OCD - A Case History – Self Help in Extreme Cases

Is It Efficacious or Does it Simply Prolong Eventual Rehabilitation?

Did I tell you about my fascination with order and sets and balance?

Oh, did I? Of course I must have.

Did I ever tell you the awful tale of how I lied (manipulated the truth, actually) because it was imperative that I should make up the numbers in a set of Dragon Bread and Butter Knives? Did I? Are you sure?

And how the gods of Balance and Order punished me in the cruellest manner because, as a result, I ended up with thirteen Dragon Bread and Butter Knives? ?

Oh well, I must have… It involved a person at IKEA… name of Denzel… Oh I did tell you, did I?

Well, I didn’t tell you about the mini Ecuadorian Agents of the NHS who…

Did I? Oh! Are you positive? How they stole one of every… Oh dear. I seem to have told you most of this gory tale. You’re sure it wasn’t someone else who…

Well let me see… Did I tell you about the wicked Eastern European?


Then I will start. Are you sitting comfortably?


A place for everything, and everything is in its place.

If you remember, I found myself, through no fault of my own, the owner of a couple of draws stacked with a disparate number of Cutlery and Flatware in the Dragon (IKEA) range.

They were not disparate in quality, size or design; something I adore; they were disparate in their numbers. Where there should have been sets of twelve, there were elevens or thirteen or seventeen (in the case of Dinner Knives), and where there should have been pairs, in one instance there was only one single Butter Knife.

Any sane and rational person would have been horrified by this situation, and I, being a particularly sane and rational individual, was particularly horrified. It is a natural progression.

Imagine being in a well ordered kitchen, knowing that there are, in one cupboard; safely behind its door, on the bottom shelf; eighteen white, 365 Range coffee mugs, standing upside down (or as I prefer to refer to it, “The right way up”); each turned so that the handles are pointing towards the left at a nice angle of 300. The eighteen mugs in rows three deep and six wide.

Above that in equally neat rows; six white 365 Range large Breakfast Cups and white 365 Range large Breakfast Saucers. And beside them: six white 365 Espresso cups, also in neat rows with their handles pointing towards the left at a nice angle of 300.

And above that two IKEA white china containers for vinegar or salad dressing and two large IKEA square flower vases and two small IKEA square flower vases.

Can you see my point? I know that they are there and that is the way things should be. I can open my cupboard doors any time of the day or night (and I’ve done so quite often) and there they are; waiting to greet me. The only time the full compliment is not there, is when they are in the dishwasher… and I can assure you that I arrange them in there as carefully as if they were in the cupboard.

My whole kitchen is a hymn to order… There’s a place for everything, and everything is in its place.


The Legacy of Paulina and the Spanish Speaking Agents Provocateur

 So now you know what absolute shame I experienced when I opened the cutlery drawer, to find the Dragon cutlery and flatware in uneven numbers.  No matter how many times I took them out, counted them and laid them back neatly, I knew that the awful truth could not be escaped… they were uneven in number.  This was an affront to the whole ethos of balance.

I told you about Paulina didn’t I?  I don’t mind telling you again, if you would like… No?

Oh well.  Briefly (allow me this), Paulina left my employment as a cleaning lady (before I realised that she was really a plant, sent to destroy my equilibrium) and for a while I didn’t have a cleaning lady.  I don’t need a cleaning lady to clean the kitchen, because there is nothing I enjoy more than making sure everything is in its… You know!  And it’s fun to count cutlery and china and put them in the dishwasher and take them out and put them away neatly and… In fact, it’s really very necessary. But other parts of the house need to be dusted and mopped and whatever and that isn’t so much fun.  By serendipity (or so I thought) a friend of mine had an acquaintance who was coming to London for work, and didn’t have anywhere to live.  This person was from somewhere in Eastern Europe and my friend maintained that although she was a chef, she would be very useful as a cleaning lady, and could she stay in my spare room?  It seemed a good idea.  I would let her stay and she could be my cleaning lady till she found a more permanent address and that would give me a breathing space after the Dreadful Paulina and her mini Agents Provocateur

Nibble, nibble, nibble. Slurp, slurp, slurp.

 Did I tell you about the mini Spanish speaking Agents Provocateur?  Did I? I did? OK. Then I’ll continue

As soon as I saw her I had misgivings.  There was something that reminded me of the little Spanish speaking agents provocateur.  She wasn’t minute; she was small.  She didn’t speak Spanish; she spoke Polish.  But regardless, she unnerved me somewhat, but I thought I would give her a try… after all this is the EU and we have to be nice to each other.

She may have been small, but I have never seen anybody eat so much.  She lived on coffee and snacks, but she seemed to make it her aim in life to drink all my coffee and use all of my creamer and ladle unlimited spoonsful of my sugar into that coffee.

Nibble, nibble, nibble.  Slurp, slurp, slurp.

And where anyone got the idea that she came from Poland, I do not know.  As far as I know, Poland is in Eastern Europe, and Eastern Europe tends to have a climate a little warmer than the UK in the Summer and a little colder than the UK in the Winter.

She brought an industrial heater into her room, and her room became like a furnace, or the tropics or something even hotter.  Is there anything hotter than the tropics or a furnace?  Yes.  Her room became as hot as a McDonald’s Fruit Pie and she powered her industrial heater at my expense; refusing to pay for the electricity.

So I give you the scene… Every time I came into the kitchen to ponder over my cutlery or flatware; there she would be guzzling coffee and adding another spoon or two of sugar to that coffee.

Every time I passed her on the way to sort and count my flatware and cutlery; there she would be, nibbling, nibbling, slurping, nibbling.

And all night and all day she was in and out of the lavatory (coffee is a stimulant and a diuretic).  Nibble! Slurp! Flush! Slurp! Flush!

She had to go. 

I told her so.


When I discovered what she had done I almost cried out in agony… actually I did cry out in agony; for when I opened the Cutlery drawer on the day after her departure, my eyes took in a field of carnage much worse than that scene in ‘Gone with the Wind’ when Scarlett O’Hara and Doctor Meade walk through the thousands of dead and dying Confederate Soldiers laid out in the open air after the Battle of Atlanta:

For, where there had formally been seventeen Table Knives, there now were an unknown number.

For where there had formally been eleven Table Forks, there now were an unknown number.

For where there had formally been eleven Pudding Spoons (also useful as Soup Spoons), there now were an unknown number.

I felt that not only my drawer, but also I, myself had been raped, pillaged, violated, assaulted.

I sank to the floor, and with my head between my knees, I started to rock.  I’ve always found that, in moments of stress, that is the best position.  I started to rock; gently and rhythmically; rocking and humming in a low comforting way. 

All the Guile of Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

 I was distraught.  I was beginning to feel as if my life was worthless; without form; without order; useless.

For days I would go into the kitchen and open the drawer to take out a knife or a fork or whatever, and I would feel tears springing to my eyes.

But I am made of sterner stuff, and eventually I said to myself, “What would Machiavelli do in a situation such as this; a hideous, almost insurmountable situation like this?”  I like Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.  I never met him, but he had an answer to most things.  And then one magical day, it hit me.  I knew what I would do.  Divide and rule?  No!  Start again?  No!

I had a plan and it was so simple that I almost danced for joy… well, I did skip a little.

I got into my car (and you will marvel at the simplicity of this scheme) and I drove to IKEA.

£14.99 for 24

I walked straight to the cutlery section, walking past the rows and rows of 365 white Coffee Mugs; every one of them, smiling and standing up so pure and white and beautiful; every one of them trying to catch my eye, and smiling in that winning way that they have. But I was on a mission; their little pleas hardly reached my hardened heart, whereas formerly they would have torn it to shreds. I just walked by and gave them a reassuring smile, to let them know that I would return, but later.

At the cutlery section I reached up and grasped a cardboard box. Above the box, and above perhaps a hundred other identical boxes, lying side by side in neat rows, a banner proclaimed:

DRAGON - 24-piece cutlery set

Features & Benefits:


Carl-Gustaf Jahnsson £14.99

Useful Information:

Comprises: Fork, knife, spoon and teaspoon, 6 of each.

Care Instructions:


So I bought the box and brought it home. Of course I did. And I laid the six new Dragon Dinner Knives, the six new Dragon Dinner Forks, the six new Dragon Pudding Spoons (also useful as Soup Spoons) and the six new Dragon Teaspoons in the drawer. And would you believe it of me? (and I think you know me now):I closed the drawer. I closed the drawer and I walked away.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

And believe it or not I have not once been tempted to count the cutlery and the flatware. Of course I lay them in neatly all pointing the same way. And I say good morning to them and make sure they’ve had a comfortable night. But, as yet, I have not counted them.

I’m cured.


Comments 41 comments

Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Well now.. there is indeed a light at the end of your tunnel! I think.. now maybe it's just me, but any cutlery would be thrilled to find themselves in your home. Such a lovely place to live - where as mine are in their cubbyholes, not in any sort of orderly fashion. I think I overheard my sugar spoon chatting with the serving spoons that they were looking to get their passports in order. Wonder where they think they'll go?

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi candie. I wonder if they will get a Visa. The home office is very strict about what appliances enter the country. I live very near the Home Office in Croydon, so ask your spoons if they would like me to put in a word for them, Perhaps we could sponsor them and you could accompany them just in case they didn't travel too well. I'm off to read your hub. thanks for reading my stuff.

By the way, this wasn't the serious writing I said I would publish next... I'm still thinking about that one.

Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Serious or not.. it's always a great read! As for the visas.. I heard the forks comment they'll hitch a ride. The knives weren't sure they wanted to be baggage checked, since they aren't allowed in the cabin. I heard a few serving spoons making fun of them. Poor knives. I may have to travel with them to keep their spirits up.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

I'm sorry to be so cruel, but this stuff makes me laugh.

God, you would have a heart attack if you poked around in my cabinets or, heaven forbid, looked in my cutlery drawer. They're constantly co-mingling in the dark there. Who knows what they're up to? I can't figure out though, what happened to the cutlery that was in the drawer--helter skelter though they were--before you replaced them with a new (and perfectly counted) set?

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

We'll be waiting at the airport, Candie. I asked the guys if they wanted to come, and to a utensil, they said they wouldn't miss it for the world. And don't worry if you're delayed; they have already planned to have a load of fun. The teaspoons are going to infiltrate the cutlery draws at 'Costa Rica' coffee stand, and then when customers... But no. Just watch the news and you'll see. I wouldn't want to spoil their fun bu telling you till it all happens.

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi Christoph, and welcome back. In answer to your question, that is one of the darker secrets of Norbury-sur-Mer. I have another drawer in the kitchen that contains all the cutlery that I inherited from my mother. This is stuff that has travelled the world and been a part of feasts and quiet domestic meals on two continents and also a little island off the coast of Continantal Europe. It's mostly silver plate and bone and ivory handled and mostly all of a decent age. I take them out every now and then and clean the silver and make sure that they are all happy.

It's like a little branch of Twilight Lawns plc, a Retirement Home for Genteel Cutlery and Flatware, where those of Quality Spend their Twilight Days.

Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

*sniff* I haven't inherited any fine cutlery. Only an 1906 Victrola (albeit with the original wooden needles and needle trimmer).. No fine silver or nuthin'! My cutlery travels locally and plenty of it. They have dreams of going international , so I shall plan on taking the whole gang and coming over.

I've heard teaspoons can be troublemakers. Can't wait to read of their mayhem at the coffee shop!

I wonder if Chris' cutlery would like to entertain mine for a while?

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Candie, I would be very careful of introducing your cutlery to any of those described by or belonging to Chris. I have a feeling that they live a very licentious life in that cutlery drawer of his. I wouldn't say Chris, himself, tends to live very close to the edge in a very hedonistic manner, but I certainly can't speak for his utensils.

Just a word of warning, my dear friend; one can never be too careful.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

I, along with my cutlery, lean towards hedonism!

Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

It's a family affair! I shall consider sending just the spoons, then. They have led a bit of a sheltered life.. except those I found in the mud at my old place.. so maybe they could use some.. er.. 'culture'??

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Spoons can take care of themselves, I've found. Most of them are very street wise. It's the others I am not so sure about; with all their bravado and sense of personal history, they tend to be wimps, a lot of them.

By the way, I thought I was cured, but not quite. Yesterday I was going out in the car for the first time since this latest bit of snow (New car; not too happy with driving on ice). There was snow on the windshield and I looked around for something to scrape it off. There, half buried in the snow at my feet, was a fork that looked similar to an IKEA Dragon Dinner Fork.

I think God has a sense of humour.

It was unnerving, though.

Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Oh dear!! Clearly someone wanted to play a special practical joke on you! Shame people have to stoop to such lows.. or worse still, that the utensils are toying with you! A sense of humor is good, but be on the alert for more impersonators!

Well it's good then that the spoons will go to Chris' first. I do hope he takes them on a tour of his town.

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for that Candie. I hadn’t realised that the utensils could have planned the whole thing. I am really disappointed in them.

Who’s the one who makes sure they're always comfortable and clean?

I am!

Who’s the one who is just as likely to say, "Good morning" or "Good night" when I close or open their drawers?

I am!

Who, by their actions, are beginning to make me think that they are ungrateful and selfish?

They are!

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 6 years ago

This Polish woman (who Polished your cutlery) did you a great service, did she not? Curing you of counting the cutlery. However, wondering if I am now OCD, tempted to click that button to view all 12 [TWELVE] of the photos displayed in this hub, which may have amounted to the number of cutlery needed to fill the drawer, and thus, I would be counting the silverware.

Nevertheless, the exaggerated imagery elicits a smile.

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for coming to read my little effort. I promise you that I have laid the beast to rest. There will me no more concerning OCD... unless it is in the privacy of my own home. I promise also, Debby, that I will be serious in future, and fulfil the trust you put in me when you read my first posting on HubPages.

Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Well, they are cutlery.. after all! Who knows why psychosis lurks in their hearts? And.. who's the 'leader' of this cutlery mob? You may have treated them too kindly - yea - and dare I say it.. spoiled them? Maybe a turn in a dirty coffee cup is needed?

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Ha ha ha! I love it. "That'll learn 'em", as they say.

patdmania profile image

patdmania 6 years ago from waterford, mi

Your funny! I don't know anybody with OCD. I know some people with their quirks, however i don't believe it to be OCD. Could be? The guy i am thinking of washes his car a few times a week. I seen him take a tooth brush to get the cracks. The engine compartment is spotless. He could have it!

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for reading my hub. I don't think you need to worry about your friend. Just persuade him to clean your car every the time he feels like it.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Ian - you are a riot. A totally lovable nutcase. hehe Who knew that cutlery was so debauched - at least the more cosmopolitan types of cutlery? I must admit that mine seem extraordinarily just fuddy-duddies who wouldn't recognize an opportunity to "spoon", much less to carry on illicit affairs at 10,000 feet in the air, nor even in a well-organized cutlery drawer (if they ever experienced such a phenomenon)!

But mine are a mishmash of origins, some sterling silver from past lives, some lovely Danish stainless, miscellaneous "everyday" cutlery. It's been awhile since the sterling or the "good" stainless have been out of their flannel-lined wooden boxes, designed to prevent tarnishing, and - it seems - tone down usage. I use the same several teaspoons, salad forks (I hate great big tines in my mouth), sugar shell (I like it for soup and cereal, again, a big soup spoon is intimidating, and I don't use sugar so why not for a soup spoon replacement?), regular knives and serrated knives (I love to slice things which need slicing very thinly and precisely), and a pickle fork or two for spearing my grapes and cut-up fruits in the morning. I have many sets of lovely dishes, but again - use the same few again and again. Same with pots and pans. I have several favorites and the others might as well live elsewhere! My life has simplified so. I love to cook and serve a glorious table but, alone, the simpler the better.

So - alas - I and my cutlery are or would be surely outlaws mingling in this high society!

By the way - after the Polish or Spanish - whatever she was who slurped and munched all day and pottied all night -- what have you done for a housekeeper?

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

What a delicious reply. I really revelled in it, and your use of language. We're two of a kind, aren't we?

I tried several cleaning ladies, mainly Polish and Ecuadorian, but I eventually gave up because they were leaving the house pretty much in the state that they had found it... just moved the dust around and chipped a few vases. Well, that's what they are supposed to do, isn't it. I just clean where it needs it and keep the place nice by myself. I love Mr Muscle squeezy bottles and once a week or more often when necessary, enjoy myself in the kitchen. No need for anything much else. The dishwasher gets used when it is full which is mostly every day, and I have a decent wahing machine and tumble dryer, so who needs "help".

By the way, you read the OCD entry out of sequence. There are three; each as insane as the other two.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I appreciat the kinship! Yes, we do share a love of language!

I've never used a cleaning person. At one time I was such a fastidious housekeeper, I was starting on "spring cleaning" by the time I was satisfied with "fall cleaning" - and vice versa. I did it all "the old-fashioned way" - paste wax on the floor, applied and polished on hands and knees. My cook stove was thoroughly cleaned after every meal preparation or other use - which included canning, baking, candy-making, bread-making - you name it. It was not a particularly easy house to keep spotless, either. It was a Victorian farmhouse where I concentrated the most intense of my efforts, though I'd lived in other houses and they were also fastidiously maintained, but with much easier "go". I just never have liked to have someone else's work supporting my creativity and my homes have always been showered with that. And I did not require - or get - a lot of help from other members of the family in the cleaning area. I am intensely independent, I suppose.

However, when the ranch came into my control and we spent vast amounts of time there, dividing it between being here, where we lived and where we planned and purchased materials for a cabin we designed & built down there ourselves, - my housekeeping took time off. I was in my 60s - he was in his 70s. We were tireless.

Often the living room floor would be the repository for sheets of plywood, lumber, fixtures, a shower shell, windows & doors, cabinetry, etc. awaiting the next trip down. These would be packed onto a trailer to transport the 500 miles to the ranch. Once there, there was little opportunity of getting anything one forgot to bring except via a 200 mile round-trip to the nearest town.

Acquisition of control of my ranch also had followed two years of litigation in which I was heavily involved - research, document preparation, etc. I felt like I should go for a legal assistant degree after that! Housekeeping suffered then, too. Even meal planning was simplified. My habits changed, shall we say?

I learned to do the essentials for sanitation, "polish the brass" for company and continued some habits of a lifetime, such as picking up after myself and my folks, putting things away immediately, etc. - so that it never looked too bad. But it wouldn't pass a "white-glove" test!

Another major adjustment was prioritizing. Did I want to be remembered for a spotless house or for contributing of my self and my soul? And equally - did I want to BE a drudge or a whole person? I didn't need much deliberation over these decisions.

Still, it's easy enough to run a dustcloth, vacuum, and dustmop when it is needed. Occasionally I did the big seasonal thing but not regularly. Now it's only if houseguests are expected, and maybe not fully then!

That need to gather and assemble things to be taken to the ranch was one "eyesore" that I just had to get used to and I did! And the "office" - we shared a small upstairs room for it - became another one of those congested areas - still is, a bit. My desktop computers are up here and I happen to be on one of them now! I'm usually on the couch in the den with my laptop except when using the desktops for business-related stuff.

My George was a prolific inventor who fully documented the details of his procedures for submission for patents though he tended to keep refining them till someone else had marketed his ideas. He wrote poetry, played the harmonica, fished, golfed and read profusely. We shared wonderful conversations. The garage - where his "shop" was - is a cleaning project I've been onto for over a year!

But I am as bad about the things I am into. When time here and down there was divided, too, it was a case of things piling up. They don't straighten themselves. I seem constantly to be faced with prioritizing my time and the prospect of having fewer years ahead of me influences my decisions.

To add to it, when my parents' estates were finally really divided up - including keepsakes of their long lifetimes - those were added to the accummulation. So housekeeping has not been a simple 1-2-3 for me.

OOPs - sorry about the OCD sequence. I'll have to go catch up! You are so prolific and exciting, it's like chasing a rainbow attached to a lightning bolt! I love it!

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

After that, I have a very meagre offering. I have just put my dinner in the oven and going to watch a movie. The first I've watched for ages at home, although I have told you that I like the cinema.

I'm going to watch 'City of Angels' again. I love that movie and something that pearlDiver published on HP made me think of it.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I liked that movie too. It's been ages since I've seen it. Nicholas Cage is a favorite actor. Los Angeles means "the angels" of course, so it is a good connection.

I buckled down and left the Super Bowl on, though I dozed off for the middle quarters of it. It is a once a year event and the first ever, played in our Metroplex. I was happy that Green Bay won. My Dad graduated from the Univ. of Wisconsin so I could at least latch on to a connection. I'm relieved that it is over - the entire season till it all starts again, like Christmas season, beginning earlier and earlier each year! I am far from a dedicated sports fan but there is an ambiance to it which feels rather normal. Was never able to avoid it completely, and at times, it was almost mandatory. Along with falling leaves and lengthening shadows, Autumn is associated with the sounds of football here. It's at the time when we are finally beginning to get past the intense heat of our summers, so there is the pleasant promise of cooler weather associated with it. I reserve further comments about some of the absurdity of it. haha

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I am the most unsporting person you could ever hope to meet. I fenced for a short while when I was in my teens, but that may have been because I had watched 'The Prisoner of Zenda'.

I've just woken and am going to have a bath and a shave and all those things that make one feel marginally human.

Do you like John Steinbeck? I have a feeling of Steinbeck and 'East of Eden' when I read bits and pieces of your messages. He is one of my all time favourite authors. I couldn't believe it, but a friend of mine, who is very educated and from an extremely important family in the Congo, has not read, and even heard of Steinbeck. Of course I gave her 'East of Eden' the other day... Of course I did.

She had picked up 'The Bad Seed' by William March when she was staying here for a few days and loved it, so I introduced 'East of Eden' through the Cathy Trask character.

Bath time...

Speak later

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

My eyesight was my Achilles' Heel for participating in most sports. Lacking depth perception makes projectiles hurled toward me extremely frightening - and with good reason. I have no idea how far away they are or how much time I have to respond appropriately. So my usual reaction is to beat a fast retreat in some other general direction. It does not render one a classy candidate for a ball team! I liked tennis but "keeping my eye on the ball" - an absolute must - resulted in my eyes crossing painfully. Golf would have been a little better, except if I heard the warning "Fore" - I wouldn't know which way to run away from a fast-approaching golf ball! I loved to swim. That was my main "sport". And I could have been an Olympic walker if there had been a category for that activity.

I had serious overseeing by my eldest sister (her idea) during my college years. She happened to be married to an ex-football hero: first, played at own university, SMU in its hey-day and later played for the New York Giants.

In their household, football was a major standard. They were "well connected" socially in Dallas and throughout the top strata, the football standard prevailed. If a guy I wanted to date didn't play football (and wear a gray flannel suit with a silk tie with a little dot in it), he was blackballed. I literally had to drop a very likable beau because he didn't pass muster. To make it worse, he was from Chicago and was into music, also frowned upon. I am pretty sure he went on to become a very successful attorney in Chicago. They tried to fix me up with some fellows who met their criteria but the ennui between us was thick enough to slice. I didn't date much then anyway. I was very much into my design classes. I met a few guys through my sorority, one a young man I liked because he reminded me of my childhood love. It didn't work out, though.

I confess I'd never in a jillion years have compared my writing with Steinbeck's though it is not an unflattering comparison. It just reminds me that I've never compared myself in any way with a man, even those I admire.

Steinbeck was like the John Grisham of my heyday. His books and movies made from them were wildly popular. I saw "Grapes of Wrath", "East of Eden", "Of Mice and Men", "Tortilla Flat" ;- those are the ones I recall. I may have seen others and hardly realized they were his work. I read only one, "The Pearl". I don't think it was made into a movie. It was on a list of recommended books to read and study as a self-help course in writing fiction.

Do you know my HubPage friend, Dallas93444? He's at


I mention him for several reasons. First of all he is a really good writer, quite knowledgeable, brilliant - and his roots are in the same area as John Steinbeck's. I'm honored to call him a follower and fan and vice-versa. I almost hesitate to introduce you, because you may become so engrossed in his hubs that I will see too little of you! :-)

There were many outstanding American writers and stories of the same generation as Steinbeck. I think of Theodore Dreiser ("An American Tragedy"), Edna Ferber ("Giant"), Tennessee Williams - (too many to list but "The Glass Menagerie" , and "Streetcar Named Desire" , "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", "Night of the Iquana" rise to the top as I think of him - and they also were made into movies). The list goes on - F. Scott Fitzgerald, ("The Great Gatsby"), William Faulkner ("The Sound and the Fury"), Ernest Hemingway (many - but "The Old Man and the Sea" comes to mind), Willa Cather("Sapphira and the Slave Girl") - - on and on.

I like Edith Wharton -she depicted the high society and snobbery of New York in the Victorian manner. My favorite of hers is "The Age of Innocence". One is reminded that America has always had its secret "aristocracy". It's concentrated in the Northeastern states, where the rest of the country is viewed as untracked wilderness by the real members of this aristocracy and much of its own territory as being taken over by ruffians. They've had and nurtured strong affiliations with aristocrats and titled individuals of Western Europe. There are fledgling wannabe aristocratic families in other areas of the US - Dallas even has one or two. But the earmarks of these folks is having mostly secret words and clues which alert each other that they're in familiar society. They avoid flowery language and "show" & are not necessarily wealthy, but they would not use that word, - they'd just say "rich".

There was a line of clothing for the "really" upper-class young women at the very exclusive store where I worked in Houston. These frocks were so utterly plain as to be nearly unpretty. They were plain little shirt-waist dresses of nice cotton chambray, always with a little round white pique Peter-pan collar. A young woman wearing a "McMullen" would be instantly identified by her peers as one of them. A social climber would never even pause to look at these dresses if they were on display, though they were usually kept in the stockroom and were brought out only on request, so that "other" girl wouldn't be aware of their existence.

One of my sorority sisters from SMU, Jessica Hobby, was the daughter of prominent Houstonians. Her father owned the "Houston Post", had been a Texas Governor and her mother was the first commanding officer of the Women's Army Corps during WWII and went on to be a staff member of Eisenhower's presidency. She became a brilliant writer both in the US and England; her husband, Henry Catto, served as an US Ambassador to several nations, including Great Britain. Jessica died of colon cancer in 2009. I remember her asking for the McMullens when she spotted me working at Sakowitz in 1953.

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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Dammit, woman, why aren't you writing this all down with an underlying plot and subplot that is barely decipherable from the descriptions? I would really work.

Don't worry, by the way... we are chums and I'm happy with the arrangement.

You have mentioned a few of my favourite writers there. I have read everything that Steinbeck has written except for 'Travels with Charlie'/

F.Scott Fitzgerald is one of my most favourite authors, 'The Great Gatsby' being one of my very top... I've read a lot else, but never, for some reason, read any Zelda Fitzgerald, and according to rumour, she had more than a hand in his writings. They say that is why he had her locked up, because he was so jealous of her.

Read 'The Short Reign if Pippin IV'; it is one of Steinbeck’s most enchanting.

Tennessee Williams is also one of my favourites. I especially like his novel ‘The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone. The movies adaptations are wonderful, but I think I like the Helen Mirren one even better than the first.

I went to the cinema tonight. Saw ‘The King’s Speech’… amazingly good. Strangely enough, I was driving out to post a letter and spoke to my best friend, Judi, of whom you have no doubt read. Yes, she really exists, and she said that she had seen it last night and told me would like it…Serendipity or what?

Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Dear Twilight,

I do believe my dad has OCD but may have been more of a perfectionist, but as he has aged, it has not been so noticable as growing up. I almost thought it rubbed off on me but it must have not stuck..I just checked my cutlery and I am sure they are not the same..lol

Thank you for a very enjoyable read..


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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thanks for coming to HAVE a very enjoyable read, Sunnie... I'm sure you can't be OCD. An OCD person wouldn't have started with the last in a series of four.

You're safe!

Sunnie Day 5 years ago

hahaha...Did I? Now I feel kind of foolish..let me backtrack then..Trying to read as much as I can..when I can..Thanks for pointing that out to me :)


PS Okay sunnie look below and read.."This is the fourth of a series of four hubs"..

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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

It's reassuring, though, isn't it, Sunnie? It means you're not barking mad like the author of the hub, ha ha ha.

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snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

Oh I see, You've got it bad, Mr. Lawns, real bad...Regards, snakeslane ps, this just goes on and on, I hope you get some decent help soon.

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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Snakeslane , my friend, I am having help. And I thought that I was almost cured, but on 2nd December, 2011, I had a quite serious relapse, and the reather bulky file has been opened again.

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snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

Oh no Ian! I am so sorry, now I've made light of a serious situation. I never know when to take you seriously, you are such a kidder.

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Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

snakeslane, I have never made a completely honest statement in my life, and I'm certainly not going to start now.

My mantra gas always been. and shall remain so: "Nothing is as it may appear".

Read anything I have ever written or listen to anything I have ever said. and you will discover that neither Veracity nor Mendacity is my middle name... although, strangely enough, I hate lies and liars.

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nemanjaboskov 4 years ago from Serbia

I can only say it is the perfect ending to the perfect story!

Completely entertaining and, again, beautifully written. I have a feeling that I might have to save that description for all of my future comments to your works here on HP :) Just amazing!

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Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Congratulations, Nemanja. You have read all the chapters, and in the correct order.

And as a mark of gratitude, from me, and every OCD sufferer on the Planet, a Badge of Honour, specially struck at great expense, will be winging its way to you as soon as you know it.

The Badge depicts an IKEA 365 Range Coffee Mug, Rampant, on a field of Scented Tea Lights.

Wear it with pride.

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nemanjaboskov 4 years ago from Serbia

Wow, this is the second unofficial badge I was presented with here at HP :)

The first one was given to me from my dear friend, and a great writer, ThoughtSandwiches, for reading all of his hubs. The second is a from another dear friend, and a great writer, Ian, and I hope that you will make another one for me when I manage to go through all of your works here...

Until then, I will be wearing both of these badges with my nose held up so high that it will tear up the skies!

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Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

ThoughtSandwich... I agree. He's an excellent writer.

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time2rite 4 years ago from Navarre, Fl, USA

I was diagnosed with OCD a few decades ago after living with it my whole life. It reached a fever pitch after the birth of my first son. I thought I'd NEVER find it humorous at the time, but over the years I have learned to laugh at myself. I mean WHY do all my bath towels, hand towels, kitchen towels, and wash cloths HAVE to be folded a certain way AND stacked oh-so-neatly into the linen closet?!? Hey, it works for me, and I hum as I remove clean towels from the dryer, fold each one, stack neatly, and carry to place into the closet, lol! Thanks for sharing your story in such a funny, light-hearted way.

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Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Time2rite, thanks for the visit.

I am glad you appreciated my little effort for what it was... a study in self deprecation. I know OCD can be really irritating to the "sufferer2 but it can annoy others as well, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, we find that what we are doing is not only compelling... but loads of fun, if we let it be.

Thanks again for the visit, and if you have the time, in a day meaningfully full of folding towels, arranging them in beautifully graduated piles, just that little way away from each other, please take the time to have another poke around and read the other chapters in this gripping tale of obsession and frustration, and eventual epiphany.

I can promise you not one out of place picture, but pure order and harmony.

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    This is the fourth of a series of four hubs dealing with the very distressing syndrome known as OCD (Obsessive–compulsive disorder).

    Within these very helpful hubs one may find a self-help manual, a case history and an ongoing description of one particular sufferer.

    For ease of understanding and efficacy of providing help to the afflicted, it would be best to read the articles in order of publication.

    1. Have you read the first hub Having OCD Is Not Always Fun on this debilitating condition? Well, have you?

    If you haven't, I suggest you go to it straight away. There's no point in starting half way... especially if you have OCD. You don't need to be told that, do you?

    Well, go on. Don't waste your time.

    2. Have you read the second hub Having OCD is Still Not Much Fun on this debilitating condition?

    Now you are almost finished, but there is no point in getting off your metaphorical horse mid-metaphorical-stream, now is there? You are almost cured… or you should be.

    Go on, read Having OCD is Still Not Much Fun. It won’t take long, and you won’t regret it.

    3. This. the next hub is very reassuring and it’s well worth another read. Have a good look at it and see what you think, at: OCD May be Debilitating But Is There a Cure?

    4. Go on. Read it again.

    If you have got this far, you are almost finished. Are you sitting comfortably, or would you like to go and have a coffee and a sticky bun? And perhaps spend about ten minutes trying to decide which spoon to use and what cup to use, in case it feels as if it is being left out. I know how this feels. I start to make a coffee and when I open the cupboard door, there are eighteen identical coffee mugs looking at me; begging to be turned so that their handles are all 45 degrees to the left.

    When you get back here, have a look at OCD - A Case History – Self Help in Extreme Cases the fourth and final hub.

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