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April 2016, vol 12 no 1

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Ray Rasmussen

But Don't We All

Sometimes I find myself counting this or that . . . stairs as I climb or descend, the red cars I pass, lines on a page. (two so far).

A medical dictionary lists this as an Obsessive Compulsive Tendency. (That's twenty-seven letters and three caps for OCT).

Should I worry? No! After all, counting is pervasive, isn't it? Governments with GDP, personal income by state, unemployment; Banks with account balances (or lack thereof) and interest rates; Baseball with batting averages, runs batted in, home runs, errors, number of players on steroids. Visit the World Odometer Website, and you can learn the world population count (7,016,261,698 when I last looked – that's 10 figures and 3 commas in case you didn't notice).

We even count the frequency of making love. We men can learn how we stand up (excuse the pun) to a stodgy Englishman or a lusty French guy. Perhaps you've encountered that dismal statistical ditty: If you put one bean into a jar for every time you make love in the first year of marriage, and remove one for every time in the ensuing years, the jar will never be emptied.

gathering dust
in a dark cupboard –
my bean jar

I tell my therapist that I don't actually count everything, but don't mention that I know how many times he nodded his head to demonstrate empathic listening.

therapist's couch –
after only 15 minutes,
his eighth yawn

And, just to say, some things are better being counted. Friends suggest that losing count of the anniversaries is one reason for the divorce. And, others things are best not counted. For my mental health, I've given up numbering birthdays. Unfortunately, friends and family insist on counting them for me.

three fewer this year
than last –
dinners with friends


1. Dear Reader. In case you're concerned about my mental health and how much time and money I'm spending on therapy, keep in mind that haibun has room for les exagérations petites. (That's 22 indented letters – a record for me).

2. This is a revision of a haibun published in Haibun Today 6:4, December 2014.

3. My OCT pal, MS Word, has just informed me that this hybrid-haibun has 2 pages, 388 words, 1,856 characters (no spaces), 2,244 Characters with spaces, 20 paragraphs, and 63 lines.