A. R. referring to anal retentive, of course. I figured I’d better not use the word anal in the title so the blog wouldn’t show up in some pornography website list, since questionable material appeared when I tried to Google the difference between being anal and obsessive-compulsive, just to be sure I knew what I was talking about.
But then, of course I know what I’m talking about, having been identified as the local poster child for the condition by my so-called friends. Sure, I have areas where I strive for perfection, like driving my students crazy when it came to covering their textbooks. I mean, come on, how hard is it to fold and fit a paper book cover over a literature book and then tape the corners for a nice, snug, secure fit? Hard, apparently, since I would have to devote a whole class period at the beginning of the year to helping them get it done right. They didn’t seem to appreciate all that instruction at all. Maybe that’s why Glen Scott asked me one day what anal retentive meant-trying to tell me something, perhaps?
And what about making scrapbooks? I can’t just stick pictures on the page willy-nilly, with no regard for chronological order, no consideration for paper design, color, font type and size. The devil’s in the details, you know. I make a huge paper scrap mess getting all those details just right, but that doesn't matter, as long as the spread in the book comes out right.
Gathering rocks also requires attention to detail. All rocks are not created equal, despite what my husband thinks, and great care must be taken when collecting just the right rock for just the right spot in the cactus garden. Well, what happens there is that to make sure I have just the right rock for just the right spot, I have to fill the trailer with a ton of rocks to make sure that when I get them home I have plenty of rocks from which to choose; inventory, if you will. And then there is the arranging that perfect rock, which doesn’t just happen, you know. That requires trying several rocks before choosing the right one and then turning it every which way but loose to make sure it fits the space just so. Rocks aren’t just tossed down and lined up; they must be planned and planted.
And I could probably go on, but I think you get the idea. And if not, Google Phil Hartman doing his bit, “The Anal Retentive Chef,” back when Saturday Night Live was clever and not just vulgar. Well, assuming you don’t think the term anal retentive is vulgar. In this case, I don’t think it is. Obsessive-compulsive sounds so clinical; anal retentive just sort of hits the nail on the head, don’t you think?
Well, you have to realize that I have also been accused of having a slightly warped sense of humor. But that’s another story…