Tuesday, March 04, 2008

M&Ms and OCD

I've never been shy about my OCD. Admittedly, it's never been formally diagnosed, but it's one of those things where I know it, and pretty much everyone who knows me knows it -- and as long as it's not posing a risk to me or anyone else, what's the point of getting a doctor's confirmation?

Today, in his chat, Gene Weingarten had a poll asking people to choose their favorite candy from the following choices: Tootsie Rolls, Hershey's Kisses, Milk Duds, Raisinets, M&Ms.

I chose M&M's. (Raisinets would be my least favorite, but only slightly more so than Milk Duds.) I didn't even have to think about it. I love M&Ms. Particularly peanut M&Ms.

Then I read this:

Savannah, Ga. by way of Washington, D.C.: M&M's are clearly the superior candy. Not only are they delicious, but if you're even mildly OCD they can provide good entertainment. I like to eat the green ones first.

Gene Weingarten: You are the third OCD person who has expressed an affinity for m&ms in part because of their sortability.

I find this impossibly... odd.

Hmmm. Could it be that my love of M&Ms has something to do with how I love to put them into piles? So, I decided to do a little experiment. Here, in full color, is a slideshow of how I like to eat M&Ms:

I kid you not: This is what I do with every single package of M&Ms, every single time. (Well, to the extent that "every single time" means "whenever I have the opportunity to take them out of the package and inspect/organize them first.")

Still, I can't help but feeling that the craziest thing about this is that I took the time to take the pictures.


Blondefabulous said...

I'm not OCD, but I sort my M&M's. I feel better when they are in safe piles of similar colored hues.

DSL said...

This is exactly the way I eat Skittles, I swear. And the way I eat M&Ms or anything else multicolored is way too complicated to explain. Yeah, it's something I probably shouldn't share.

Justin S. said...

"The phrase "obsessive-compulsive" has worked its way into the wider English lexicon, and is often used in an offhand manner to describe someone who is meticulous or absorbed in a cause (see "anal retentive"). Such casual references should not be confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder; see clinomorphism."


I don't think you have OCD. I think you just have strong habits. If you really had OCD, you should see a doctor, but I don't think you do.

dara said...

blondefabulous: I'm not sure that you have to be OCD to enjoy sorting your M&Ms by color.

DSL: I do it with Skittles, too.

Justin: Ignoring for a second that Wikipedia is not always the most reliable of sources (which I am planning on writing about later this week), you're right. It's not really Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It's Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, since I derive pleasure from my organizing.

Paige Jennifer said...

We all do quirky things. I always q-tip my right ear first and I prefer to eat my meal so that the last bite is the starch. But, um, a photo diary of the behavior? You win.

Justin S. said...

I'm not sure it's OCPD either. I don't know it's something that's easily classified like that. Like my tendency to want to rank everything, like the guys in High Fidelity. I don't know what that's called, if there's a name for it, or if there should be, but I have it.

dara said...

PJ: Like I said, the craziest thing about it is that I took pictures. I am very self-aware.

Justin: Here are the symptoms of OCPD:

* Preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost
* Showing perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
* Excessive devotion to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)
* Being overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)
* Inability to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
* Reluctance to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
* Adopting a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes
* Shows rigidity and stubbornness

Other than the money thing, this hits pretty close to home.

mad said...

Maybe it's just me, but that seems like a whole lot of work to eat some candy!

Scooter McGavin said...

That pretty much sums up how I eat Skittles. And it may be even more sad considering there are only two colors but I even seperate Reece's Pieces.

dara said...

Mad: Slowing down my eating of M&M's is not a bad thing.

Scooter: There are three colors of Reese's Pieces: Brown, Orange, and Yellow.

DSL said...

Apparently a lot of people do this, judging from this blog alone. Maybe we just need to find a way to relax. On the other hand, if we get pleasure out of it and it doesn't interfere too much with our lives, it's not really a problem I guess.