For the Love of Neurotics

Essay

by Daniel Thomas Moran

I MIGHT MAKE A COMPETENT ARGUMENT that in a world of neurotics, I am not one of them. The bitter fact is, that I can get a little neurotic about being accused of being neurotic. But at this point I am prepared to admit it. I am, perhaps, a little neurotic. Not major-ly neurotic, mind you, I know the difference. Really neurotic people can make you crazy. We all know people like that, people who have to have complete control over everything and who insist that the world does not revolve around the sun but rather around them. You can be around people who are a little neurotic. But being around real neurotics is a torment and can make you think of either murder or suicide.

So now I feel less anxious to have confessed it, and I am hopeful that it might give me some small amount of license to act from a position in the universe that, in some small way has me, sometimes, at the center. I am also feeling somewhat liberated to be able to actually tell you some of the things the rest of you have been doing which I find difficult to take at times. I mean, I don't expect you all to change just for my benefit, but perhaps even the tossing of pebbles into still water has its rippling effect, and if some of you see yourselves and do make the attempt to change, it would be all right by me. We might as well start with people who throw pebbles into still water. If I wanted to see ripples on water, I would go to the ocean. People who toss pebbles into ponds and the like just cannot leave well enough alone, can they? The same goes for people who have to make noise in quiet places. The ways people do this are incalculable, but the next time you are someplace and hear silence, or at least quiet, try to think that other people came to that place because they like that sort of environment. Birds are allowed to make noise, as are waves and breezes and raindrops. Those kinds of things add to the quiet. Subwoofers and motorcycles and overexuberant children do not. And while we are on the subject of children let me say that all those cute and adorable things that children do in public are really annoying to everyone who is not the parent of those children. Singing and shrieking and climbing and running about, pointing out everything that goes by and asking a million questions are things which are endearing to the parents of little geniuses like that, but not to anyone else. This is true at all times but especially in business class on airplanes, in doctors' waiting rooms, and in restaurants where the entrees start at $30 and go up from there. Boy, that is a very big subject, I know, but I had to start somewhere even if it meant that every parent reading this will get their noses out of joint and stop reading immediately. I hope they don’t react like that. There are likely other things they do which trouble me and they really should continue to pay attention.

It would be impossible for me to cover everything in less than three volumes and I know that. Perhaps, for expediency sake, some smaller things are in order, and they might reflect more on my own personal neuroses, but they are important to me and that, of course is why I am an admitted neurotic. First, to all you men who wear adjustable baseball caps with that little band in the back. Your hair is caught in the hole and sticking out like a ducks tail. It looks silly. If you sit the cap on your head instead of dragging it across the back of your head when you put it on it won’t happen. Ever. While we are on that stuff sticking out subject, please everyone, either cut off the tag in the neck of your shirt or plug it in so it doesn’t stand up against the back of your neck. God do I hate that. One time I reached up in a movie and fixed one of these errant tags on an otherwise pleasant looking woman and boy did I get slapped. I realize I had it coming, but really, if it were possible for us to be slapped by every person we encountered who got on our nerves, we’d all be red-faced forever and that would not be good. How about a little tolerance?

Dear ladies who wear lots of perfume. Many of us hate the smell of perfume and it even makes some of us sneeze in fits. Why is it even necessary? This is not The Middle Ages. We all bath these days, don’t we? It also doesn’t attract men, it just makes our sinuses scream. Do you really want a man who falls in love with the essence of you or something bottled in a lab in New Jersey? A lot of things might entice and even lead to a really wonderful relationship. Having the scent of 10,000 lilacs wafting off of you is not one of them.

A paragraph ago I made reference to movies, and I would like to go back there again for a minute. People who feel it necessary to give a running commentary on the movie itself, loud enough for me to hear, just knock it off. If I wanted that sort of erudite expatiation I would save the ten bucks and wait for the Director's Cut to come out on DVD. Your opinions are not very provocative, especially to the person you came to the movie with, who is always apparently hard of hearing. And stop eating your popcorn with your mouth open. And for godsake don't tap your foot on the back of my seat, not even once.

To all of you who insist that I have a good day. Don't bother. Sometimes I want to have a really awful day just for balance and quite honestly, nothing ruins a really lovely day for me more than someone telling me to have a nice day. Hello is good enough and when that doesn't work Goodbye is a sure thing. Don't ask me how I am either. You don’t care and I don’t care to tell you how I am anyway. If you really want to hear my troubles I will introduce you to my ex-wife or have you listen to the tapes of George Bush's last eight State of the Union addresses. Beyond that, I am being held captive on a planet which is far from perfect, and it is really trying my patience. If you think it's easy being mildly neurotic, try walking a mile in my shoes. On second thought, I am somewhat repulsed by even the thought of that especially you Don Juans who think women are turned on by men who wear shoes without socks. Stay out of my shoes. I have enough on my mind already.

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