels.