Monday, May 9, 2011

OCD Lite

I am reading a book called Devil in the Details, by Jennifer Traig. It's a light, autobiographical romp through the author's life with a condition called Scrupulosity.

Wikipedia ("The Source!") defines Scrupulosity as a moral or religious form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, wherein sufferers perform ritualistic actions repeatedly to expiate themselves of perceived sins. (Note:  I came up with the word "expiate" all on my own).  For example, in the worst throes of her disease, Ms. Traig would pray for six consecutive hours after sitting on and getting "contaminated by" a couch previously occupied by a friend who, 12 years previously, had eaten a BLT (bacon being forbidden in Judaism).  Or, she might wash her hands in water so hot it left them red and raw as punishment for having coveted her neighbor's Playstation.

You get the picture.

I suspect the author and I could be good friends.  We have two things in common: 1) we're both Jewish and 2) the fact that we are both somewhat pleasantly mentally unhinged.

Long ago I made the vow that I would not use this blog to make fun of people less fortunate than I am (unless they are better looking or more successful than me), but I don't think we can consider someone whose roman a clef has been favorably reviewed in the New York Times lacking in the "fortunate" column.  Aside from that, I can - and do!  over and over again in these virtual pages - make fun of myself, which I am going to do right now because I too suffer from a mild form of Obsessive Compulsive Order - what I call OCD Lite.

How does OCD Lite manifest itself in my life?  Let me count (literally count) the ways:

  1. I favor odd counts of items over even counts and if I am forced to split the items into two groups, the odd count needs to go on the left hand side.  For example, if I have the choice of five or six M&Ms, I would choose the five, and put three in my left hand and two in my right.  If I wanted to "odd out" the score, I would add a seventh.  Which means four in my left and three in my right, which is not comfortable for me, so I go up to nine and then I'm happy again, with five in my left and four in my right.  Got it?  Good.  (And if you think this is just an excuse for demanding more M&Ms, you're right).
  2. I can't sleep if the closet door is open even a little crack.  My fear is that the dust bunnies will float out, settle on my face and start reproducing in my nostrils.  Sort of like Watership Down, only with me as the victim.
  3. At night, my shoes need to be placed just so at the side of my bed, left on the left (here we go again), right on the right, toes pointed slightly inward.  Because if they're not, we'll have Sarah Palin as President and Donald Trump as her Veep and 2012 will indeed have lived up to its name.
That last is a lot of responsibility, even for me, but I'm confident I can handle it. Particularly with five bags of M&Ms beside me, on my left, and four on my right, keeping the world safe from harm.


  1. Well at least now we'll know who to blame for Palin or Trump! As to M&Ms I prefer them in my mouth : D

  2. Now I'll have nightmares about Palin and Trump in office!

  3. I thought we all do those things?!

  4. Closet.Must.Be.Closed when I sleep too! I'm sure whatever is in there needs to stay put while I'm getting my Zzzzz's.