The Judy Effect

At least once in any lifetime we'll meet someone who instantaneously irritates every nerve in our bodies. For me it was the guy who sat behind me in college. I think it was a history class, but I don't really remember. I only recall the way he'd wiggle his glasses back into place without use of his hands, and his habit of wearing crew neck sweaters with no shirt (collared or otherwise) underneath, and the anal precision he'd use when asking me out again, and again, and again. The mere sight of him made my skin crawl with a thousand tiny spiders. The sound of his voice made me ... ok, I'll stop there. I'm feeling ill.

It was my husband who invented the term for this phenomenon: The Judy Effect. Thus named because the person who made his skin crawl was (is still, I'm assuming) named Judy. Sadly, unlike my "Judy", Dr. D's Judy was someone we had to deal with frequently. I saw mine only a few times after college, while Dr. D had to endure his at frequent intervals. I didn't know Judy had the Judy Effect on my husband at first. When Judy stopped by I'd grow irritated with him. "Why are you hiding out in the kitchen? Aren't the dishes in the dishwasher yet - wait, why are you washing them all by hand?" or "Can't you find a better time to reorganize the cupboards?" and "Wait a second bub, you're taking dishes out of the cupboards to wash?"

Then he told me. And we discovered the Judy Effect. I bring it up only because someone had the Judy Effect on me today. A comment on a post on Facebook. A know-it-all crew-neck-sweater-without-a-shirt sort of comment that instantly made my skin go prickly with those pesky spiders. One might say, "That's what you get for using Facebook," and they'd be right. And the person who posted, "Actually, fortune cookies are Japanese American not Chinese" was also right. But after hours of compiling funny sayings, printing them, cutting them out, wrestling with homemade fortune cookie dough to make a plate of crispy golden fortune cookies as a very special treat to celebrate finishing a unit study on China ... well, let's just say the information, while accurate, was not appreciated.

I later gathered my children and told them, "Hey, did you guys know that fortune cookies aren't actually Chinese?"

They stared at me a moment, then, "Yeah, Mom. They were invented by some Japanese immigrants in, like, California." Apparently that factoid was in one of the books I forgot I'd had them read. The next question was theirs. "So we get fortune cookies again when we're studying Japan, right?"