Recently, I’ve been thinking about things that define people (clever headline, wasn’t it?). It all started when I read this tidbit about Oliver Peck, Kat Von D’s ex-husband:

“Oliver’s…known to adore Friday the 13th, and always does at least one tattoo of the number 13 each time the calendar tells him to.”

It’s not the most unusual piece of trivia; plenty of people have random things that they claim to love, and that they use, in part, to define themselves. In this case, I imagine that every 13th of the month, all the people in Peck’s tattoo shop roll up to him and make a comment about how it’s his day, and he gets some attention, and that’s that.

But I’ve never quite understood this need to have a “thing.” Is it genuine? Is it just for fun? Or is it a legitimate way to stake a claim on your personality?

Either way, I know people for whom having a thing has backfired. For instance, a friend of mine’s husband once made the mistake of telling people that he was kind of into penguins, and now he gets penguin paraphernalia for every birthday and holiday. It’s an easy out for his family — they never have to wonder what to get him, ever again. But it sucks for him, because not only does he not like penguins that much, he also is never going to get anything remotely cool ever again.

So that’s a case of having a thing being perpetuated by an outside source. But that’s not really what I’m curious about here. My question to you is, do you have a thing? If so, what is it? And why?