A Killer Tic

About a week ago my Level 1 improv class had a show. (Yeah!) It was our first time onstage together at The P.I.T. and we rocked it. It was a lot of fun. Getting up in front of a group of strangers to perform on the spot is not for the faint of heart though. It’s actually pretty damn scary and nerve-racking. However, some people such as myself get a thrill out of it.

One of our classmates had the show filmed and I watched it a few days later to relive the memories and see how it looked. During the second half of the show when my group went onstage, I watched myself listening to my peers as they stepped out in front of the crowd and told stories based off the word “pirate.” I was listening very intently to come up with a premise or an idea for a two-minute scene. I was so caught up in the moment that I didn’t even realize it when I started to fidget with my wedding ring. But there I was, twisting and turning the ring around my finger in a trance-like state like Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings.

Ok, maybe it’s not exactly like that because the ring on my finger is not pure evil and it will not cause the destruction of the entire world. And, unfortunately, it does not make me invisible. Nevertheless, I have developed this uncontrollable urge to twist it around my finger whenever I am nervous or unsure of something. It’s not the first time that I’ve caught myself mindlessly fidgeting with the symbol of eternal love.
In all fairness it’s a relatively benign tic compared to some others I’ve heard of: body slamming, cheek biting, licking subway poles and windows. So I guess I can learn to live with my little habit.

While I came to terms with my own tic I was reminded of an episode of Murder She Wrote. At the end of the show when Jessica was revealing the killer to a group of frizzy-haired, power-pump wearing woman (this was the late 1980’s so that was the style) she mentioned that one of the suspects was always twisting his wedding ring around his finger to indicate that he was a newly wed. Don’t ask me what that had to do with the plot or how that helped find the killer because for the life of me I can’t remember (bonus points for any person who can identify which episode of Murder She Wrote I am referring to). However, that minor detail was of great importance in solving the case.

For the record, I have never killed anyone and don’t plan to in the future. But I suspect that if I do commit a crime, someone might try to use my nervous tic against me. Well the joke is on you J.B. Fletcher, because I’ve been twisting my ring for the past three years.

You can check out my class show here:


About JadedBride

Amy Kraft is a print and radio journalist based in New York. Her work has appeared in publications including Scientific American, Discover, Popular Science, The Week, Psychology Today, and Distillations, a podcast out of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. She is currently working on a book of humor essays. View all posts by JadedBride

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