10 Random Bits of Specific Advice From An Obsessive-Compulsive, Detail-Oriented Perfectionist Who Is Also A Good Person

What’s the occasion for this list, you ask? First rule of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: LIST MAKING NEEDS NO SPECIAL OCCASION. (Wait. I don’t know if “list making” is a portmanteau or two separate words that require a hyphen.) … (Okay, I just looked it up. It is two words, not hyphenated. I guessed right! Now I can move on to the list.)

1. Avoid word repetition when possible.

There are more than a quarter of a million words in the English language, and it pains me when people keep using the same few over and over. It’s why I found writing papers in college loathsome. I don’t know how many variations of “therefore” I exhausted before I was forced into redundancy with another “therefore.” I considered quitting school over this, but then I realized my story would be: “Therefore, she didn’t get her degree.”

2. Read people’s emotional states like the brilliant autistic savant you are.

It’s important to know what people are feeling, so you can act accordingly. I can decipher between several variations of cheerful, even more if I’m paranoid. In order, they are: sinisterly cheerful, calculatingly cheerful, cheerful level slightly inappropriate to the situation, and standard cheerful. The other emotion I can cleverly detect is: staring.

3. It’s okay to be ignorant about something in front of others.

I went into Tiffany & Co., and after inquiring about a canary diamond there, the employee told me that no such thing exists. Standing in the middle of the world’s most famous jeweler having asked a very stupid question made me feel like a complete rube, but I figured I was now in possession of a fact that not many people had. So I still kind of won that day.

4. One needn’t be good at math to be attracted to numbers.

I like whole, round numbers, preferably multiples of ten, because they are inherently relaxing, stable, and bubbly. Also, I have synesthesia, so certain numbers taste like a fine Kobe steak. I like prime number too. I’m just grateful I don’t live in a society whose number base is 3… or worse still, 6. And this has not a whit to do with math, so stop calling me a math wizard.

5. Over-reliance on technology will wither your brain.

This isn’t a principle; it’s just good advice for anyone who cares deeply about their noodle. Although I can spend hours Google mapping a walking route for maximum sun exposure on a remote path that winds around three city lakes, I shouldn’t be relying too much on a play-by-play interactive Garmin in my car to get from grocery store to tennis court. Personally, I believe that high school students need to take a course called “New York City Navigation,” where they get dropped in the middle of the Flatiron District blindfolded and without a smartphone and must get to 110th Street and 5th Avenue, relying only on their keen senses of smell and touch.

6. Special talents, often nameless and largely ignored, are hidden everywhere and everyone has a few, whether they know it or not.

I could sniff a scent on a towel that has been on a person and pinpoint the exact body part from whence it came. I’m not proud of this, nor would I enjoy it. Though it’s not marketable or pragmatic, distinguishing foot odor from cranium sweat is technically a talent. My point? Give yourself some credit, and cut yourself some slack.

7. Your belief system should take no holidays.

A few years back, I left a relative’s wedding in the middle of the ceremony because I heard the Southern Baptist minister talk about the wife obeying her husband and I was not in the mood to listen to that kind of shit. I caught hell for the next five years from anyone who was there and saw me storm out. Was it worth it? Yes. Now if I go to a wedding of indeterminable denomination, I sit in the last pew row so that I can leave quickly and quietly if I hear Word One about dudes being more kick-ass than chicks. I don’t compromise my morals to make other people happy.

8. Do not live every day like it’s your last.

That’s weird. If you did this in the most literal sense of the phrase, you’d spend all your time in a convalescent home breathing your signature death rattle. I say, live every day like you’re healthy and in your prime.

9. Take advantage of drunk people.

I don’t mean sexually. For instance, I was at a party, and I cornered a drunk dentist and wouldn’t let him go until he revealed one secret that the dental industry was withholding from the common man. He paused, frantically searching for something – anything – to say. Finally, he told me to wait at least 40 minutes to brush or floss after a meal because that’s how long it takes the digestive enzymes to leave your saliva, which would otherwise ruin your enamel. I thanked him and let him go. Let that be a lesson, frat boys, on how it’s really done.

10. Stop Googling images of Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito’s wife to see if you’re hotter than her so you can determine if you have a shot in hell of bagging Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito should they ever divorce.

This is wrong. You’re just morally corrupting yourself. Don’t do this. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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