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The Label Collector
by Chris Storn

Having previously considered myself a completely ‘normal’ person (whatever that is), following a single visit to the doctor I immediately, inadvertently, became a collector of labels. My collection was started on that very day with my first label – depression.

Being the inquisitive sort of person I am, I set out to understand what this label meant and where it may have come from and so embarked on a veritable label treasure hunt.

Well, what a can of worms that was. I have since concluded that reading books and Googling (is that even a word?) can certainly swell the size of your collection very quickly and it’s hard to slow the process down.

I managed to acquire quite a number of new labels for my collection in a very short space of time, most of which were not mine to collect as I had stolen (temporarily borrowed may be a more apt description) them through a process of self-diagnosis. These included, but are not limited to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, Anxiety, Insomnia, Psychosis and Pregnancy.

Self-diagnosis is a wonderful thing, especially where label collecting is concerned, as it’s very easy to be very good at it and I soon became a black belt. In fact I was well ahead of everyone else I knew. Sometimes I even struggled to remember all of the things I had diagnosed myself with. I liken it to when I first passed my driving test at the age of 17 and became a ‘boy-racer’ overnight; I raced everyone I could on the road and pretty much always won. What I realised as I grew up was that I was the only one in the race. Damn.

But this was different, I realised that when I told people about my collection, they were often so impressed by the sheer size of it, they simply had to rapidly move away from me in complete awe. I didn’t find this to be ideal when trying to break the ice or strike up a conversation. In fact, it was a little annoying, it’s not as though I judged them negatively for having an inferior collection to mine.

It was this realisation that I was clearly at the top of my game that highlighted to me that I needed another hobby. This label collecting malarkey could get me no further. So instead, I have taken to exaggerating the truth. To date, I am winning that too.