By Curtis K. Shelburne
Scientists have discovered, I’m told, a gene for “fidgeting.” I guess I’ve got it.
When sitting down with your legs crossed, do you find your in-the-air foot speed-wiggling for no apparent reason?
Has your spouse surprised you by suddenly erupting in your presence, “Will you STOP clicking that blasted pen!”? You didn’t realize you’d committed any crime — well, at least, not that one — but there you were, guilty as sin, nailed for incessantly and quite unconsciously rapid-fire firing off a pen-clicking mechanism.
Answer yes to those questions and, yes, you, too, carry the fidgeting gene.
I suppose fidgeters should form a victims’ group. Our society loves victims. There could be money in this. Surely our fidgeting is not our own fault. Who to sue?
If you’re a fidgeter, I guess you could try to overcome genetics by cutting down on your coffee intake. I’ve thought about cutting back to one pot. But that approach seems fraught with danger. I can’t imagine how anyone could expect to write anything coherent or, for that matter, think two logical thoughts in a row, without the beneficent aid of a cup or a few of dark-roasted brew.
How many sermons have crashed on take-off even at the composition stage, long before they reached the pulpit, because the reckless sermonizer was short of coffee? How many columns and essays have decomposed even as they were being composed, simply because the writer was so undisciplined and lax in his craft, so criminally careless with the precious words entrusted to his care, that he tried, without the aid of coffee, to send them down the runway and expect them to fly?
Besides that, the list of the health benefits of coffee-drinking just keep piling up. Google it. (By the way, did you notice that butter has now been pardoned by the food police? Cheesecake will surely be next!)
Ah, but how to deal with fidgeting?
I’m told that some fidgeters, trying to bravely bear up under the weight of their affliction, enter the ministry. That way they rarely have to sit through an entire sermon.
For about two nanoseconds, I thought I had the answer: “Fidgeters Anonymous.” But that’ll never work. Not the anonymous part. Everyone around us already knows who we are.
But it would be a great club! (We could meet at Starbucks.) I couldn’t prove it, but I’ll betcha dollars to java-dunked donuts that both the Apostles Peter (jumping out of a boat to water-walk) and Paul (rapid-fire, take-no-prisoners prose) would be honored posthumous members.
God created, and loves, both fidgeters and non-fidgeters. Both groups have inherent strengths and weaknesses. But in the not-so-anonymous Fidgeters’ Club, we probably should post prominently a framed copy of God’s Fourth Commandment. The Almighty seems to think we all need to take some time to be still.
Fidgeters need to, even if it’s genetically difficult. And non-fidgeters desperately deserve a break from fidgeters.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at