A little to the left. To the right. Nope, to the left again…

While visiting my parents in North Carolina last week, Nate inexplicably came down with a rash one day. He blinked and the next thing we all knew, his body was covered in itchy, red, raised splotches. I gave him an air hug, threw some Benadryl at him from across the room and hopped in the Durango to go shopping, because while I’m normally a pretty compassionate woman, I have the capacity to eat my own young after I’ve gone four nights with no sleep, especially if the sleep deprivation is due to the deafening snoring of a certain red splotched, itchy individual who shall remain nameless.

So Nate took the Benadryl which got rid of his rash and then he went about trying to determine what caused it in the first place. He thought it had something to do with the Pepcid Complete he had taken two minutes after he took some Zantac, because Nate has a tendency to mix and match medications as if he’s standing in the bulk section of the candy aisle in Wegmans, under the assumption that if one pill cures an ailment, then ten will do the job faster and better.

Thank God he doesn’t take birth control pills or little blue Mr. Happy pills. Can you imagine? He’d be permanently sterile and walking funny in 45 seconds or less.

As I wandered around my parents’ house, I came up with a different theory for the rash and I even coined a name for it. I’ve always wanted to coin something … it sounds so, I don’t know … intelligent? I need all the help I can get in that area.

Speaking of coining, I’m not sure what legal hoops I have to jump through to coin a disease? Do I have to sign something in blood three thousand times somewhere? Notify my governor? Give away my first born? Because I can have Zoe packed and standing at the curb in under two minutes if need be, a sacrifice I’d be willing to make the next time she transforms the bathroom into a bacterial pigsty.

What if I simply say the disease out loud? Is that sufficient? I’m going to make an executive decision and say it is. I like making executive decisions when no one’s around because that’s the only time I ever get to make them and they make me feel important and besides, saying it out loud is the fastest and easiest way to get my newly coined disease “out there” and I’m all about fast and easy. Just ask Nate.

Kidding! Sort of.

So, here it comes. Get ready …




ASKEWITIS. Make sure you put the “kew” sound in there because otherwise, it sounds like a fanny disease that no one will ever want to talk about and if no one is going to talk about my disease, why’d I spend all that time coining it?

Loosely translated, askewitis means an abnormal physiological condition brought on by the sight or proximity of anything askew. And before any of you try to steal my thunder, I’ve already contacted the Journal of the American Medical Association several times and they’ve promised to look into its validity provided I stop pestering them and comply with their restraining order. I fully expect to see an episode of Grey’s Anatomy revolving around this disease during sweeps week and it would be nice if they dedicated the episode to me but I’ll be satisfied with a detailed acknowledgment in supersize font in the credits.

Oh, and McDreamy or McSteamy or Alex or Dr. Hunt? Feel free to come on over if you need some hands on research.

Askewitis primarily affects those individuals who suffer mild to advanced obsessive-compulsive tendencies and seek order and conformity in their daily lives.

Anyone? Anyone? Nate?

The people who tend to like things neat and straight and level and symmetrical and can usually be found with a level and tape measure permanently affixed somewhere on their bodies for easy and immediate access.

Anyone? Anyone? Nate?

The physical effect of witnessing anything crooked or lopsided can manifest itself in a skin inflammation like Nate’s rash, or in an uncontrollable twitching of an eye, such as my own tic that occurs immediately after catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, whereupon I have to immediately staple my eye shut until I lose ten pounds.

Losing weight is hard and staples hurt, so I just avoid mirrors.

I probably should have mentioned that I suffer from a little askewitis myself. As well as several other conditions that I won’t get into here.

My parents’ house is a virtual breeding ground for askewitis. I’m not sure why, because they don’t live on any fault line that I’m aware of and there were no hurricanes or tornadoes whipping stuff about while we were visiting and as far as I know, no one picked up their house and shook it like a maraca, so I have no idea why we could not find a cluster of pictures that was not, to a certain degree, askew. Maybe there’s some weird magnetic thing going on in North Carolina? Remind me to fax an annotation to JAMA when I’m done here. I don’t think faxes violate restraining orders.

With all the askewing going on, it’s a wonder that Nate or I didn’t spontaneously combust. What a Thanksgiving to tell our grandchildren about, huh? Except that we wouldn’t be there to see our grandchildren.

OK … I can hear you whispering and giggling on the other side of my monitor. Let’s just get it out in the open, shall we?

That’s my twin brother in his high school senior photo from 1985, trying to look contemplative with feathered hair. He didn’t know at the time that it was physically impossible to look contemplative with feathered hair.

Next to my brother’s photo is my sister’s senior photo from 1975. She doesn’t have feathered hair because I don’t think feathered hair was invented yet. She has jumbo, frozen orange juice from concentrate can-curled hair. For the sake of Elaine’s locks, we drank a lot of orange juice back in those days.

On the bottom row are pictures of Tino and me, when we were around five or so, with our puppet friends Ernie and Cookie Monster. You probably can’t tell from Tino’s picture because it’s too dark (have I mentioned lately how much hate my camera? And how much it hates me? And how I’m never, ever, ever going to figure out manual settings before I die?)  but his glasses were not just askew, they were askeeeeeeeeeew because they were allergic to cameras and anytime they saw one coming, they immediately tilted to the left. We never could figure out why. I didn’t have my glasses yet, hence the blank, uncomprehending stare that can only belong to a shy, blind child who has been asked to stick her hand up a hairy blue monster’s ass and smile for the big, black, blurry thing pointed in her face.

Anyone else out there suffer from askewitis? Remember, the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. Support group is forming, information and details to be released at a later date, after JAMA returns my calls.


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30 thoughts on “A little to the left. To the right. Nope, to the left again…”

  1. Avatar

    Cute seasonal blog header… =)

    Yes, I suffer from askewitis. In fact, back in my younger days about a century ago when I still lived in Switzerland, my friends all told me I had “l’oeil americain” — the American eye. Actually both my eyes were American, but what they meant was that I could immediately perceive if something was akilter. Not sure what that says about how the Francophones perceive Americans, though… =)

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    Those photo walls are driving me crazy!!! Take them off!! Pleeeeeeeeeeese 😉
    If you don’t I’ll just have to fix them in photoshop 😀

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    Girl! My skin is crawling from those photos!

    I worked for a decade in the Editorial Dept. of a textbook publishing house, proofreading and paging books. This was before computers really took over, so I was paging strips and chunks of type by hand. And they had to be perfectly straight. So you can imagine that, even today, crooked wall art drives me . . . up the wall! (No rash, though, so that may blow your disease theory.)

  4. Avatar

    What you have witnessed is the calling card of my cleaning people. The saving grace is that I know pictures have been dusted.Did not notice the asymmetry ’cause I was busy rolling symmetrical dolmathes and asymmetrical Chicken French for my symmetrical-obsessed family.MEA CULPA.

    There was no turkey LEFT the stuffing was just RIGHT and the Scrabble game was on an EVEN keel.


  5. Avatar

    Funny post. My daughter HAS to straighten pictures on the wall until they are corectly aligned. I never notice.

    When I read “Mr. Happy pills” I laughed out loud. For the sake of my elderly mother who lives with us, my sno has to refer to his male appendage as “Mr. Happy.” LOL


  6. Avatar

    Another classic post 🙂

    My dh also showing symptoms. Last week while christmas shopping, we stopped for coffee/hot chocolate. As we sat down there were some fliers advertising a sale, strewn on the table. My dh…..gathered them up, tapped them together to form a neat bundle, and carefully positioned them in the centre of the table…..and then he wondered what I was laughing about.

    Do you think an intervention is called for?

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    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would have spent the ENTIRE Thanksgiving weekend straightening the pictures. If you’ve read my blog long, you’d know that I have an EXTREME case of Askewitis… I’m even MEDICATED for it! lol. Seriously!! I’m very proud of you for making it home in one {sane} piece!!!! this post had me rolling, and I can assure you that once I show my dh those pics of the photos, the first thing out of his mouth will be… “that would have driven you crazy!!.

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    I think it’s time for an intervention. I bet we could even get the big ol’ HMOs to pay for it!!! (I was cracking up reading this but couldn’t STAND to see all those pictures “askew” – now to find my Benadryl!)

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    I think I am immune after so many year of living surrounded by things that are askew.

    Askew…askew…askew… it’s one of those words that sounds wrong the more you say it while looking at it spelled.

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    It was actually painful for me to look at those pics because I so desperately wanted to reach through my computer screen and straighten them. I’m just anal about that kinda stuff…askewitis…yeah, that describes me to a tee!!!

    Love the family pictures! The one of your brother with the feathered hair brings back memories from the 80’s!!

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    I just have one question… did you and Nate make sure to straighten the pictures before you left?
    One more question… did your parents ask you why you were taking pictures of all of their pictures? Did they notice the askewitis-ness of their pictures?? I take it that askewitis is not hereditary since you didn’t say anything about your parents having the itchy askewitis rash.

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    Funniest post I’ve read in a long time. Seriously, laughing out loud.

    I knew I was going to like this blog when you mentioned 2 of my favorite places, Wegmans and North Carolina in the first post I read.

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    OMG…that was hilarious.

    I’ll be avidly watching all the medical journals waiting for the mention of your new disease…I’m sure they are just waiting for your clinical research to be done with Dr. McDreamy!

  14. Avatar

    There’s only one cure for askewitis…a surreptitious stash of Sticky Tack, secreting in suitcases, set sympathetically for the symmetrically disabled.

    Wow. All that askewness made me self-medicated with askewitis alliteration….


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