Let’s Talk About Bad Habits. Mine, But Also Yours.
by Vincent Mars
Everyone has a fair share of bad habits. Often they are minor ones, like biting nails or keeping socks on for more than a week. But sometimes they are problematic, like smoking, drinking, or shoplifting. And then there are those unfortunate souls, usually writers, who have horrendous bad habits, like throwing first drafts to the trash immediately after writing them, or procrastinating while writing their novel.
The environment and the company one is in certainly encourages bad habits. A lousy job, rowdy friends, preposterous relatives, grief, can all foster bad habits.
I have some bad habits myself. I wash my hands a dozen times a day; I spend an hour at a time in front of the mirror trying a hat and looking at it from all angles and perspectives and thinking whether I am handsome enough for the inky-haired woman, and normally reaching an unfavourable conclusion; I procrastinate all the time, and although I write all day, I sometimes go to bed angry with myself because I feel I did not write enough.
I also have some life-threatening habits, mind you, like not going out in the sunlight, or having a low opinion of my exterior and thus finding all self-development useless and not to be encouraged, which I suppose is why I am a highschool dropout aspiring writer.
Sometimes I also do the same thing over and over, expecting different results, a habit which Einstein called insanity. An unfortunate bundle of atoms I am, I know.
What I have observed is that most people are not aware of their own bad habits, until someone else points them out to them. Mother seems to think that smoking is okay until I tell her that if she keeps smoking a pack a day I estimate that I will become an orphan in less than five years. (My father died when I was eleven, from a bad habit: drinking.) Upon hearing my observation, mother becomes enraged, and then smokes two or three cigars less for a day or two, which doesn’t do her much good, but proves my point.
Living with someone, as in being married, is good for getting rid of most bad habits, I think. That other person can easily spot your bad habits, and you can spot hers (or his), and you can then talk about them together in the morning while having tea and biscuits, without making it sound like criticism, you being lovers and all that. And if arguments do arise, they will probably be resolved in bed.
Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.
Now there’s a question I want to ask you:
Which is the worst habit of yours that you can share with us without blushing?