ellesieg (ellesieg) wrote in 1word1day,

Tuesday Word: monomania

Of all the horrors your brain can impose on you – neurological disorders, cancerous tumors – perhaps the most frightening of all is monomania, an obsession with or unusually intense enthusiasm for a single thing. I guess it’s not all bad. You could end up a well-respected career monomaniac, an expert on the Prussian War or antique silver, wowing the masses with your knowledge and passion.

On the other hand, you might be walking down the street one day and stop in your tracks, overcome by the beauty of a simple fire hydrant. “Where have you been all my life?” you choke out between sobs. The moment passes and you return home, but a strange seed has been planted and is beginning to germinate. All you can think about, all you can dream about, are fire hydrants.

Before you know it, you’re doodling them in the margins of expense reports, spending hours looking at pictures of them online and losing sleep binge-ordering every related knickknack you can find. You trade your sober, sensible car in for something red and cylindrical. You donate all of your clothes and replace them with red ones – red shirts, pants, socks, underwear, wide-brimmed hats.

Finally even this is not enough, and you are carried away on the tide of your obsession. You are that weirdo the kids cross the street to avoid and the adults whisper about while tucked behind their curtains, dripping with sweat inside your custom-made hydrant costume as you lay gifts at the feet of the one that started it all, that made your life stranger and more intense but somehow BETTER. Is it really better? Does it even matter? You’re too far gone for self-analysis. All you can do is embrace it, and all the world can do is embrace you, in all your eccentric glory.

Monomania (män-ə-ˈmā-nē-ə in the IPA) is derived from the Greek monos (one) and mania (madness, obsession, enthusiasm, etc.) and was coined by the French psychiatrist Jean-Étienne Dominique Esquirol in the early 1800s.
Tags: greek, m, wordsmith: ellesieg

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