A hobby is defined as a regularly undertaken activity that is done for pleasure. It is a pastime or pursuit that is not always done for monetary gain. Webster (only the most quoted fellow in the world, beside Jesus, of course) says that a hobby is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” As I’m sitting here, my brain is trying to convince me that under these definitions sex can be a hobby. I never thought of it that way. My brain needs a counselor. Normal people, however, have hobbies such as woodworking, crochet, Dungeons and Dragons, model building, hiking and terrariums. My hobby is collecting stool samples from famous people and sculpting them into miniature likenesses of the pooper. I promised myself I wouldn’t elaborate about that here because it would hijack the article, and besides, who is interested in a piece of shit like John Travolta? I mean, beside me.
I’d like to introduce you to a few rather unique and factual hobbies that some people engage in. If you know me, you’re aware that my twisted mind could come up with stuff on its own, but I want to keep this legitimate just so you will be able to appreciate the wonderful diversity in the world. Also, instead of trying to ferret out individuals like myself who practice such hobbies that can’t be discussed in Sunday School (believe me, I’ve tried), I’ll stick to those that are slightly less unusual.
Probably the most well-known bizarre hobby is extreme ironing. It originated in Great Britain because, well, we all know they’re stuck on that little island with nothing better to do. It is even considered an extreme sport and performance art. Extreme ironing is the act of actually ironing clothes while engaged in such activities as skydiving, skiing, mountain climbing and while under water. There is even a world championship every year. Last year’s winner was Bjorn Olsson from Gothenburg, Sweden. He was able to iron a pair of trousers while simultaneously bungee jumping, shaving his own head and bottle feeding an infant. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Another hobby I think is rather different is competitive dog grooming. These are people who deliberately embarrass man’s best friend by giving them haircuts to look like pirates, tigers, ninja turtles, pandas and other strange non-doggy things. Insiders call it ‘creative styling.’ Dogs call it ‘ruff.’ You know, it’s bad enough when you make a poor poodle look like it was stuck under a lawn mower, or like it was trimmed by an epileptic, but turning him into The Good Ship Lollypop is taking it just a little too far, don’t you think? A Mr. Herman Finklestein from Hoboken, New Jersey once groomed his chow Bear to look like a flying saucer, and then filled the animal with helium to amuse his neighbors. Bear was last seen hovering over a beef packing plant in Emporia, Kansas.
I have a daughter who is fascinated with cemeteries. Yes, this is actually a hobby, and it’s called Taphophilia, which is not to be confused with necrophilia, or the sexual attraction to dead people. I suppose that could be considered a hobby as well, to necrophiliacs. But there are folks who enjoy hanging out in cemeteries, checking out the headstones, going to famous gravesites such as Graceland where Elvis and his family are buried, doing gravestone rubbings which involve using paper and black chalk to make impressions of the things written on tombstones (my favorite is in Boot Hill cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona: “Here lies Butch / We planted him raw. / He was quick on the trigger / But slow on the draw.”) and other strange grave hunting things. A Mrs. Claudette Bouchard in Lyons, France used to throw Dance of the Dead parties in her family’s cemetery until local officials demanded she leave her deceased relatives underground.
There are so many unusual hobbies out there such as beetle fighting (putting Paul and John in a ring and letting them have at it), duct tape clothing (I refuse to wear a duct tape hat – I want to preserve what little hair I have left), javelin catching (the less I say about that the safer we’ll all be) and noodling (fishing with your hands. Just give me one of those javelins, ok?). Look, anybody can play chess or reenact famous battles with toy soldiers. Try to do something different. You are one-of-a-kind, aren’t you? Who knows? You may be the very first person to turn road kill collecting into a bonafide hobby. I’d come see it, but only if you handle my Johnny Depp crap carving.