Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Word of the Month for August 2017: Habit

A few months back, I turned off my Facebook account because the wankers kept kicking my blog posts.  I hadn't realized how much time I was wasting until I stopped logging onto Facebook.  

Hours of wasted time dinking around looking at stuff that had very little to do with life as we know it.  It was a habit that was relatively easy to break; just turned off my account and never looked back.  Of course, I had to explain to family and a few friends (yes, I have a few) why they couldn't find me any more but, really, that was a habit I didn't mind breaking.

So, what is/are a habit?  According to Black's Law Dictionary, HABIT is defined as:
Something that a person does often, generally with little or no thought.  A person's usual behavior.
Simplex, Inc. v. Diversified Energy Sys., Inc., 847 F.2d 1290, 1293 (7th Cir. 1988) noted that “before a court may admit evidence of habit, the offering party must establish the degree of specificity and frequency of uniform response that ensures more than a mere ‘tendency’ to act in a given manner, but rather, conduct that is ‘semi-automatic’ in nature.”  

So, do you have any semi-automatic habits?  Things that you do without thinking?  Like smoking, picking your nose, biting your fingernails, binge shopping, swearing like a sailor, all work and no play, that sort of thing?  You know, things you do without thinking that cause that cute blond sitting next to you turn away because you just grossed her out?

Thing is, some habits can actually save your life.  Take, for example, the guy who came into my library the other day. Seems he was an alcoholic by trade.  Typically not the job description you want on your resume but I guess some people set low goals.

Anyway, guy had been charged with California Penal Code 245(a)(1).  Seems guy had been accused of attacking a person a person with a knife a few weeks before.  Problem was, guy couldn't remember attacking anyone on the night in question (what with being drunk most of the time).  In fact, there was one bit of testimony that really got guy thinking: the victim had said that guy attacked him at 11PM. 

The problem was guy could always be found at his favorite bar at that time and had a number of people who could attest to that fact (including the barkeep).  Guy wanted some information (that he was always at his bar at 11PM every night) about how to get information of his particular habit in front of a judge.

Knowing my collection like I do, I suggested guy take a look at:
and guy was off and running developing a defense as best he could (I mean, it's not easy functioning sober when you're typically a functioning alcoholic).  Turn's out, his habit of getting mindlessly drunk every night at 11PM was a good thing and actually got him off the hook.  Who knew?!

Good thing guy's got habits that help. Heck, good thing he's got a county law Librarian who has mad legal research skills and who knows what can help him when he's down on his luck.