My first experience with anyone other than an infant or toddler doing this was in my eighth grade math class. It's funny, I've forgotten the names of so many of the kids I knew back then, but not one particular boy. This kid's first name sort of rhymed with his last name. Of course, in the interest of kindness and sensitivity, I will use his real first name, and a false last one. I'm sure he probably has a lovely family and grand-kids, none of whom read this blog, but you never know. Dan Monahan was a bright kid, one of the brighter kids in the math class. But he had this appalling habit of mining for gold right in the middle of class. He seemed completely oblivious to the social rules all of the other kids had learned from their parents. Some are more obvious than others. Nobody wants to see you poop, for example. Nor do they want to see you pulling ore out of the nasal mine shaft. Dan was also oblivious, it seems, to the fact that it took about two days for this bunch of eighth-grade wits to give him a new name. Digger Dan Monahan never stopped picking, and he never seemed to notice our cruel response to his odd habit. He was a traveler in his own world. And I have never forgotten his name, although I always preface it with Digger.
Many years later I trained a new teller in the drive-through bank where I worked. "TJ" was a man who really wanted to be a preacher. After some years of us working together, first as tellers, then as operational/support staff, he did get a job as a preacher in Kentucky. I hope that he and his family are happy. TJ had some quirks that my strong, independent mind sometimes had difficulty living with. You see, at his core, he felt that wives, and women in general, were less than, and therefore should be obedient to, their husbands. One day during his training, he made an offhand comment about his wife having the checkbook. Just to make conversation, I commented that it must be a challenge to have two people using the same checkbook, or something to that effect. His response floored me. "Oh, no, my wife is really good about asking for permission before she spends any money." I was speechless. On a side note, Trent and I share an account. We talk about spending money. Neither one asks for permission. It's all about what we can afford, and if we think something is worth it. No, it's not a conference or vote or negotiation. It's about respect.
Oh, I just remembered something TJ said to me once that about made me lose it. I really wanted to hurt him, and I am a non-violent person! Our copier was on the fritz, and I was on my knees on the floor, trying to fix it. TJ walked by me and said, "That's a position you should be in more often." Apparently it was his opinion that I was a horrible sinner, and should spend the rest of my life on my knees begging for forgiveness. Can we say, judgemental, boys and girls?
TJ was also the only adult I have ever known that would start doing The Digger Dan right in the middle of a conversation. It was very disconcerting and quite revolting. Especially when he did it so energetically that he had to run to the restroom with a nosebleed. ICK! And he would dig in his ears and then lick his fingers off. But we, his coworkers, were the ones who were so revolting that being around us terrible people was almost more than he could bear. And I am not down on him because he was/is a man of faith. I respect others' beliefs and ask the same courtesy regarding mine. And that they don't wave that accusing finger in my face. Especially if it might have boogies on it.