I finally had to look it up.
Look, I'm not a doctor—don't play one on TV, radio or even the occasional podcast.
The nearest I've come to adhering any semblance of the Hippocratic Oath is doing no harm to the avocados I palpate on a weekly basis at Safeway.
But the deal is, those closest to me have batted this term around incessantly over the years. Remember how, years ago an apron-clad employee would use a little gun to shoot price labels onto everything at the grocery store? Yeah, that's my family, but the gun is a Mouth-16, an oral Uzi, and when I peel off the label, the same three letters always stare back at me: OCD.
Such experts they thought they were as they watched me check the door lock three times before leaving the house. Such know-it-alls they became as I pulled my socks up before starting the car. My daughters chastised, ostracized and patronized me for being a profound, chronic weirdo.
Always one to look inward for solutions, I blamed myself and my personal character flaws before telling the little princesses to shut the hell up.
But ultimately, I steered the quest for truth outward, looking up the term on the Mayo Clinic website. This would seem like a credible source for a medical definition, no? As the youngsters might say, "Yo, Pops, that joint sports some swag."
They wouldn't say that.
Anyway, here, according to the Mayo Clinic, is the definition:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). With obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may realize that your obsessions aren't reasonable, and you may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feelings.
Sweet vindication, tastes so smooth with a tart self-righteousness chaser. I've got a freaking medical condition, people. Can't help myself. Bam.
This couldn't have happened at a better time. We're now living in the golden age of the small screen, when we no longer must wait a week to screen the next installment of our favorite program—
No more sitting on pins and needles for a week to see if Fonzie made it safely over the shark. Aay! Whoah! Lame!
No longer are we obliged to endure an entire summer plus an eight-week Screen Writers Guild strike to learn that Kristin, the scheming sister-in-law and mistress of J. R. Ewing, was the perp who popped two caps into his soulless torso.
Yes, if we can manage to steer clear of current offerings, the world is an oyster with a basketball-sized pearl for those of us with OCD.
First it was Mad Men. Laid up after back surgery, I burned through an entire season while bathing in the warm bathwater of prescription opiates. Soon after, Breaking Bad wrestled away the reins of my self-control like Charles Manson with a fistful of LSD and the promise of my own continent after the inevitable apocalyptic race war.
And now it's The Wire. Oh. My. God. Five seasons of awesome pie a la mode. The show has been off the air for seven years but I've never been riveted like this, which is, you know, kind of sick.
Formerly, I would post to this forum at least twice a week in a minimal effort to keep up the old writing chops. But since I've been mainlining this incredibly well-written and -performed drama, executed by a an ensemble of artists I've not before nor since viewed, I'm in danger of acquiring freaking bed sores.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a medical condition that can strike anyone at any time. Ever wonder why it took the cardinals so long to elect a new pope, why black smoke kept spewing from the Vatican chimney?
They hadn't finished season two of Downton Abbey.