For as long as I can remember, I’ve had what I considered to be a tic. Basically what happens is, when I’m doing something that requires somewhat precise motor control to make sure I’ve got things lined up correctly for the next step of the process, just as I’m ready to move on, my hand will twitch and fuck up the alignment.
It happens most often when I’m using a computer mouse. I’ll get the cursor positioned in the right spot on the screen, and then as I press the button, my hand will twitch and I’ll end up clicking on the wrong spot. (I accidentally opened up so many online advertisements in the pre-ad blocker days.) It also happens when using remote controls – sometimes it can take a couple tries before I manage to turn on the TV – or placing one of my books into its proper slot on the shelves. Even putting pen to paper isn’t safe, and the first letter in my handwritten notes often looks a bit wonky.
It doesn’t matter how aware of it I am, or how hard I focus on keeping my hand steady, I can’t prevent the twitch. But I’ve rarely paid it that much mind. It’s not debilitating, has never gotten any worse, and is more a minor annoyance than anything.
So I was quite surprised one day when Ron was watching the show Daily Planet, and there was a story that sounded awfully familiar. Daily Planet is a science-focused news show that Ron used to watch, but I didn’t care for either of the hosts at the time, so I generally ignored it. I was around while it was on, though, and looked up from my book when they did a story on people who suffered from involuntary twitches like mine.
One of the people they interviewed spoke about it affecting his golf game. He’d take his time getting lined up for a putt, and then as soon as he started to swing the club for the actual shot, he’d twitch, negating all his careful preparation. Much like me, he’d be a bit annoyed, but assumed it was related to nerves or a lapse in concentration, shrugged his shoulders, and moved on. Then he was diagnosed and came to this realization, which he shared on the show.
It was not a bad putt. It was a neurological event.
And yes, I said diagnosed. There are lots of conditions that cause muscle twitches, and apparently twitches like mine do have a specific one.
Of course, I was so busy writing down the above quote that I never thought to make note of what that condition is called.
I suppose that information would have been more useful than the quote. Although I guess that depends on one’s definition of useful. After all, in the 20ish years since I wrote it down, my twitches still haven’t gotten any worse. In fact, I experience them less than before, as I’ve long since switched to a laptop, and a track pad doesn’t give me the same trouble a mouse does. So I don’t think knowing the technical term for what they are would provide much value.
Meanwhile, the quote makes me giggle. It does so in its own right – there’s something about the phrases ‘bad putt’ and ‘neurological event’ being used in conjunction with each other that makes me laugh – but also when I suffer a twitch and, “Ooooh, that was a bad putt,” floats across my mind. I even use it as a shorthand, as sometimes a twitch will cause a clunk, and Ron will holler from another room, asking what happened. I’ll tell him, “Nothing, just a bad putt!” and he immediately knows what’s going on.
Yup. Focusing on the quote was definitely the right call.
To see previous posts in my Quotes series, click here.