Saturday, October 30, 2010

Inspiration and a Half

Lately, and I'm sure this has been obvious to some people, a lot of the inspiration for my random posts has come from reading the blog Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.  HaaH is the best random shit blog on the internet.

It's been a bit of a revelation reading some of the insane ramblings of Ms. Brosh.  Mainly because it's causing me to realize, "holy shit, other people are insane too!"  I was never diagnosed with ADHD or anything formal as a child, but I did, and do have fairly severe OCD.

Some of you have seen the movie "Matchstick Men," and recall Nicolas Cage's character who does pretty much everything three times.  That was me from the ages of around seven or eight probably to around seventeen or eighteen.

Like many compulsive people, my lucky number was three, and I of course felt that if I did things three times then they would be better.  Or I wouldn't die a horrible death after being run down and gored by cheetahs.  Of course, being a math genius from an early age, I quickly deduced that if three was good, then three times three would be even better.  And three to the third power...times three would be extra awesome!

I don't know where the line is drawn between levels of compulsion, but even my eight or nine year old self deduced that doing things eighty-one times would be really fucking stupid.  Instead I would do things nine times, but instead of saying the number nine as I counted them off, I would say the number one.  7...8...1.  Get it?

This was incorporated into virtually everything I did, from brushing teeth to turning off lights.  If something was too difficult, or too awkward to do nine times, I would pause and count to nine before I did it.  In baseball, I had a series of compulsions.  I would bring nine water bottles to every game.  I would bring lucky pennies (year 1989 of course) and put them in my shoes.  I would draw three crosses in the dirt so that Invisible Man in the Sky would protect me from catching a ball in the face and dying.

The disconnect in a compulsive person's mind is that horrible things will happen if you do not complete your little rituals, or that performing little rituals can encourage good things to happen.  Like certain sports teams winning.  So I would often find myself cleaning and putting things away and doing other positive things so I could offset the (apparently negative) wish that the 49ers would beat the goddamn Raiders or something like that.

So what stopped me?  In short, living in close proximity to other people and not wanting to be labeled a fucking psycho who was one miscount away from stabbing everyone in a three state radius.

Fun fact, up until right now I thought the tri-state area was New York City, the rest of New York, and New Jersey.  Fail.

First of all, you don't want your college roommate to catch you opening the damn door nine times before you enter the room unless you want a single.  I wouldn't have minded the single, but back then I was still a little caught up in how other people saw me.  Also, the fact that there were so many people around made me feel safe.  Like, an axe murder won't break in and kill me, the forty of us on the floor will straight rush that bastard and beat him to death with beer cans and beanbag chairs!

Slowly my compulsiveness started to subside, especially when I realized how insane it was, and how difficult it made some things.  It's still there, assymetry bugs THE EVER LOVING SHIT OUT OF ME.  I hate it when my DVDs come with that stupid cardboard sleeve thus making them slightly taller and thicker than the rest of my collection.  And every once in a while I find myself debating on how wearing or not wearing my Sabres socks effects their chances of winning on a given night.  (Turns out, not at all!)

Sometimes it can be helpful too, like when I thought that I was a complete failure for not working harder on my writing, so I started writing more.  And when I was done I thought I had more in me that day.  And after that I was worried it wouldn't be enough.  So my novel basically went from 70% done to done in two days due to 60+ pages worth of compulsion.

But still, by and large I don't worry about things anymore.  I detest jinxes, and thinks it's kind of stupid how people think that two completely inane things can be related.  I don't have any pregame rituals before playing hockey, or golf, or bowling, other than to just try and clear my head, and I certainly don't do everything nine times anymore.  Don't do everything nine times anymore.  Don't do everything nine times anymore...Just kidding.

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