University of Illinois student organization and local anal retentives, the OCD Illini announced via weekly, symmetrical newsletter that the month of February 2015 will be known as OCD Awareness Month.
This February is a rare example of a perfect four-week month, starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday. The phenomenon only occurs every 6 or 11 years in a random pattern due to the leap year. “Really there’s no way to tell when the next one is going to happen other than checking a calendar,” said Ronald Dreaves, a calendar expert who has a PhD in calendar science from CalTech.
The last perfect February was in 2009, causing some people to wonder why the OCD Illini didn’t claim February 2009 as their month. “We did,” said Juliette Backman, president of the OCD Illini. “But the second one is more important, so we can have an even number.” The next perfect February will occur in 2026.
How can we all celebrate OCD Awareness month? According to Backman, the best way is to commemorate famous people with OCD, such as Nikola Tesla, Howard Hughes, and Justin Timberlake. “We’re people, too,” Backman said. “And we don’t appreciate jokes about OCD.”
The OCD Illini plan to host a variety of events throughout February, including a hand-washing seminar and handwriting workshops. The events will be every other day, starting on Monday, Feb. 2 in a range of even-numbered rooms across campus.
“We expect to have both OCD and non-OCD people alike at these events,” Backman said, eating a plate of peas two-by-two. “However, the attendance will be capped after we’ve reached an even number of Oceeds and non-Oceeds.”
She later explained the moniker: “The people in the OCD community call each other Oceeds as a term of endearment, but we would find it offensive if a non-Oceed called us that.”
Backman said students around campus spread the word about OCD Awareness Month primarily through noticing that February has exactly four weeks.
“I saw in the schedule planner that February starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday and I thought, someone should tell the OCD society,” said sophomore Anthony DiCappi.
Junior Elliot Fritz noted that when he was looking at February, something just “seemed off.”
“First I realized that there are only 28 days, and then I noticed that there are exactly four weeks,” Fritz said. “Does that always happen?”
Backman said that people, friends and mere acquaintances, continue to point out to her the peculiarity all the time. “Ever since the beginning of the year, people are like ‘Whoa look at this!’ like I didn’t already notice six years ago,” the club president said, rolling her eyes three times in a row.
The main concern of the OCD Illini is that the awareness month will not be taken seriously. The society is committed to weeding out all the people who claim to be OCD who really are not. “There are people who like to have all their pens facing the same direction in their pencil case,” Backman noted, stepping in between the cracks on the sidewalk.
“That’s not OCD. If you have to check every five minutes that all your pens are facing the same direction and it prevents you from living a normal life, that might be OCD, but how would I know, I’m not a doctor.”