OK so, you all know I’m not really an expert on… well, anything. So this is just sort of a crazy, out there idea I have and we’ll see what you think.
You know how all men have nipples? Probably because if men are born with nipples they don’t need, that doesn’t hurt anything, but if any women were born without nipples, they most likely had no way of feeding their newborn babies?
Well, I was thinking the other day that there might be a similar evolutionary explanation for tics. As annoying as tics can be (for us who have them and for our friends and loved ones), and downright miserable and heartbreaking even for some, imagine if there were people born who did not have the urge to blink or breathe. These body actions are somewhat voluntary but also somewhat automatic, much like tics. Try not to blink and the same thing happens when I try not to tic — you will either get distracted and accidentally do it, or become so uncomfortable that you must eventually do it. Certain automatic body functions are very, very important. So maybe we’ve evolved to have tics because the simple fact is, if some people did not tend to have tics, the trend could have gone the opposite way and there would be people born who did not feel the urge to do things their body really needed them to do. If that happened, those people would have died. Maybe it did happen, and they did die — or it happened to animals long before humans evolved. Either way, I can’t help but wonder, and also not feel so strange or unusual for having tics when they’re really just an exaggerated normal feature of being human. I would rather feel like gasping every five minutes if it means preserving the same neurological mechanisms that mean I don’t forget to blink.