You know how couples have secret gestures or safe words?  You are at a party and you agree ahead of time that if it sucks and one of you wants to leave you will tug your left ear twice.  Or you have agreed that if an argument is getting too hot you stop if someone yells “banana.”  Or, you are in bed having agreed to get a little kinkier when  you sense he may be about to urinate on you and you yell “vanilla” to stop that.

Well, I am not part of a couple but I have decided I need a safe word for myself when my thoughts begin to escalate to that point where instead of gently questioning I go straight to setting fire to my subject and feel an adrenaline stoked sense of satisfaction if  the subject actually blows up and takes nearby buildings with it.

Remember a couple months back when I shared my story about the guy I decided was a Nigerian scam artist and I went full Homeland Security in conversation?  Then I beat myself and grieved for days because I thought my paranoia had finally gone too far and destroyed what could have been the love of my life when he responded that I was nuts.  I even talked to my therapist about it to admit to him I just wasn’t fixable

Well I saw Oliver online again recently except now his name is Olivier.  You see, I took a picture of his page in the event my bank account did actually come under attack.  When I saw Olivier the other day I just thought I must have forgotten that was his name,…despite being a rather odd name for a guy who looks more Irish than me.  I double-checked and wouldn’t you know it?  It was Oliver when I was talking to him.  Well, hello my Nigerian friend.  Guess I wasn’t crazy after all.

Once again, my extra paranoia is not paranoia at all but incredibly astute K9 cop like scent hunting skill.  I am not crazy.  I am just far more highly sensitized to danger than the average bloke.  I know danger is coming before danger even knows it’s coming.   And I am not going to feel bad about that anymore or accept the weird look people give me to indicate they feel sorry I suffer from such madness.  The only regret I have is going into customer service when I should so clearly have been CIA.

Regardless.  When my therapist and I discussed this flaw in my design I did learn something.  My therapist didn’t think I was paranoid at all in any kind of clinical way.  He did, however, think my “blow up everything” reaction could afford to be tempered.  I actually agree.  I think I can be suspicious a little more calmly.  We decided there are ways I can interrogate subtly and still arrive at the answer I need without ever worrying I have gone too far to go back should I be wrong.  Water boarding does not need to be my first technique.  Hence the need for a safe word.  When I feel myself reaching for the matches and gasoline, I am to say to myself “Oliver.”  I will then ask more questions, create harmless little tests against my theories and make a calm decision while unarmed.

Fuck you, Nigerian friend.  I am onto you and I was onto you then.