I threw away an empty pill bottle.
I probably didn’t need to put the cap back on first.
– Comedian Josh Gret
Josh’s joke was much funnier when he told it. The delivery was everything. But, the sentiment struck a cord with me. Because I also put the cap back on before I throw away an empty bottle. I also can’t throw away a broken string or rope if it has a knot in it.
Even if I know the string will never be used again, that it really is trash, I’ll still go through the trouble of untying the knots and working out the kinks.
Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender’s Game, wrote another series called “The Alvin Maker” series. It was a historical fantasy novel loosely based in nineteenth Century America and inspired by the life of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church. Alvin was a “Maker.” He created things. And his nemesis was something called the Unmaker. The Unmaker did just that. It destroyed whatever it touched – things were “unmade.”
Whenever Alvin felt the influence of the Unmaker (patterned after the Devil, of course) he had to make something, even a simple twisting of grass into a design was enough to keep the Unmaker at bay. He just didn’t feel right otherwise.
I’ve thought about those stories as I’ve considered a my fascination with untied knots in rope and strings. I just don’t feel right leaving them knotted. I have no idea why not. I’m not that introspective.
My childhood was a lot like a knotted rope. It didn’t go in a straight line. At least not often. Up until I was 11 I’d never lived in one location longer than a year – only once. I wonder if my desire to straighten ropes and strings is related to my early childhood. It makes sense. The parallels are very similar.
I’ve adopted children from all over the world. My family has more adopted kids than birth kids, although I love them all equally. We never set out to save the world. We adopted children because we wanted a bigger family. But, was there some underlying desire to “straighten” even then? I don’t know. As I said, I’m not that introspective.
Many people joke about OCD. And untying tied strings would be something that people might put into that category. I’m not one of those people. I suffer from pretty severe ADD, mild ADHD and and mile PTSD. But, I have family that suffers bipolar, clinical depression, fibromyalgia, and various other issues. OCD, or any health issue is nothing to joke about.
So, I’m left with the realization that I don’t have any idea where my un-tying habit comes from. Maybe I’m just knot right.
What habits do you have that you can’t explain?
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here
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