Afew weeks ago I confessed that I'm an ENTJ. At least that's what I score on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the personality test beloved by human resources types, especially in Washington.
Readers shared their own observations. Mike Lauderdale of Richmond said that when he's asked his MBTI type, he always replies, "ESPN."
"The men eventually get it," Mike wrote. "The women rarely do. Try it sometime."
I don't have cable, I'm afraid. In any case, I think I'm more likely to be an IMDB.
Mike Creveling of La Plata said that 30 years ago, he developed his own method of categorizing personalities. He calls it the Howard-Fine Index of Personality Development, in honor of Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine and Dr. Howard, aka the Three Stooges.
While the Myers-Briggs indicator uses four pairs of letters -- E or I, S or N, T or F, J or P -- Mike's system uses three letters:
M is for head Stooge Moe Howard. Characteristics, said Mike, include "domineering, bossy and decisive."
L is for the frizzy-haired Larry Fine: "intellectual (even played the violin!) ."
C is for the large, bald Curly Howard: "sociable, lovable, humorous and always the center of attention."
Mike, a high school biology teacher, said he informally scores students and faculty members according to the Howard-Fine Index, arranging letters based on the distribution of various characteristics.
"A very outgoing person, a class clown for instance, would start with a 'C' for Curly," Mike said. "If their leadership ability was strong, but academics weak, they'd become a 'CML.' A by-the-book, studious, humorless person would be an 'LMC.'"
Mike admits that occasionally someone is so out of the ordinary that he or she must be scored as an "S," for Shemp, "the Stooge no one liked."
Mike guesses that President Bush would have a high Curly and Moe score and perhaps be lacking in Larry. "But I bet he's a Stooges fan!" he said.
Vice President Cheney is "obviously a strong Moe and has good Larry skills, but is extremely weak in his Curly area."
Mike considers himself a CLM: funny, smart, but a poor decision maker. His wife, on the other hand, is extremely strong in the Moe and Larry region and not too shabby in her Curly skills.
"I don't know why she puts up with me," Mike said.
Perhaps you make her laugh. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
Mike taught for 30 years in Prince George's County. Now he teaches in Charles. It's safe to say that some of his students haven't ever heard of the Three Stooges.
Our ability to make connections by using common metaphors is constantly changing, as a new generation comes up behind us. Mike said he once had occasion to mention an anvil in class. A lot of kids had no idea what an anvil is.
"So I said, 'You know that thing that the Road Runner drops on Coyote?' Then they got it."
Out of the Mist
I was riding the Metro home on a rainy evening last week, my right hand wrapped around the silver pole and my body swaying gently as the train rocked along. I didn't have anything to read, so I scanned my fellow riders. My life is so structured around words -- I spend all day staring at them -- that I always get a little nervous when I don't have them in front of my eyes.
Some people were reading The Washington Post or one of those free newspapers. A young woman had "A Tale of Two Cities" in paperback. A lady near me was looking at a real estate magazine, its glossy pages filled with the promise of new houses. I swiveled and saw a man engrossed in a spreadsheet titled, "National Cemetery Administration." (It always troubles me when I see people doing work on the way home from the office.)
Across from him sat a fiftyish man with glasses and neatly trimmed gray hair. He had on a black raincoat. A briefcase was propped on his lap. He had some sort of document on top of that, various passages picked out with pink highlighter. More work, I thought. Some odious memorandum from the GAO or the GSA or the USPTO.
The rain misted the rail car's windows, turning the landscape outside into an impressionistic wash of colors.
I looked more closely at the highlighted document, which the gentleman paged through deliberately. It was something about Scotland. The word "Tommy" was always highlighted. Tommy?
Then I saw this printed at the top of each page: " 'Brigadoon' Prompt Book." The man was learning his lines for a musical. Break a leg.
One Flu, Over the Cuckoo's Nest
When My Lovely Wife read my column Tuesday about our New York City trip, she predicted that I would get grief for my crack about egg creams and how I was afraid to have one, lest I catch bird flu.
Does she always have to be right?
Several readers pointed out that you can't catch avian influenza from an egg cream, because there are no eggs in it. Next thing you know, somebody will tell me there's no bunny in Welsh rabbit.
In other words, I was joking. Still, I wasn't surprised to learn that florists have noticed nobody wants bird-of-paradise in their flower arrangements anymore. Too scared of the bird flu.
Make your own lame jokes, or chime in on anything else, during my weekly online chat, today at 1 p.m. Go to www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.