Touch and Go
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Welcome Reader to my new blog. Touch and Go.
A little how-to for navigating this crazy world when you find yourself in the sweaty grasp of OCD and its frequent companions Anxiety and Depression. Buckle up. The show has already started.
Let us begin with a brief history of OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has been known throughout times past as one of the finer maladies you can purchase while on a budget and still underage. Many people use their OCD to good advantage, becoming accountants, organizers, neat freaks and reality show hoarders. As far back as the ancient Greeks, you will find OCD practitioners. Pheidon of Argos set up an orderly system of weights and measures, the first on his block to fit OCD into a profitable enterprise. And we are indebted to Seleukos the Idiot for his observation that “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit” after he tried unsuccessfully to delight their leader Pericles with a regrettable twist of irony that involved the obsessive counting of a flock of sheep.
Today OCD is still considered among the preferred diseases at many community gatherings. Only tennis elbow and herpes outrank it in durability and performance. OCD consistently ranks highest as the most comical disease a person can have, which can be attested to by the wide range of TV shows which address it.
It is important to establish an intricate routine which you can perform any number of times throughout the day. This is a cornerstone of OCD and vital to its practice. My leaving-the-house ritual fills this bill. Every time I leave my apartment I am required to touch and count certain things in a specific order. (There are only two occasions where I am permitted to forgo this ritual, and these I will review later.) Upon taking leave, I stand at the bookcase near the entrance to my living room. I take the keys into my left hand. With my right hand, I touch Arnold’s photos, back-and-forth between the two, five times, counting as I touch each time. 1 2 3 4 5, like that. Then I move on to lovingly touch each giraffe figurine (I collect giraffes, don’t judge me.). Currently there are six statues in this grouping. Then I touch the three stones in a circle, then the one stone by itself, moving onto the photo of the World Trade Towers I took from Arnold’s rooftop. You get the idea. Precision and detail are the keys here. Be sure your touching and counting correspond. Resist any sloppiness. Stay attentive to what you are doing to ensure each thing is touched as required and in the proper sequence. Should you get disrupted for any reason and find yourself lost, you must begin again. Many’s the time the cat or phone ringing distracted me, causing me to lose my place. Do not fear. Starting over is no shame whatsoever. In fact, it can serve to make you even more aware.
Only when I am running a quick errand am I allowed to leave the house without doing this ritual. It’s in the By-laws; you can look it up. When you are developing your own intricate routine to perform, don’t be afraid to include either a shorter version of said routine, or another out, just in case. OCD is – and is not – an exact science. Go with the flow, is what I’m saying. Do what feels right. And then do what feels left.