Day # 28:

omg!…did I just say day #28?…with credit to Peter, Paul and Mary, my brain is humming “…when will it ever end…..when will it ever end”. ….so Stay Strong and have Patience….one-day-at-a-time….. I guess that means I must continue on with day #28. so here goes……

OCD…Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder…. it’s a real Psychiatric Diagnosis….. however it doesn’t mean it’s bad ! In fact when my son recently observed my behavior, he sarcastically said that I had OCD… I smiled when he said that and I took it as a Compliment! …why?…..because all the successful and great athlete’s in my lifetime had OCD even more pronounced then mine….. let me explain….what these great athlete’s had in common was that they developed “habits & rituals” that helped them to have “sharp” focus, which enabled them to get the most out of their skills & abilities to do their job at their absolute maximum! …..Tom Brady…Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciapara, Larry Bird, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods (oops!) Raphael Nadal, etc.etc..I think you get the picture….

I got lucky that, when I was 3 1/2 years old my dad, the 1st Division Marine, came home alive and relatively in one piece from WWII… being the first born child was also a lucky break for me because when he came home he immediately began to father me as if I was a Marine recruit…..some good…..some bad……but the good “far outweighed” the bad, for sure. Those formative years for me were the beginnings of my OCD…. dad barked at me like a Marine drill instructor. I can give you many examples but the best one that comes to mind was when we lived on Mulberry St. and because we were the last apartment before the steps that go up to the roof, it was easy for us to take all our blankets up to the roof every Saturday to “shake out the dust”, fold them, take them back to the apartment and “make all the beds,sheets, blankets and spreads…. that’s EVERY SATURDAY unless it was raining “cats & dogs”….light drizzle didn’t qualify for a reprieve. So up the roof we would go, and then the drill instructor’s voice took over and we would hold the corners of the blanket in our hands and as we began to shake in an up and down motion, his grip was so tight and mine was never tight enough (I began to do this at 7 years old, up until I left for college in 1963) so the blanket would slip out of my hands and hit the roof…. He would then yell at me from the top of his lungs, “what’s the matter with you, hold the damn corners of the blanket with all your might, don’t you drop them again or I’ll…..” He never finished that sentence but I sure knew what he meant…. so when we finished and we came down with dust all over us and my eyes all watery, we would proceed to make all the beds like he learned to make them in the Marines….. I received a great reward for all our hard work….. when I jumped in my freshly made bed, it smelled and felt sooo goood that I slept like a baby in his mother’s womb….. and I believe to this day that, that is the reason I have slept like a baby my whole life…. at my age I now have to get up at least 2 or 3 times a night for bathroom visits….no problem!… I am able to fall right back to sleep…. Thank You Dad …for this great gift ! even though, of course, I sure hated going up that roof each time! and this discipline, hard work, give it your best effort that he instilled in me…carries on to this day……

On a funny note… I must conclude my OCD with a couple of baseball examples:

1. Derek Jeter – (Tom Brady’s new landlord), if I was in my man-cave with a family member or friend and Derek Jeter had an 0-2 count during his at bat, they would run upstairs to get a drink so as not to see me go through my “ritual” while Jeter was going through his “ritual”. He did exactly the same thing every single time he was behind in the count 0-2 and it really would infuriate me so much that I would scream (like my dad) at him on the TV (as if he could hear me), “get in the f’–n box and hit the damn ball”! so what did he do each time ? ….as soon as strike 2 was called, he would step out of the box and look down at the 3rd base coach for the “sign”….. no ballplayer would ever look at the coach when they got 2 strikes because, with 2 strikes you become completely on your own…no player would ever get the “take sign” with two strikes..but because Jeter was “Mr. Baseball”, (the Commissioner Bud Selig actually said in a press conference that he wished he had a son just like Jeter) gush…gush… the Umpires were all either in awe of him or afraid of getting him mad, so they would let him get away with “slowing the pitcher down” with his make believe look for the sign on an 0-2 count….but we are not finished with this story…after looking for this make believe sign from the couch, Jeter would then bend down and adjust his wrist bands and batting gloves. To make matters worse, as he got back in the batters box, he would hold his bat in his left hand and he would raise his right hand up towards the ump asking for more time while he got set….. meanwhile the poor pitcher completely lost his momentum and would either begin to throw balls off the plate, which would give Jeter a better pitch to hit, or he would lose patience with Jeter and lay in a sweet pitch in which Jeter would swing late, as usual, and hit an opposite field home run. and he got away with this “OCD ritual” every single time while I would curse at my TV at him to “hit the f’–n ball !

My second example was of me and my OCD… yesterday, I got a phone call from my dear friend Neil Kapp who was the fantastic short stop of our Jacksonville University Baseball Team and my roommate in the J.U. Dorms. He called to wish me a Happy Easter (he lives in a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale) and to remind me of what transpired between me and him before the Duke game in which I hit the only home run of my life to help beat Duke! ……his story goes like this….. we were in the locker room before the game and the two of us were late for batting practice. he ran by me, and observed me,looking in the full length mirror adjusting my socks, my wrist bands, and finally my baseball cap…and he said “Mosco what the hell are you doing”?…..he said my response to him just blew him away, he said that I looked him straight in the eye, pointed my finger at him and said “Kapper, it’s not how you play the game, it’s how you LOOK when you play the game! and I am not going on the field until I look “perfect”…… with that we both had a good laugh ! I finally went out to the field when I felt I looked ready and later on hit that wind blown home run that helped beat Duke University 10-9.

Tomorrow I will try to go back to the summer between my first and second year of grad school… the summer of 1968, when I met my wife of 50 years…..and what a wild story that is !….so stay tuned… and Stay Safe !

Read the next post Taking Stock Day 29.