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Stratton Smith

The Mannerism Thief

by Stratton Smith | Oct 18, 2016

Mannerisms. Mannerisms are the little habits we have that make us, us. Recently, I was having a car-lunch with a good friend of mine and we started talking about the mannerisms that we have picked up over the years. We talked about how we laughed, the different phrases we use every day, how/when we roll our eyes and many, many more!

FOR EXAMPLE! I have a series of laughs that I have, none of them my own (call me the Laugh Grabber), but I had some kind of weird attraction or vibe about a certain laugh that someone I had been interacting with. So the way I laugh is the product of several different people that I know. When you’re honest with yourself, you’ll find that you’re a dirty, dirty mannerism thief.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE! I have a habit of saying really, really random phrases when I don’t know what else to say. Two off the top of my head that I can think of would be, “Yeah... white people are the worst,” which is always a hit to say in front of old, white women who take you seriously. In comparison, another would be saying, “Wow, thanks Obama” after someone complains about their professor’s teaching skills. Totally unrelated, but always gets a laugh... except that one time. Weeeeeeeee shouldn’t reflect on that day. Four words, one letter. Kicked. Out. Of. Chuck E. Cheese.

Then I started to think a little deeper (because that’s what cool people do, right?), but I asked myself a question. Are any of us original? Think about it. The things we do and say have been done and said by a thousand people before us. We come into contact with a massive amount of people in our lives and we develop relationships with one another. These little characteristics that we pick up over the years are what makes us into who we are, BUT does that take away from our individuality? What do you guys think?

After pondering like I do (just got a weird visual of myself as “The Thinker” sculpture, completely naked in the middle of a museum), I believe the hundreds of mannerisms and habits we pick up make us into the individual we want so bad to be. We steal people’s traits, but they all add up to this perfect product called, “you!” No other person on the entire planet has every single mannerism and/or habit that you do! How beautiful is that?! Nothing should make you feel like more of an individual than the little things that you say or do in certain situations. You laugh weird? CELEBRATE! You bite your nails when you’re nervous? Flip people off with that jagged, chewed-on nail that they’re making fun of. I think we should all celebrate the little, weird things we do that make us, us... because WE are flippin’ awesome.

Stratton Smith ’17 is an English major, hailing from a small town just east of Indianapolis. Stratton is the captain of the tennis team, co-founder of Academic Probation, Manchester's improv troupe, and Vice President of the Theatre & Society club.