Mimicry is actually easy when you know somebody

How boring would it be if nobody had quirks?

What I mean to say is that people have these habits, these quirky habits – and they’re part and parcel of who they are, regardless of whether they’re annoying or habits that these people are trying to break. The hardest thing to do is look past habits that grate on the sensibilities, and that’s something that I’m getting much better at. But the quirky ones – those are the ones that we sometimes don’t notice, but they sometimes help people identify us.

“But Surfer Rob,” you say, “I don’t quite follow – I mean, I know what my buddy Jim looks like. Why would I identify him by a habit?” Good question!

It’s like the eyes. You know a person’s feelings by their eyes, more than anything; and sometimes you can identify a specific person’s eyes. Their quirks tend to be the same way, because – well, they’re quirky. I can do impressions from time to time, which is something I know that I’ve never mentioned before – now you know something new about me!

English: Kevin Bacon.
Not my buddy Kevin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the past when I was (literally) living in Detroit, having parties at the house I lived at with my buds Bryan and Kevin, and we were entertaining some more nefarious vices among many good friends, we’d be talking smack about someone who wasn’t there (you know we all do it!) and I’d bust out an impression on-the-fly. Sometimes I’m pretty good at it, and you know what makes it easy? A quirk. Sometimes the quirk and the righ tone of voice is all it takes; throw in a verbal idiosyncrasy, and you’ve got it in the bag. Let’s take Jim Schmidt as an example –

fun fact: we had two guys in our circle of friends with the same name – Jim Schmitt and Jim Schmidt. I could do an impression of both, but Schmitt didn’t have any vocal idiosyncrasies that I could pick out – as a result, he was a James Dean-like character to me, because he’d stand there, feet slightly apart, playing with his wallet chain. He’d spin it once, flip it up, catch it, and drop it. Over, and over, and over. He was just too cool for words.

Jim Schmitt
Not our Jim Schmitt, either! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So we’re talking about where we’re going to get . . . sandwiches (refer to the television show How I Met Your Mother if you don’t know what I mean) and I mimic Jim without thinking about it – intentionally, but by now, we know him well enough. He’s got a deeper, quiet, smooth voice. A little bit of a lisp. A certain widening of the eyes and a very obvious way of twisting his goatee whenever he starts talking about weed. Sandwiches!

Dang!!

Okay, so that’s what I’m talking about. Now, he also had a bad habit of getting in such a way that he’d have to crash on our couch, rather than going home at the end of the night, but that wasn’t so much a quirk as a tiresome burden on us. One thing I felt kind of bad about was when Bryan and Kevin asked me to kick him out. We wanted an empty house and we figured out that Jim was pretty reliable for that tiresome habit. I totally did it; I’m not comfortable being a jerk about stuff, so I came at it like I was just sticking to my guns, and that it was really a consensus. I like to put off the blame from myself whenever I can, but when that’s not the case, I’m more than happy to share responsibility if that’s how it is.

So to make the long story short, quirks do a lot to make us who we are. The world might not be so boring without them, but like the eyes, our quirks are somehow part of our behavioral fingerprint. Love them or hate them, why should we change those of others?

What do you think? Do I have a quirky habit you like or dislike? How about anyone else you know? Do you do impressions? Let us know in the comments!


This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.

So far, 61 other responses have posted:

  1. Stretch! | A Teacher’s Blog
  2. The Habit of Fear | Shrine of Hecate – Ramblings of a New Age Witch
  3. Daily Prompt: You Are Not Michael Jackson | Under the Monkey Tree
  4. Write | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  5. Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit | Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer
  6. Quirky Love | Active Army Wife
  7. A Penny For Your Thoughts | The Jittery Goat
  8. Hate Late « Mon Cache
  9. Quirk of habit | Sue’s Trifles
  10. DP Daily Prompt: Quirk Habit | Sabethville
  11. DP Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit | Sabethville
  12. A Quirk | Kate Murray
  13. Cultivating Eccentricity | alienorajt
  14. My.Vivid.Visions | Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit – Instincts & Intuitions
  15. Quirk Away! | meanderedwanderings
  16. Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  17. Quirks and Fancies | Wicked Words
  18. Quirks, don’t smirk. | Hope* the happy hugger
  19. Quirks and Such | Short Story Sally
  20. SO SLOW | The Photo Faith Challenge
  21. Quirky | Lux
  22. Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  23. R is for “Random-Dancing” | Retrofocus
  24. Never Trust a Smiling Cat | Just Visiting This Planet
  25. Burying Quirk | It’s a wonderful F’N life
  26. Embracing Me: Uniquely Strange | THE OVERCOMING
  27. Spring Peeper | Exploratorius | Photo Hack & Curious Wanderer
  28. Daily Prompt: Quirky « Vicariously Poetic
  29. Quirks | Flowers and Breezes
  30. Quacky Quirk! | LenzExperiments
  31. daily prompt: quirk habit | aimanss…
  32. I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  33. Don’t Call Me Ma’am | Finale to an Entrance
  34. Quirking | Steve Says….
  35. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/daily-prompt-quirky/ | all my likes
  36. Procrastination and Coffee/Daily Prompt | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  37. Stop! That Is So Annoying. | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  38. CYNICAL ECCENTRICITY: THEY WILL THANK US SOMEDAY | SERENDIPITY
  39. Quirky habits – Elephantine Bakasana | Mishe en Place
  40. Children’s Oddities | A mom’s blog
  41. Daily prompt: Quirk or Habit: Did I marry a beaver? | jesus was a primate
  42. Quirky Habits – Technology a Two Edged Sword | TamekoTheArtist
  43. Quirk of Habit | The Nameless One
  44. All about the quirk: Being yourself, full tilt | Lauren Kells
  45. Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit | Occasional Stuff
  46. Daily Post: Quirk of Habit | A Clueless Monkey’s Thoughts
  47. Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit | Occasional Stuff
  48. Daily Prompt: Sometimes Quirky is a Part of a Good Photo Shoot! | Daily Prompt & Blogging Progress
  49. creativity | sunshine in winter
  50. Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit | A Room of One’s Own
  51. Pelos nossos hábitos | Sonhos desencontrados
  52. Nature…..it can be | The Land Slide Photography
  53. ah! | yi-ching lin photography
  54. How The Selfie Transformed My World
  55. Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit | Nicole Sloan’s Writing
  56. Habits Of Quirk | Chunky Brain
  57. Photogenic Squirrel (Quirky) | photo potpourri
  58. Quirk of Habit | Geek Ergo Sum
  59. Quirks | hodgepodgemenage
  60. Day 12 Again: How To Live Beautifully | The Sacred Architecture of Here and Now
  61. Earworm: Say Something | VernetteOutLoud
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14 thoughts on “Mimicry is actually easy when you know somebody”

  1. Y’know, I’ve been thinking about quirks when writing on our The Redemption of the Four Kingdoms material– I made a list of our characters and asked Cimmy for help (as some characters are ones she created). I’ve definitely come up with quirks for some, but not for others. Not sure why I’m having a mental block, there.

    1. My thought is that if it were me, I’d be concerned with finding quirks that weren’t too weird or that call too much attention to a given character; but I’m sure that if they’re not a main character (or won’t be) and if the quirk has little to do with the story, then you won’t need to flesh that character out that much anyway. Think about Luna Lovegood, from the Harry Potter series. She’s pretty weird, and that’s all there is to it. But it’s part and parcel of her character and her quirks actually move the story forward. That’s a side character with story-essential quirks. Then there’s kids like Ernie MacMillan, Padma Patil, even Cedric Diggory, who got more spotlight than other background characters – these didn’t get quirks, even if they might have them if they were a real-life person because it just doesn’t matter. That’s why I figure if you want to go that in-depth with you characters it’s all fine and well and may even springboard new stories, but in the context of this story if it isn’t essential, it’s not going to be a deal breaker.

      1. Well, one of the main protagonists doesn’t yet have a quirk I can discern, while a character who has a much more supporting role most definitely does.

        I get that quirks can be a tool of focus, and that’s why I thought it was a bit odd. This main protagonist character is VERY crucial to the story, and I don’t want to risk him be perceived as a rather flat personality.

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