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Number Obsession and You (or Me)

7 November 2011

I’m more than a little number obsessed. I’ve known this for years now, but the conversation came up recently when a friend and I were waiting in line for a comedy show in Las Vegas. We were watching an older guy play the slots, and somehow (probably because the guy was playing four credits at a time), the idea of good versus bad numbers came up.

My friend was shaking his head at the guy playing four credits at once, not because it was too much money, but because it was an even number. He confessed to me that he had an irrational dislike of even numbers. I told him that I dislike low, non-prime numbers, so this guy playing four credits at once bothered me in a very minor way, as well.

I do have a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but I’m what you’d call high-functioning. I check the door handle (three times, sometimes five) before I leave the house. Lights that are left on when no one is in the room make me irrationally paranoid, but to a very low level. If I order, say, buffalo wings at a restaurant, I’m minority disturbed if I get eight, put perfectly happy if I get seven.

Of course, my number obsession translates into much more than low primes. I check the Amazon ranking for 47 Echo several times a day (most likely 13 times), not because I’m thinking “sell more, dammit!” — more just because if I don’t check the number, some part of me gets a little panicky. I always need to know what time it is, so I look like I’m always checking my phone. I know that my iPod clock is seven minutes faster than the clock on my phone, though that doesn’t so much bother me (possibly because seven is prime).

What about you, folks? Even those of you who don’t have OCD are probably irrationally obsessed with something. What is it? How does it affect your daily life? Do you see it as a strength or a weakness?

One Comment leave one →
  1. 8 November 2011 0951

    When I’m running the machinery at work, I double and triple punch the buttons to make sure the machine door is closed, and timers reset before pushing start.

    I’m sure there are other things.

    One time, we had an overnight church trip to this recreation facility. Basketball courts, Batting cages, Air-hockey, Arcade, etc. Well, the airhockey tables or the carpet in the arcade, or SOMETHING made so much static electricity that we were all getting shocked every time we put quarters in the machines. Like, visible arcing elecricity minishocks. The next day, I was at my grandmother’s and went to turn a light on (or off) and my hand jumped back before I ever touched the switch–I was expecting to get a painful shock! I dunno, our bodies do weird things, and we can develop reflexes almost as if we’re programmed sometimes.

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