I got to bed late last night. As in, 3 a.m. as I have for the last two weeks as I grade and comment like a mad woman. As I went to bed, I did the same thing I do every night: I closed the curtains on our backdoor. Why? So anyone who sneaks into our backyard won’t be able to see in. Suddenly, I was channeling Sheldon Cooper, explaining that if anyone was going to try to kill me and rob the world of my greatness, I should at least help humanity out and make it slightly more difficult to locate me.
I realized as soon as I did it that the logic was faulty. I’d been in the living room in full view for hours while grading. I mean, if someone was stalking our place, they would creep in as they see me on the couch, trapped by a laptop and only the screen door blocking access. Why break a sliding door if you don’t have to? Is there such thing as a polite serial killer? Doesn’t that kind of conflict with the job description?
We all have habits that make use feel better and probably don’t do anything to actually help at all. I started ticking off a list of the stuff that I do like that, and why. It always comes down to a study or a statistic.
1. I used to sleep only in my knickers, and saw a research study showing that most stalkers/fetish murderers consider seeing a woman sleeping naked as encouragement. They might hunt possible victims, choosing in part by what they see as an invitation. Now I wear some sort of pajamas.
2. I use the first or second stall in any public bathroom, as studies have shown that they have the least amount of bacteria, lice, etc, within since people tend to use the stalls near the back.
3. I also hide our knives in a drawer instead of on the magnetic knife strip, because research has also shown that people who break into your house for a burglary are less likely to commit violence if they cannot easily find a weapon.
4. I shake out my shoes before putting them on, because brown recluse spiders are more likely to hide there and in your jackets than almost anywhere else in your house. Except in your bed. They love bedsheets. So I tend to check all of those places. But that’s just good sense. Those bastards can rot your flesh off.
5. I keep any shopping bags or extra items in my car in the trunk and my change hidden, as you are more likely to have your car broken into if there is visual incentive, even if it is a dollar in change.
6. I use hand sanitizer after using a lab keyboard because a scientific journal I read found most keyboards had traces of ecoli and saliva on them.
7. If someone held me at gun point and told me to get in the van, I wouldn’t. You have a very high chance of getting raped or killed if you do, around 80 percent. I’d run in a zigzag pattern while screaming at the top of my head, because it’s harder to shoot someone if you don’t have a singular focal point. Also, you have a much smaller chance of them actually firing on you.
8. The only reason I wear any makeup at all (it’s quite minimal as it is) is because studies have shown, sadly, that people who look attractive are also seen as more intelligent. Since I’m a professor, I figure whatever edge I can get helps. But I secretly envy my peers who wear tees and jeans every day.
9. I also don’t take vitamins anymore because many scientific journals have proven that the acid in your stomach destroys 98 percent of the nutrients before you even have a chance of absorbing them.
10. I keep a cap on my toothbrush, and store it in a cabinet. I’ve also harped at my husband until he, too, closes the lid before he flushes. This is all due to studies that have proven fecal matter and urine crystals can float in the air during a toilet flush and travel over 30 feet, landing on all sorts of objects. But wet toothbrushes trapped those particles more often. Oh, and over 70 percent of the dust in your house is dead skin cells, so that landing on a wet toothbrush is also pretty disgusting.
And then I realized: oh god, it’s not a joke. I really AM Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.