Little things bug me far more than they should. Crooked road signs. Crooked pictures on the wall. And yes, crooked shoelaces. Wait. Did I just say shoelaces? Well, how important can that be? *sigh* Here I go again, letting you all too far behind my personal curtain. So, welcome. Come in, just kick the dirty laundry aside and pay no attention to the sounds coming from under the bed. *Ahem*

I really don’t think I am obsessive-compulsive, which is a real disorder that deserves due respect and compassion. Frankly, I think it is more than a bit disrespectful the way we think it is funny or charming to label ourselves as OCD just because we hold strong preferences.

It’s not like that

No, I don’t have OCD. I just get exceptionally focused on minutia which offend my core being if they aren’t aligned as I think they should be, which therefore compels me to fix them lest all semblance of personal internal peace be forever shattered. That’s normal, right?

Please understand, I am not intending to offend anyone. If while visiting your home I surreptitiously reach out to straighten a photo, please forgive me, I don’t intend to be rude. If I pull over and stop traffic at the end of your street for a few minutes while I put my shoulder into straightening the road sign, I beg your indulgence. No, it isn’t some strange compulsion. It’s just that I have a strong sense of how certain things should be and know in my heart it is my responsibility to help restore order and symmetry to the world. It’s like a superpower. Yeah—like that.

Looking down

For instance, have you paid much attention to how your shoelaces look? Do you have crooked shoelaces? Like most people, I learned how to tie my shoes at a very young age; in fact, I don’t want to brag but I don’t think I was even a teenager yet. My mom said I was very advanced for my age.

Since then, I have tied my shoes, I guess… 350 times a year? Multiply that by how old I am (umm, how old am I?)…  minus the pre-tie years… hmmm… factoring a healthy dash of confusion here for the days where I had to tie them multiple times… or for when someone silently tied the laces from my two shoes together so that when I start to walk I faceplant in front of a gym full of my classmates which broke the laces so I had to tie the broken ends of each lace to itself so they were long enough to re-tie into embarrassing lumps that appeared to be all knot and no lace but did hold my shoes on… that all comes to a grand total of… umm… a lot. Many, many shoelaces tied! Mostly successfully! I need some Tylenol for my aching brain. Math is not my strong point.

Internet to the rescue

Well, some random person on YouTube taught me something I desperately needed to know: how to tie my shoes The Right Way. Oh, it was a blessed stroke of providence which brought me this shining emissary of joy! For nearly every one of those many, many tied shoelaces in my life, there was an attached moment of brief disappointment, because the result was always crooked. Maybe not a lot, but crooked nonetheless. Not right. That is no way to start your day. (I am so glad you can’t hear the high pitched whiney tone to my voice right now.)

Well, now I know. By making a small change to the way I tie my shoes, my laces now obediently lay perpendicular to my shoes with nary a complaint. I can’t tell you how much better my world is. My laces are happy and I am happy.

The Right Way

The one downside to this discovery is the additional revelation that there are yet other ways to tie and lace your shoes which far surpass the method I have mastered. Not being a dapper man by nature, or the owner of a brain with sufficient cells to contain more than one such methodology at a time, I have yet to move to such exalted heights. Yet, I shall comfort myself with knowing that our beloved planet sits a little bit more solidly on its axis since I have learned how to tie my shoes The Right Way.

Now, in case you haven’t visited my blog before, this is the part where I tie my reckless ramblings into the realm of voice-over in order to justify the way I have named this blog. You know, the TL;DR Voiceover Blog.

Do like I say, not…

Firstly, refrain from revealing too much about your personal challenges and weaknesses in a public forum, as this may lead to loss of respect within the community and generate widespread ridicule. I wanted to post a link right here to a previous post of mine which illustrates how I have done this in the past but… *sigh* you can pretty much read any of them and you will get the idea. It’s an ongoing problem I have.

You’re listening to who?

Secondly, what are you doing paying attention to what some rando on the internet says about how you should be tying your shoes—or building your booth or buying a microphone or sounding “conversational”, whatever that means? That person doesn’t know you or your circumstances. If you need guidance, search out the advice of successful industry pros who can be trusted, then make your own choices. And if you want to tie your shoes so they cause small children to point and laugh, more power to you. It’s your life; screw it up however you want.

Just because someone says you need to do something a certain way doesn’t mean they are right. Even if it is me. Wait, what? Who wrote this?

Further behind the curtain

Third, as I was writing this blog it occurred to me that maybe, possibly, it could be that I worry a tiny, itsy-bitsy bit too much about things that don’t matter much at all. Further, I can imagine a hypothetical scenario where I might reduce some of my daily stress—when editing auditions for example—by not getting too worked up about that miniscule little click that no one else but a dog with hearing aids will notice. A word of advice, and you might want to brace yourself for this one: you don’t really need to enlarge the spectrogram in your editor until you can see every individual pixel in order to edit your files. Huh.

If you can relate, by all means give yourself permission to pull your own reins to slow that horsey down. De-stress a little bit. (By the way, I purchased the latest version of the RX editing tools from iZotope for the latest upgrades and was terribly disappointed—they have not yet added a De-Stress plug-in, despite the fact that I have requested it at least a hundred times.) Getting back on topic—and again, I don’t want to shock you here, so grab something to hold on to—that audition probably doesn’t really have to be absolutely perfect. Whaaa? Who knew?

Bonus points: reducing the amount of time you spend editing auditions might allow you to get another one or two submitted. One of those could be the one that pays your mortgage this month.

Be yourself—within reason

Finally, if you need to straighten that picture, straighten it. Just don’t let the homeowner see you do it. Being a person who is aware of and cares about fine details can be a tremendous asset. Just train yourself to also pay attention to when that asset starts to distract you or gets out of control, eating up valuable time. Oh, and keep those reins close at hand. Whoa horsey! (I am also happy you can’t hear the horsey noises I may or may not be making right now. There are limits to how far behind the curtain you get to go.)

Now I only need to work on suppressing the urge to bend down and re-tie the shoes of random strangers who have yet to be enlightened to The Right Way. 


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6 Responses

  1. I enjoyed this post, so I am commenting as instructed. I, too, await the blessed day when the long-awaited De-Stresser plugin arrives through iZotope. Until that day, I will continue MY mission: that of angling pictures and tilting street signs just ahead of you in your path, thus facilitating YOUR mission of staying OCD and needing to straighten things. Get well soon, my friend. Get well soon. All kidding aside however, I too admit that I too admit things. Wait – sorry – what I meant to say is that I too admit that I admit things. Dangit! Hold on…I’ll get it right: I… too… admit…. that… I… too… struggle with OCD here and there. I feel your pain. My only recommendation is could you please make your pain a bit straighter, and less tilted please? Asking for a friend.

    • The fact that I understand exactly what you are saying is of some concern to me. However, I will admit that I had my suspicions that it might be you who is responsible for all the crookedness in my life. I’m afraid we are going to need to have a very serious talk at VOA. Right after I finish straightening all the pictures throughout the hotel.

  2. Ooooh. I get where you’re coming from John. Symmetry in general is my thing. I revisit algebra evrytime I hang pictures on the wall. They MUST be symmetrical or I have failed in life. Now, I going to watch the shoelace video which, I am sure, is going to rock my symmetrical world!

    • Thanks for reading Craig! Yes, I really did watch that video and I really am happier because my shoelaces are no longer pitched at an angle which would make a drunken sailor nauseous. I also really do get WAY too concerned about getting things “perfect”, which wastes my time trying to achieve it. I am a work in progress to be sure. Happy shoe tying!

  3. A lot of things don’t bother me. I’m probably someone who’s name you’ve cursed for leaving the Earth’s axis off kilter when I wasn’t paying attention, or bumping into a framed painting on the wall and not noticing that it was no longer perfectly aligned.

    But that shoe tying video you posted? Something is dreadfully wrong with how my brain is trying to process that imagery, and I can’t tell if the demonstrator is left-handed, or doing things in a completely mirrored fashion to what my brain wants/expects to see… But THAT looks VERY off-kilter to me and I can only liken the discomfort I have watching it to the unease you described in your blog when all is not right on the great balance of things. You have unbalanced my life for the moment, sir, but I still like you.

    • Well, I am relieved you still like me. The alternate would have certainly knocked my world off-kilter. It took me a while to figure out exactly what was going on there also. Basically I begin the knot as usual, but when at the “wrap around” stage, I wrap it the opposite direction I was taught. Voilé, a straight bow.

      Have no fear, I will not hold you accountable for leaving your environs a shambled mess on account of all the good things you do as a nurse. You more than compensate.

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