TAP-TAP By James D. Reed



Genesis, Rules and Regulations, and Psychological Problems Encountered with my brother’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

1. It Begins

Bro, as I recall, the genesis of tapping came about in the early- to mid-fifties while in the family Ford Fairlane station wagon enroute from Ohio to Florida, on summer vacation. I was seven and you were just into your teens. Dad drove down I-75 which was still under-construction. The interstate petered out in a baffling display of orange barrels onto old US Route 27, somewhere in Kentucky. This two-lane highway ran straight through the downtown of cities and towns along the way, including Knoxville, where, one time, we stopped at a traffic light and noticed opposite a business with the name “Arnold’s Tap Room” lettered on the doorfront.

At the time we didn’t know that a tap room was a drinking establishment, where beer was served on tap along with liquor, accompanied with peanuts and pretzels in little dishes down the length of the bar. I figured it was a tap dance studio, but you said, No, it had to be a place where people simply sit and tap. And so we began imitating the tapping people hidden in the dark depths of the place. We tapped our way to Florida and back—on the car seats, the dashboard, the windows—and drove our parents nuts, preoccupied as we both were with this screwy little ritual.

Fixated on it, you eventually came up with the “Rules of Tap-Tap”: One must tap only twice—not once, not three times—or start over again. Boy, you would not let go of your rules. You just kept tapping ‘til the cows came home. I recall Mom and Dad carting you off to the first of many visits to Dr. Finkelmann. And the resultant confinement to St. Allobiosis for—what was it before your escape?—five years.

But I’m thinking now that to adhere to such simplified and contrary rules does a disservice to the tapping response. I suggest, dear brother, and will post on my Facebook page as the only way I know of reaching you, this in-depth review of the real consequences of overtapping—as well as undertapping. Following is my revised Rules and Regulations governing

Tap-Tap. I hope you are out there somewhere safe and warm and sane enough to read and accept these thoughts. It’s for your own good and well-being.

2. Twenty-first Century Promulgation of Tap-Tap Procedures

The Tap-Tap Unit

A Tap-Tap “unit” shall be considered as one tap followed immediately by a second tap, both having been tapped in the same location by the same finger. By immediately, it shall mean that no more than two seconds transpires between the taps within the Unit.

Overtapping of a Unit

If more than two seconds elapses between the dual taps of a Unit, it shall be construed as a Plus-false tap-tap, requiring a prompt response involving a properly adhered-to tapping Unit as outlined above, utilizing the same finger that produced the incorrect overtap.

Undertapping correction of an Overtap

If, however, a Unit is “undertapped”, (i.e., one tap is produced and never followed by a second tap), this shall be ruled a Minus-false tap-tap, again requiring the remedy of waiting at least one minute before a correct tap-tap Unit is produced on the same object or surface [italics indicating the seriousness of this correction] as the Minus-false tap-tap. In this case, a different finger than the one used in the initial undertapping may be used in the correction.

If the undertapped Unit cannot be rectified within the parameter of the one minute correction procedure outlined above (i.e., the object or surface incurring the original Minus-false tap-tap is no longer available), then at least one entire twenty-four hour period must pass before any further tapping takes place.

At that time it will be necessary to produce a correct Unit (as outlined above in the Tap-Tap Unit definition), without further mistakes, or another twenty-four hour cycle goes into effect before a third correction.

3. The Three Taps Conundrum of a Tap-Tap Series

If for any reason a Tap-Tap Unit is ignored as either being undertapped or overtapped, as in the instance of three taps in a row with less than five seconds between taps, then this will be construed as a Three-Tap Paradox, with very severe consequences [italics indicating the seriousness].

Three Taps must be dealt with immediately by performing one dozen absolutely correct Tap-Tap Units, waiting precisely no less than fifteen seconds between each successive Unit. This will be referred to as a Tap-Tap “Series”.

A Series is allowed only as a corrective measure for the Three-Tap Paradox, and cannot be performed as a completely compulsive, repetitive action on its own (i.e., in times of really overboard obsessiveness). If for any reason a Series is executed without having been done as an adjustment for Three Taps, well—who the hell knows what happens then? It just can’t be done. Period. There is no recourse except for having the entire ability to Tap-Tap revoked which, of course, may produce a severe psychological malfunction of your Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and a return to St. Allobiosis.

So it is best to keep in mind that under absolute 100 percent circumstances [italics indicating the seriousness of this correlation] Three Taps is to be avoided like an anthrax-laced love letter.

4. The Smartphone Contradiction

I assume you have a smartphone by now. What about tapping on this device? You can’t possibly get away from it, right? Tapping the screen can violate all the above rules and regulations to the point that the obsessive-compulsive disorder will become mindboggling. Sometimes a single tap is necessary; other times three or more taps come into play, particularly when texting (itself, a neurotic and quite possibly harmful obsession). Swiping also counts as a tap.

How to resolve this problem and stay safely within the parameters of the proper Tap-Tap Unit?

The answer is simply rigid self-control. This entails completely overcoming the OCD that has led to excessive and toxic tapping in the first place. This will undoubtedly require repeated professional help for us both. I’ll ask Finkelmann to pencil in a double-date as soon as I find out where the hell you are, dear brother of mine.

You can do this, bro. We both can—as a familial unit, together. A tap-tap unit.