Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Toothpaste, Eggs, and Fruit

I recently needed to use some toothpaste from a tube that belongs to my wife. It had been squeezed from the middle.

Instinctively, I squeezed from the bottom up. It just seemed tidier that way! When I stop to think about it, I know it makes no real difference, but this pathetic example of my rigidity made me think of similar idiosyncrasies.

Any sane person taking an egg or two from a box of a dozen just takes one out without worrying about symmetry. Not Nigel! Half the time, when there is an odd number of eggs, absolute symmetry is impossible. But I always move eggs from one side to as close to the center as possible. With ten eggs, I leave one "top right" and one "bottom left", and so forth. I kid myself that centering the eggs reduces the likelihood of one or more eggs spilling. Come on! When has an egg been broken just because the eggs in the box are arranged haphazardly?

If I'm (say) arranging fruit in a bowl, it has to be evenly set out. That could mean all the apples together and likewise the oranges and the plums. Or maybe apple, orange. plum--then apple, orange plum again. It has to be a regular pattern!

You could say I am obsessively compulsive--or just anally retentive. Maybe. I simply like things arranged in an orderly fashion.

Would I behave this way if every move were monitored? I don't know. Maybe it stems from the time I trained as a Naval Officer, when we formed up for "Divisions" (a parade). the tallest took their place at the ends of the line; the shortest (usually me) in the center. Again, when putting books in a bookshelf, I typically "size" them, with the shortest in the middle--unless there are several books from a set, in which case they belong together.

Sometimes I remind myself of the character "Felix Ungar" (as spelled in the play and the movie: he became "Unger" in the TV series). as acted by Jack Lemmon in The Odd Couple. He is described as neurotic, neat, and uptight. I don't claim to be neat, however.


  1. Just a tad OCD, Nigel! but I do the same

  2. Many Zahnpasta items that do not use the key connected with whitening grab the dirt from the moment splits on the enameled in an attempt to indicate the genuine appeal of this enamel backside. i am a dentist and i don't think this is a good idea alone is too abrasive for teeth, combitanion with sea salt is worse. we don't advise our patients to use whitening Zahncreme which contains contents like baking powder. using them for too long cause enamel thinning and roughening so they cause more staining eventually.