The USS Quad Damage

Ich uber alles!

Yet another lengthy post about my favourite subject - me.

At some point over the past few years, most of you have become aware of my extraordinary talent of letter sorting. I am now going to take this opportunity to try and explain just what I can do, how it works, and, most importantly, how it has affected me.

The skill which you are all familiar with is my ability to be fed any word, and for me to instantly give you all the letters contained in that word in alphabetical order. There are two versions of this, using my whole name as an example.

The first form is the one I'm fastest at, which involves me only saying a given letter once. This means nathan Partridge, after being said to me, comes out in a fraction of a second as ADEGHINPRT. The second way is to say each and every letter in alphabetical order (AAADEGHINNPRRTT). This second way is slower (longer words can take around 3-4 seconds, although I still suspect this is quicker than anyone else can do it), and I can sometimes make mistakes.

What's interesting about that is the second way should be easier/quicker for me. In order to do the first way, my brain has to do it the second way, and then cull down the repeating letters. Just why this is so is a complete mystery to me.

Another interesting thing I can do is to read any given text, and as I read a word, say it aloud after it being 'ordered' in my mind. I have a certain way of pronouncing any given "word", so if a word occurs more than once, I will say it the exact same way every time, even if I don't remember how I said it previously. This, combined with the way I use rhythm/cadence/whatever when saying the sentences makes it sound like a legitimate real language, as opposed to the usual faux Asian/Arabic/French that people usually do. If my family were Christian, they'd think I was speaking in tongues.

Out of curiosity, just how do non-English speakers fake English? Or are there just too many loan words to make 'patterns'?

Internally, however, is a whole different thing altogether. At any given moment, my mind is 'working on' a random word. Sort of like in the way a song can get stuck in your head, only this is happening constantly whilst I am conscious (any maybe when I'm not). The word can come from anywhere, whether I've read it or heard it said. The amount of time a specific word is being sorted can vary. Sometimes a word stays there a few days, other times I can change words every few minutes. The important thing is that this is happening all the god damn time.

Although I occasionally sort a word like I've mentioned above, it's usually done in a different manner. Using my whole name as an example.

First, it is sorted into one letter alphabetical order (ADEGHINPRT). This only occurs once, and is done totally outside of my conscious thoughts - I don't so much figure it out as I just know how it's sorted. What happens next is difficult to explain, so please point out if I've left something out/confused anyone.

I then, for the next few minutes/hours/days, sort these letters into vowel/consonant groups, going through the various combinations I can, using the following criteria...

- A group can be considered being one letter, or more than one letter. Hence, two types of groups. Consider these groups as A (a single letter) and B (multiple letters).
- No 'type' of group can be placed next to the same 'type'. That is, A/B/A, B/A/B and the like is acceptable, but A/A/B, B/B/A, A/B/A/B/A/B/A/B/B and so forth is bad. Very bad.
- In group A (one letter), either a vowel or consonant is fine.
- In group B (multiple letters), being made up of both vowels and consonants is OK, but they have to be able to be 'mirrored'. This is where it gets hard to explain, so I'll just give examples of what's good and what's bad, and then let you try and understand my criteria. V is for vowel, C is for consonant. VV, CC, VCV, CVC, VCCV, CVVC, CVCVC, VCVCV, CCVVCC and so on are good. VC, CV, VVC, CCV, VCC, CVV, VVCV, CCCV, CCCVCCCC, etc, are bad.

Going by those criteria (assuming I haven't missed something - this all does happen in both my conscious and subconscious mind), the word (in this case, words) 'Monkey Island' can be sorted as...


If there are other combinations, they aren't coming to me, and you can go eat a bag of hell if you think I'm going to find more by trying (as opposed to just letting them happen in my brain).

This sort of arranging is going on in my mind constantly. If I am actively distracted by something, such as conversation, Hapkido, deep thought, difficult problems, or anything that doesn't put my brain on autopilot, then it gets bumped to my subconscious. If my brain isn't particularly busy, it's pretty much what my head is filled with. If any of you notice I'm staring off into space, or I'm only vaguely listening to what you're saying, it's possible that the reason is because the sorting has taken over my brain. Although, it's probably because you're boring!

Incidentally, this ability probably plays a major part in why I am so damn good at things like Wheel of Fortune, Download (yes, I'm proud that I can absolutely HAMMER the 12 year old kids on the show), anagrams, and other games that involve letters.

I can vaguely remember doing this when in year 7, so this has all been going on for at least 10 years. These 'skills' are the major reason for why I haven't been able to sleep properly in all that time. Let's do a little math.

Assuming I'm awake for 16 hours a day, and it's been happening for exactly 10 years, we get 58440 hours of me consciously 'sorting'. Now, let's assume I do a single 'sort' every second (I honestly can't say how quickly it happens), we get 210380000 'sorts'. Holy shit.

How this began, and why I do it is unknown. Although I know nothing of psychology, and have never even bothered to look up what it means exactly, I suspect this is something to do with OCD. If any of you guys have friends who might know about this crap, I'd be interested to know what they think about it.

In addition to how it can make me seem as if I am mentally wandering off, it affects me in two other major ways. The first is how it messes with my sleeping pattern. At night, I can't turn off my brain. Either all this sorting fills my mind until I finally pass out around the time the sun comes up, or I can banish it from my thoughts and replace it with deep thinking, which also keeps me up until my body tells my brain to piss off.

The other problem is in relation to driving. Although, at first, driving is something that would take my full attention, eventually I would become skilled enough that I can drive on 'auto-pilot'. This frightens the absolute shit out of me, and in no way can I be trusted to drive while I'm rearranging the letters of the model of the car in front of me (or whatever). To me, driving is neither difficult enough or simple enough for it to be safe.

So, yeah. The reason for me still not having a license isn't because I'm lazy, or because I'm just not interested, it's because I'm terrified of being responsible for moving something big and heavy as a car at a high speed.

Although there are a few positives, such as it being a neat trick, and it making me an absolute machine at word games, I'd rather not be able to do it. If, indeed it is an OCD thing, and can be fixed with the regular input of some foul brew, that only brings me to my next problem. My complete and utter distrust of putting the vast majority of things into my body. Shit, hey?

So, what talents do you guys have? (Or, failing that, what's wrong with your brains?)