Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I think I am a person of few quirks. In fact, my ordinariness bugs me. Nevertheless.....there are a few things I do that most people don't. And as a child I was quite surprised when I found out that everybody doesn't do these kinds of things.

First of all, I have always written backwards - mirror writing, as above. Now I'll be the first one to admit that it's not really beautiful penmanship, but neither do I have to think carefully about which way each line is to be turned to make it backwards. There is absolutely no reason to write backwards: everyone can read it if they can read backwards writing (some can without too much trouble) and some would be smart enough if they thought it was important enough to simply hold it up to a mirror to read. But why would anyone do this? I don't know and most people wouldn't bother. But lots of times when I'm sitting in a talk or a lecture listening to a boring rehash of something I already know (or could say better), I resort to backwards writing. Just to have something more interesting to do. (I can hear you thinking that the speaker MUST be boring to cause me to think this is interesting!)

Being able to write backwards from left to right also held me in good stead when I took a class in Hebrew. The letters just flew out of my hands. My finger-brain connection for backward writing had been already set and I was #1 in the class when it came to writing the Hebrew characters. I earned an F, though, in understanding. I knew the letters and the sounds that went with them. I could write them easily. But I couldn't understand a word that was said to me and was no better at the end of the class than at the beginning, so that was that. Lotta' good that backward writing did for me in that instance.

The second thing I have always done is to spell my name (and everybody else's name) backwards. I grew up sometimes being Barbara Gail Dobbins and at other times I was Arabrab liag Snibbod. After my first marriage I became Arabrab Kcirtapkrik, and most recently (well, for the last 33 years anyway,) I became simply Ybbob Eltit, which is not the most esthetically please variation but does have the attribute of conciseness that the others were lacking. Jerry does not understand the reason for doing this, and he doesn't understand that there IS no reason for it. I have always just done it. I have children whose other selves are Naes, Nire, Nyrb, and Yrrek. (I don't think I ever told them this.) One time Jer and I were at the horse races at Santa Anita and we were discussing who to place our communal $2.00 bet on. We of course didn't handicap horses but chose them sometimes based on their color (we liked grey horses), if they had socks or not (yes on socks), or had a particularly meaningful name. In one race there was a grey horse with socks whose name was Navonod. I immediately recognized the name as Donovan spelled backwards so convinced Jerry that this was the day we were going to win big. As I recall, Navonod should have been named "Beetle-Bomb."

I also have a funny little story about one of my online name of "Snibbod1." When I signed up to go on AOL back in June of 1997, I of course wanted the name "Snibbod," which if you are not used to backward spelling is my maiden name of Dobbins. But lo, someone had beat me to the punch. There already was a Snibbod on AOL, so I became Snibbod1. I do know there is a Snibbod2 from New York, so I know there are others who do the backward name thing too. There just aren't a lot of us.

There is one more thing I do differently from most people. I read magazines from back to front. Not only slick magazines but also all the "feature" magazines that come in the newspapers. (I read the newspaper the right way, however.)

I find the most interesting things in the last quarter section. Tidbits of information, little ads with fascinating things in them from businesses that can't yet afford big display ads, columns of things to do, or where to buy featured items, or tiny restaurant ads with coupons attached. If I hadn't read the back pages first from the old Genealogical Helper magazine, I probably never would have seen the little ad that promoted counted cross-stitch charting from old photographs and I'd have missed the joy of making all those sepia-stitched pictures of my uncles and my sis and me when we were little tots. And especially the one of my mother when she was a young Flapper in the late 1920s.

Although I can sit down and read a 600 page book without batting an eye, I have trouble reading a magazine straight through. Usually I give it a cursory glance and then consign it to the "finished" pile, which is why I start at the back. If I'm going to lose interest, I want to reap the good stuff first before that happens. I think I probably do not get my money's worth out of magazines, but I am always satisfied with what I find.

Are all these things unusual quirks? I think probably so. But as long as it isn't hurting anybody and as long as my family and friends know I'm not totally crazy, I intend to continue with them. I wonder if you all have any quirks that you don't usually speak about?

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