The Stamp Collector's Escape

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Rarely in his recent memory has he been as happy as when he unpacked his clothes. In any drawer he pleased. He had saved this task (extra-special treat) for after the banquet. In the top drawer Alphonse delicately placed his underwear and socks, in the second his shirts, and in the last his pants. One, two, three.

--John Henry Days, pg. 129


My first impression of Alphonse Miggs isn't that he's crazy (although one could easily argue that point); it's that he is OCD. I'm not saying that people who collect stamps or anything else like that are OCD, but the whole thing with placing his clothing just so seemed a little off to me. But, once I read a little further, I'm not sure I agree with my original assumption. He's much more complex than simply OCD. Because he and his wife split their house into *his* and *her* nooks and crannies, he probably has a difficult time expressing his OCD-ness. I chucked a little when he described his basement, because it reminds me of a man-cave--it's a place where Alphonse can do whatever he wants in his little underground sanctuary, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. He's obviously not in a very happy marriage, so this is his escape. So, it should be expected that he would be on a total high when he got to go on a trip without his wife. This really would be the ultimate escape for Alphonse. I thought the whole thing about his wife seeking revenge was slightly comical. It just goes to show that the couple has very weak communcation skills, and it's really a shame that his wife would stoop to such levels. But, at the same time, is she really? Or is he just Paranoid, on top of being OCD?


EL 237

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