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I have a touch of OCD. Not a major case, I don’t have to flick the light on and off multiple times, but I do have to go through certain routines. One is that I have to go through my checklist before I leave the house.

Money, pen, keys, phone, cigarettes. I do it twice. I haven’t smoked in a year and a half, but I still check for cigarettes. Some habits are harder to break than others.

When I cook in the oven, I have to say “OFF” out loud, otherwise I will start to panic after I leave. Did I shut the oven off? Oh no. I’m gonna burn the house down!  I don’t know why I have this fear. I’ve never started a fire and in all the time that I’ve lived alone, I’ve never left the oven on. Not once.

The major component of my insanity is the lists. I make lists. Lots of them. They help keep the demons away. Well, not really. What they do is, help me maintain some type of sanity and control in my life. Or at least the appearance of sanity and control.

There is the weekly list, which I write on the last night of work. It consists of all the tasks that I need to complete for the week. Things to do, people to call, places to go. Things like that. Then that gets broken down into the daily list. Usually before I go to bed, I make a list of things that need to be done the next day.

Laundry, food shop, gym, etc….    the last item of every day is ‘write‘. I don’t always complete that one. The odd thing is that the more things that I have on my list for any given day, the more things I get done. I like crossing things off the list. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.

If the only thing on my list is ‘gym‘. chances are I never get off the couch that day. If I have 5 things, I’m happy if 3 get crossed off.

I also have the financial lists. Every two weeks I have to make that list of all the bills that need to be paid. That’s a depressing list. There always seems to be one or two items that get pushed onto the next list. That list seems to be growing.

Then there is a list of institutions that I owe money to. That’s a short list.   It just keeps getting W I D E R.

Where I come from, they are big on lists. Lists of people you can’t stand. (They call them resentments. Stupid name)  Lists of things you hate about yourself. (They call those, shortcommings. I call them stupid.) Then there is the list of people I own apologies to. That’s probably a long list. I never made that one.

Some people make bucket lists. That one is supposed to motivate you. It just depresses me. It shows me how little I’ve done with my life. If I had a bucket list, travel to Europe would be on it. Even that would have it’s own list; all the cities that I would travel to, in order:

Shannon, Dublin, Liverpool, London, Dover, Calais, Paris, Nice, Monte Carlo, Genoa, Rome and then Carloforte. That’s a tiny city on the Isle of San Pietro. That’s where my grandfather hails from. He’d probably tear up my lists.

In my head, I have a list of all the things that I wanted to do or learn, tried for two weeks, then quit. I say in my head, because if I wrote them down, I’d see what a loser I am. Here goes nothing:

Learn Guitar, take tennis lessons, take piano lessons, learn Spanish, learn Italian, write a book, go to college, finish college, get a degree, get a law degree, get a journalism degree.. ok, enough of that…

I’m starting a new list. It’s called the DONE list. It’s not long, but it’s got heft. Here goes:

Wrote a book

Volunteered as a Big Brother

Started a blog.

Yes, I started a blog, as you might have noticed. I always laughed at bloggers; those self-important hipster types who sat in their darkened rooms, spewing nonsense that no one would ever read, decrying the fact that they never completed journalism school. Bloggers were losers.

Now they are cool, since I happen to be one. Speaking of blogs, it appears that there are about 46 of you following this one on a regular basis. That’s pretty cool, but I think we need a few more. If this blog made you smile, even just once, you should cut and paste this link onto your Facebook page. Why deprive the world? Share, I say. Share.

And now I can cross off “write” from today’s list, since this qualifies. Now I can go to bed.

After I write tomorrow’s list.

And check the oven.