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January 21st, 2010:

Obsession

ob⋅ses⋅sion

/əbˈsɛʃən/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [uhb-sesh-uhn] Show IPA

–noun

1. the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
2. the idea, image, desire, feeling, etc., itself.
3. the state of being obsessed.
4. the act of obsessing.

Couples newly in love are often said to be obsessed with one another.

Sports fanatics are obsessed with their team and follow every win and loss with The Unwavering Faith that their side will eventually prevail.

Some are obsessed with their jobs, their cars, clothes, or political ideology, or cats.

In human history, obsessing has played a large role in charting the course of events. Napoleon and Alexander, with their obsessions over territory; Hitler, with his warped obsession with the Jews; Dubya, with his obsession about the terrorists… (1)

Big time decisions and big time players. The paths of human histroy were spurred on by these obsessions.

But obsessions need not be world-changing.

Little kids are great at the obsession game. My son has lately been obsessed with YouTube videos – particularly one called Firetruck. He loves this simple vid that was clearly produced by some Dad for his son.

And now I have that song going over and over inside my head. And you do too if you clicked on that link.

You’re welcome.

I was reminded of the immense power of obsession the other day when my eldest sub-unit realised that her beloved Blackberry was dead and not likely to be revived without an “up to 6 week” trip to the shop.

Yikes!

She was next to hysterical! Over a phone! A phone! I mean that there were tears, anger, frustration… all rolled into one crazy, almost 17 year old, 5’8”, blonde kid who has 50% of my DNA!

Needless to say, I was extremely worried about this. It couldn’t just be a phone that was causing this distress. There had to be something else! What else was wrong? Was it serious? Could I help in some way? These were the thoughts going through my head at 3 am on the night following the tearful call.

Then, on the bus to work the next morning, I mentioned this to a fellow bus rider who is also a blogger that lives in my ‘hood. After telling her the sad tale and flapping my arms around a bit, she was like:

Meh. Chill. This is normal for a teenage girl.

And I confirmed this with a couple of work colleagues. It’s not really that unusual for a teen to freak out over something that to me is quite mundane.

This seemingly obsessive behaviour over a piece of communications equipment is not something that someone of my generation can really relate to. A phone to a teen – especially and teen girl – is more than a phone; it is a lifeline to her friends. And a teen’s friends are EVERYTHING! Bar none.

So going without a phone is going without that vital lifeline that secures a teen to the things that matter most to her. It’s not the phone per se; it is the isolation that goes with it.

Ah. I think I get it.

My daughter’s obsession with her Blackberry is every much as deep as:

  • My obsession with Leafs and their (endless and futile) quest for the Cup,
  • Harper’s obsession with a majority government
  • Christians’ obsessions with myths, and
  • Canadians’ obsession with the weather, and
  • Tiger Woods’ obsession with, uh, you-know-what

What are you obsessed with?

1. Or whatever it was that powered that tiny, tiny mind.

(1072)