“Dude, I’ve been doing some research on the internet and…and, I think I might have OCSD,” Pit Pilot proclaimed with a neutral to solemn look on his face. It wasn’t always easy to tell whether he was being indifferent, serious, neither or both – so you just kind of had to go with the flow and see what happened.
He took a sip of coffee and wiped some cookie crumbs from his big blond beard which was neatly trimmed to give it that rough and rugged look.
“I just wanted you guys to know about my disorder to help you better understand it, and not be alarmed or ashamed. At first I thought I might just be an ordinary surf addict, because of all the similar symptoms. But now, through the wonders of online education and better understanding, I have come to terms with my current and regrettably incurable condition. That’s right, I have OCSD. But don’t fear. I have learned to accept it and to implement the necessary lifestyle adjustments in order to live as normal as possible.”
We were sitting in the tea room of Freedom Surf Shop, watching the Endless Summer on DVD while drinking the free coffee and eating the free cookies. As usual the surf had been pitiful next to the pier the entire morning, littered with groms and booger beyond description. So now, as usual, the ous were all chilling in front of the flat screen watching the famed and fickle Bruce’s Beauties produce its legendary right hand cylinders. Circa 1967.
“You have what?” some ous asked, feigning interest.
“Oh-see, es-dee, pronounced ‘oxed’,” Pit replied. “You’ll be amazed at how many surfers suffer from this debilitating disease – It’s almost as wide spread as alcoholism, drug abuse, syphilis and unemployment. Obsessive-compulsive-surfing-disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have redundant and repetitive thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations, obsessions, or behaviours that compels them to surf. Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety,” Pit rattled off as if reading from a text book – yep, clearly he had done his research. He was oxed alright.
“Hmph, and you think you have this?” another ou asked, humored by another one of Pit Pilot’s paranoid fantasies.
“I don’t think I have it!” he responded defensively. “You either do or you don’t. You don’t just think you have a disease. A person with diabetes doesn’t just think they have diabetes. They are sick. Their body doesn’t produce the necessary insulin to keep them alive. And now you want to accuse them of thinking they have a problematic pancreas? Shame on you. No bru, this stuff is real. In fact, I’m going to see the doctor about it next week because well, it’s become a problem. I’ve realized I need to seek help and find assistance or come up with a coping strategy. I know, I was also shocked when I first discovered it. But hey, what else can I do? I guess I’ll just have to learn to live with it, and try to educate others about it as well – to create awareness and understanding.”
“The fact is that OCSD is more common than was once thought,” he continued with an academic demeanor. “Most people who develop it show symptoms by age 30. There are several theories about the cause of OCSD, but none have been confirmed. Some reports have linked OCSD to head injury and infections. Several studies have shown that there are brain abnormalities in patients with OCSD, but more research is needed. Symptoms are basically obsessive, uncontrollable thoughts or compulsive behavior related to surfing. It can cause major distress or interfere with everyday life.”
“I am now going to ask you several questions about your thoughts and your thinking” Dr Kervorkian’s croaky voice softly said from behind Pit Pilot’s head as he nervously lay back in the psychiatrist’s soft, maroon colored leather chair.
“Questions about my shorts and stinking?” PP asked. “That’s a weird question to ask, but okay…”
“No, not shorts. Thoughts! Thinking, not stinking. The things in your head. What are you thinking?”
“Oh. Well, sheesh, why didn’t’ you just say so. Thoughts and thinking, right. Of course.”
These were not ordinary pieces of paper, Pit realized. These were not merely to-do-lists or creative writings. They were the type of papers only awarded to the most outstanding achievers of Mystery Babylon’s Schools of psychiatry. These were PhDs. A lot of them. This oke must be a blerrie genius or something.
Then Pilot realized at once; he’d finally hit the jack pot. If he could convince Dr K. that he had OCSD – that surfing was his sickness – then he’d finally be free. He’d be free to surf and not have to worry about anything else. Never again would he have to constantly defend his position. He’d be cured. He’d be certified. Once and for all. A surfer suffering from OSCD. Thank God for science and psychiatry. Now if only he could pull it off.
“Yes, your thoughts, and your thinking.” Dr K’s voice came slithering across his hearing once more. “Shall we begin?”
“Ja, sure, awesome.” Pity said once more before he lay back in the chair, making himself extra comfortable. “This is going to be fun. I hope you don’t mind though, but I mostly just think about surfing. So I might as well warn you now, I try not to waste time with thoughts not related to surfing. It just seems counterproductive to my mental wellbeing and emotional stability, if you know what I mean. ”
Dr K. paused and pushed a small button on one of those small voice recorders with the miniature cassettes. He coughed slightly and began. “Question one: time occupied by obsessive thoughts. How much of your time is occupied by these thoughts related to surfing? When these thoughts occur as brief, intermittent intrusions, it may be difficult to assess the exact amount of time occupied by them in terms of total hours. In such cases, estimate the time by determining how frequently they occur. Consider both the number of times the intrusions occur and how many hours of the day are affected.”
“Erm, I’m not quite sure I follow. What do you mean by how much of your time is occupied by these thoughts related to surfing? I already told you surfing is all I think about. I don’t think about anything else. Do you want to know how much time I spend thinking about what the waves are like, what the tides are doing, whether the wind is off-shore or do you want to know how much time I spend thinking about different designs, tails, rails, fins and rockers? Or do you want to know how much time I spend thinking about the past, present and future of surfing in terms of maintaining its integrity before being legitimately considered as a possible Olympic sport? Listen to me doc, I already told you surfing is all I think about. As soon as you find something better to think about, let me know. But until then…”
“So, would it be safe to say that your thinking is occupied by surf related thoughts – of whatever variety – for more than five hours each day?”
“No. I mean yes. Yes it would be safe to say that. I spend a lot more than five hours a day thinking about surfing. Actually, more like twelve to sixteen hours a day. Or to simplify it even more, how about every waking moment?”
“Okay, hmmm,” the doc coughed again and spoke softly before continuing. “Two b. Obsession-free intervals. On average, what is the longest number of consecutive waking hours per day that you are completely free of these thoughts?”
“Huh, what? What are you asking?” Pit asked, confused.
“What is the longest period of time that you have gone without having a ‘surf related’ thought?” the doctor calmly repeated.
“Geez! What! Where! How! I don’t know,” Pity replied, catching his breath, shocked by the very idea. “Why on earth would I want to do that!? Why would I want to not think about surfing, for even a single minute? What else is there to think about? That doesn’t even make any sense. That’s just crazy Doc! Crazy I tell you! Crazy! Koo-koo! Koo-koo!”
“So you don’t want to think about other things?” The doctor asked, taken aback by his patient’s sudden change of character. “Do you enjoy these thoughts? Or do you simply allow these thoughts to dominate your thinking because you are unaware of any alternatives? or because you do not possess the tools to counter these destructive thinking patterns?”
“Er… what?” Pit Pilot said, seeing as he had been staring out the window and wasn’t really listening. “What did you say?”
“Don’t you think these constant thoughts about surfing could become problematic – you know, to your general wellbeing, to leading a normal, productive, suburban life? Do you like thinking about surfing all the time? Don’t you want normal thoughts? Don’t you want to be normal?” The doctor asked.
“Yes!” Pit pleaded, “I do enjoy these thoughts, but that’s exactly the problem. I wish I didn’t, but I do! Listen doc, I know I have a problem. Can’t you just write a letter or something – something I can give to my parents, an employer or the state? I want to change, you’ve got to believe me doc, but I just don’t have the desire or drive to implement this change.
And that itself is the disease I am battling with; the inability to see the severity of this surfing disorder, this mental condition which makes me incapable of being a fully functioning member of any self-respecting financially fueled commercial community.” Pit coughed, lifted and turned his head to stare at Dr K.
“Please Doc, you gotta help me. I just want to surf. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane. That’s what I keep telling everybody. As long as I can surf I’ll be fine. Just let me surf and I’ll be fine, and everybody will be fine. You can do that, right? You can write me a prescription to surf, right? Even if it’s only single fins. I can give up quads, I was never really into twinnies that much. Single fins are fine.” He said with a feverish whine, “perhaps the occasional thruster, but single fins are fine.”
“Please, let’s try and remain professional,” Dr. K. chimed in. I am now going to ask you several questions about your obsessive behaviors.”
“Wait, sorry what was that last bit you said just now? You’ve lost me. I wasn’t paying attention. Because you know, lately I’ve been thinking; 6’4”, 21 and a half wide, two and a quarter thick, box rails, very slight rocker. Bru that thing will fly. A pocket rocket of note. A real discoverer of destiny. Ah bru!” he shouted out his sudden epiphany, “A box fin in the back so you can surf it as a single fin! What do you think, doc? Could you write me a prescription to surf a 6’4 single fin? Hey doc, do you think you could do it?”