Idiosyncrasy, Eccentricity or Strange Affliction?

Aside from licensed medical professionals, who among us is qualified to determine which label to pin on some one? What distinguishes a strange affliction from an idiosyncrasy, abnormality or eccentricity?

A reader asked Miss Manners what one should do with the remaining milk in the bottom of the cereal bowl when breakfasting with companions. Who Cares? Tiptoe into the kitchen, stand over the kitchen sink, tilt the bowl, slurp the milk and be done with it. Maybe this person had a strange affliction about cereal.

Leonardo da Vinci could have appeared on an episode of Strange Afflictions. He wrote backwards with his left hand. There was no mention of his having an issue with leftover milk.

I do not have a clue as to what qualifies as having a strange affliction. Maybe I have a skewed belief system. Idiosyncrasies are harmless quirks like refusing to drink your morning coffee out of anything but your special cup. Eccentric behavior is requiring a new bar of soap for each use. Abnormal behavior is tricky. Offhand I’d say people who refuse to eat chocolate are abnormal.

Most of us believe strange afflictions, abnormal and eccentric behavior applies to the other person, but never ourselves. If it’s our nutty little oddity, we define it as a quirk or an indicator of our uniqueness.

In the interest of being impartial, I am going to hereby own my idiosyncrasy. I eat my food according to food groups i.e. meat first, followed by veggies, followed by carbs. If anyone in casting for Strange Afflictions is reading this, I’m available and cry on cue.

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