Fanfare for the Common Man: Welcome to my neuroses

  • Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Webster’s Dictionary defines neurosis as a mental or personality disturbance not attributable to any known neurological or organic dysfunction. Sub definitions include neurotic or obsessive compulsive behavior.
This got me to thinking, obsessively and compulsively.
Webster’s also said the terms neurosis and neurotic were no longer used scientifically to diagnose mental illness. That’s nice to know.
I live a solitary lifestyle and because I don’t have anyone immediately nearby with whom to share time and ideas, these ideas and a gaggle of somewhat eccentric idiosyncrasies are left to fester between my ears.
I think about things. I think about things a lot. I think about things too much. That is my basic neurosis.
A couple examples, if I may.
Last week I ate lunch at Subway. There’s nothing wrong with eating lunch at Subway, but lately the consuming public has been assaulted with advertising campaigns. From Subway to pretzel M&Ms, advertisers want us to think about eating.
Well, I do.
From the moment I pulled into the parking lot through ordering my sub, selecting my desired toppings (everything but tomato), watching them make the sandwich, paying the cashier, driving back to the office and through every bite from beginning to the last stray mustard-drenched pickle hiding among the folds of the wax paper wrapper, the stupid Subway jingle played over and over and over again inside my head.
“Five… Five… Five dollar foot longs.”
And then the word, “Februany.”
I about popped out an eyeball.
I lack the oral coordination to say the word “Februany” without biting my tongue, and yes, when I sing a song in my mind, sometimes my mouth moves … which made for an interesting time trying to eat my foot-long sub.
I almost choked a couple of times trying to chew and say, “Februany” at the same time.
Neurotic? Of course.
This next notion crosses my mind more than it doesn’t, and the more I practice sound dental hygiene habits, the more the notion lodges like a stubborn popcorn kernel between my cerebral teeth.
Do you remember the old birthday party prize game of dropping the clothespin into the glass milk jug? With the advent of 3-D video games, dropping clothespins into milk jugs for prizes has lost its allure. Kids don’t play it anymore.
The object of the game was to kneel over the back of a kitchen chair, hold the clothespin to your chin, and attempt to drop it into a gallon-sized glass milk bottle.  
Dropping clothespins into glass milk jugs was no easy task. At 5-and-6 years of age we stunk at dropping clothespins into milk jugs.
These days I recreate that game and practice every time I brush my teeth, and I nail it, almost every spit. I’m deadly with a mouthful of toothpaste and would wager I’d be equally dangerous with a wooden clothespin.
All I need is a glass gallon milk jug.
If I could go back into time armed with the oral coordination skills I have now, I’d rule at birthday parties and clean up on the door prizes.
Disturbing? Oh, just one in long line of disturbing neuroses.  I could go on all day.
Still, I feel kind of sorry for the words neurosis and neurotic behavior as they have been retired from the vernacular of psychological diagnosis. Such behavior is now called a personality disorder.
I find this funny.
I’ve been telling people I’ve been earning a living off my personality disorder for years.

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