I get a raft of shit during the holidays, because that’s when my method of eating gets put under the microscope by my family and friends. I really never knew that how I ate was so different, because it’s just what I grew up doing. Evidently, I’m a monster.

My food can’t touch. I’m not talking about burgers and fries resting against one another, I’m talking about foods that when put on a plate, don’t stay within their boundaries. Thanksgiving dinner is a perfect example. I can’t have my stuffing, mashed potates, rice, and green bean casserole mixed all together. That is chaos. Lucky for me, at Thanksgiving there are usually a littany of rolls with which to set up “bread barriers” so that my food doesn’t comingle with one another.

I cannot eat a forkful of more than one item at a time, nor can I have a bite of one thing followed by a bite of another. I eat all my stuffing, and then move on to something else. It’s been pointed out to me that I eat items in order on my plate in a clockwise fashion, starting at 5 o’clock.

I don’t think of myself as an insane person. But I’ve been lead to believe that I’m an insane eater by those I know and love. Yet these people have idiosyncrasies of their own, I just don’t pick them apart to make them cry like they do.

You have them as well, I don’t care who you are. How you load a dishwasher, how your tools are put away, the organization of your closet, or drawers, your cd collection, anything. Everybody has something they do a certain way. And how I eat is mine. I’m pretty laid back, actually. I can eat out of the pan, I share food with people, I can eat off your fork or you can eat off of mine. I don’t even mind if you grab something off my plate without asking, as long as it isn’t my favorite thing and the only one left. I just like a little organization, is all.

Let’s take Perkins, for example. Not everybody has a Perkins in their city. So if it isn’t Perkins for you, it’s Denny’s, or IHOP, or Coco’s, or Tim Horton’s. But breakfast at one of those places is especially stressful for me, because of the nature of most of their meals. All meals come with pancakes. I love pancakes, let’s get that straight right now. But I cannot abide my pancakes on the same plate as my eggs, and bacon, and sausage. If, by some chance, they come on a plate altogether, I will eat everything else first, and the pancakes will wait until last, most specifically the application of the syrup.

There are people out there who live a fully reckless and haphazard life, and pour syrup all over everything on their plate, and an even more psycho bunch who stir it all together. This, to me, is ludicrous. I love to live on the edge as must as the next guy, but breakfast is not the plate to make those type of life-changing decisions.

So mock me if you will. Question me as to why I eat all my fries first before my burger, or how is it possible that I don’t mind eating burritos or salad, when they are foods that are all mixed together (more importantly MEANT to be mixed together.) Nitpick me all you like. And when you are stirring all your shit together, putting ketchup on everything, chewing with your mouth open, and scraping your fork across your plate, or your teeth, I will smile silently and feel sorry for you. Because you, my friend, have some real issues.