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Yesterday, Turnbaby was talking about people flying their freak flag high, and that got me thinking:

I am a control freak. I’ve been told that by obnoxious fuckers thoughtful employees, family members, and people I pass on the street. Everyone uses it pejoratively, but I take it as a compliment. Why is being a control freak a bad thing?

Clearly, you can never be fully in control of a situation. It’s impossible. There is always going to be some element of spontaneity and chance. You could be locked in your room with padded walls and a meteor could crash through your roof. The first step of being a good control freak is to realize that not everything will go according to plan.

The second step is making sure that you will control everything that you can control. This way, barring any unforeseen meteors, gas main explosions, wolf attacks, or power outages, things will operate as you expect them to.

The third step is realizing that most people are lazy idiots. If you put your trust in them, they will let you down, and if you trust them to perform some task that you see as vital, they will invariably make an error or fuck it up in some way. So, even if you have to delegate tasks to other people, it’s important to keep on top of each person on a very regular basis until you know that they’ve handled their task perfectly.

Finally, it’s important to be aware that you can be a control freak and still be flexible. Instead of creating only one option, come up with several, all related to different scenarios. This way, no matter the outcome, you have a solution.

A good control freak can make sure that things work as expected, that everything happens as it should, and that accidents and fuck-ups are at a minimum. And that means that everything works smoothly and things work efficiently! It’s very simple and it’s clear to me that the world needs control freaks if shit’s gonna get done.

Without control freaks, things get out of control. Parties run out of food or booze. Cars get in accidents. Typographical errors are made. Clients are forgotten. It’s a huge ball of chaos!

Here are the ways that I’m proudly a control freak:

1. I only go places where I know I’ll be comfortable.
2. I hate to let others drive and will always drive if at all possible.
3. I hate to fly.
4. I don’t drink, mainly because I don’t want to be out of control.
5. I research carefully before making any major decisions.
6. I don’t let other people schedule anything for me.
7. It’s important for me to be aware of what’s happening.
8. I don’t like to let anyone else plan events.
9. I hate “winging it”.
10. I despise surprises.
11. I plan for contingencies (e.g., packing three times the amount of underwear and socks, bringing extras of everything).
12. I’d rather host something than go to someone else’s house as a guest.
13. I wish that I could calculate every possible outcome.
14. I hold myself to the same standard to which I hold others.
15. If I’m in control and things don’t go well, I only have myself to blame. It’s just much easier than blaming someone else for being a retard.
16. I try to avoid rollercoasters and other types of machinery that are being maintained by idiots making minimum wage.
17. Once I know a food that I like, I stick with it. Why experiment and risk getting something bad, thereby ruining the entire time?
18. If I’m not one of the decision makers of a group, I’d rather not participate.

What type of freak are you?

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69 Replies to “Controlfreak”

  1. Karl

    Oh shit, man. How long have you got? I’m definitely phobic in the social arena, though most people say they could never tell.

    And if I miss the previews at the movies, I’ll just skip the whole movie and go to another show.

  2. Jay

    I agree with most of those. Especially the one about wanting to be the one doing the driving. I’ll tell people I’ll just meet them somewhere just to avoid having to ride with somebody else.

  3. Melanie

    Except for 5, 16, and 18, I am right there with you.
    I didn’t understand why, when I smilingly referred to myself as a classic Type A personality, my then-boss and coworker burst into almost hysterical laughter. Now, having spent some quality time by myself, I get it.

    I’m not just Type A, I’m a wingnut.

  4. AnnieB

    I’m a freak of nature – a hermaphrodite. So you see that explains why you’ve always been attracted to me,

    Sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but there just never seemed to be the right moment…


  5. Girl, Dislocated

    I’m sure I’m many kinds of freak. Control freak is definitely one of them. I too have the experience of being called a control freak as if it was an insult, but far too many unpleasant situations–ranging from minor inconveniences to small disasters–have been averted thanks to my control freak tendencies for me to see it as anything but a useful personal quality.

    You made an excellent point about the imprudence of relying on others, but I think the possibility of deliberate sabotage is something that should also be taken into account in addition to run of the mill laziness, idiocy, and incompetence. Does that make me a paranoid freak too? Or does that still fall under control freak?

  6. Avitable

    Amanda, I wish I could be like that sometimes!

    Bethie, no doubt!

    Karl, same with me! I like to get to the movies about 20-30 minutes early.

    Jay, recently, I’ve had to ride with Britt many times, and it’s so hard to do.

    Hello, sounds like a plan!

    Dave, just a little!

    Melanie, yup! Same here.

    AnnieB, awesome. I suspected as much.

    Girl, Dislocated, that might be a bit of the paranoid freak, too. And “Controlfreak” was supposed to be a clever turn on “Superfreak” by Rick James, except I couldn’t find it on mp3 to play as part of the post.

  7. Penelope

    I come from a long line of female control freaks and I’m definitely getting worse as I get older. I absolutely prefer to be in the driving seat, literally and methaphorically. (Damn it’s early to be typing such long words!)

  8. Girl, Dislocated

    Oh. “Superfreak.” Duh. :dunce: :lmao:

    You attribute your hatred of flying to you being a control freak. I think the probability that a greedy or jealous coworker/employee/employer will purposefully attempt to screw you over is greater than the probability that the plane you’re on will crash. (Look at the number of embezzlement convictions versus the number of plane crashes in any given year, for example.) Maybe being a control freak involves some degree of paranoia? Or maybe paranoia is just the term used by non-control freaks?

    Or should I just give in and fly my paranoid freak flag?

  9. Mike

    Ways that you are not a control freak:

    1) You let us post all kinds of unmoderated comments.
    2) Those toenails rule your feet. I would think a control freak would have nealty trimmed toenails.

    I’m with you on almost all of them (except 4, 9, 17, 19.). And you should see my toenails.

    BTW, “Superfreak” is Lovely Wife’s theme song. Whenever she enters a room it plays in my head.

  10. headbang8

    Oh, Avi. Where’s Dr. Freud when we need him?

    I am absolutely the same as you.

    Mine is a family of control freaks. Control freaks and victims.

    It’s not a wholly happy way to be, is it?

    I would love to write you a screed on this subject. But life (glorious, funny, infuriating, out-of-control life) has got in the way. Frankly, I let it.

    But the subject bears further reflection and a thoughtful response. I’ll get back to you.

  11. Lisa

    Oh. My. God. I am the female version of YOU. Someone, send help. I am a total control freak for every single reason that you have listed. I must have my own car when I go somewhere because when I want or have to leave…I HAVE TO LEAVE! I’ll admit that it makes me NUTS not to have control over my own situations at all times.

    Children really throw a curve ball into my control freakishness.

  12. Avitable

    Penelope, methaphorically? Is that when you’re not being literal and high on crystal meth?

    Girl, Dislocated, there is some degree of paranoia, sure. But I think you might want to fly your paranoid freak flag high and proud.

    Dan, your poor bladder can’t do what it wants?

    Mr. Fabulous, no, not a psycho . . .

    Turnbaby, you inspired me, what can I say?

    Mike, those are some good points. And does your wife know that this is her song?

    Britt, everybody needs a Gremlin in their lives.

    Headbang, ooh, I’ve got some victims, too, in my family.

    Lisa, yet you come across crazier somehow . . . πŸ˜›

    Sandi, sad to say? No, it’s a good thing!

  13. turnbaby

    I’m the type of freak that defies classification.

    I plan for contingencies(you should see how I pack LOL) yet I’m very comfortable winging it–as long as I am in charge.

    I like to be in charge and make decisions but work well in groups–as long as I think the others in the group have a brain and common sense that they employ.

    I love to fly.

    One cool thing about liking control is getting to a place where you can learn to completely give it up every now and then. It’s awesome.

    I have lots of thoughts on this–you’ve inspired me right back.

  14. Poppy

    I’m a supah freak.

    Please never again use the word “pejoratively” in my presence. It reminds me of my English teacher I had the sex dream about.

    Thank you very much, and have a nice day.

    (See how I just controlled you?)

  15. ADW

    I am control freak-ish. So not as bad as you. Like the drinking thing would be hard to give up. Instead, I just try to not do shots. Then I stay in control. Mostly.

    I HATE surprises. HATE them. Really HATE them. And bag ladies.

  16. Em

    I’m definitely not a control freak although there are certain things I feel I should oversee. Like, as much as I’d like help with house cleaning, if I don’t do it myself it doesn’t get done right.

  17. Avitable

    Turnbaby, I have no desire to completely give up control.

    Heather, well, I won’t be drinking. And flying’s no big deal – I’ve flown many times before. I just hate it.

    Poppy, did your English teacher treat you pejoratively when he spanked you?

    Robin, no wonder you don’t meet many people!

    Golfwidow, I’m a Steve Carell freak.

    ADW, bag ladies are creepy.

    Crystal, shhh.

    Britt, πŸ˜›

    Em, that’s one area where I let the house cleaners do their job and leave them alone!

  18. Hilly

    I’m a sleep-freak, which may be like being a control freak in a way. Shawn and I sleep very different hours and I get super pissed when he comes in the room at 11PM just as I am winding down by watching TV in the dark and turns lights on and makes tons of noise.

    I actually made a whole set of rules regarding life after 10PM, hahaha! Seriously, I have to get up at 6am and he has to get up at 9:30am. I need mah beauty rest!

  19. Lynda

    I am with you on #2, 4, 14, 15, 16. I also agree with #1, but I have had to go places I haven’t been comfortable. I just don’t like it. I love flying, though.

    I guess I am not that much of a control freak.

  20. On a Limb with Claudia

    I could tell you were a control freak by your “about” page. People who are really controlling are usually most concerned with controlling what other people think of them. Yay.

    I’m just a freak – that’s all. One of those “different” people you like being around because you feel good when you’re around them. But, of course, you make fun of them behind their back. That’s me.

    (I married the guy who swore he’d never say anything about me to anyone – and he’s stuck to it. Oh he’s not hairy either!;)

    Maybe I should take some “control my image” lessons.

  21. Jordie

    “17. Once I know a food that I like, I stick with it. Why experiment and risk getting something bad, thereby ruining the entire time?”
    Then how did you possibly come across one of your all time favorite concoctions –chocolate syrup with burritos?

  22. Avitable

    Poppy, like that’s hard to do!

    Hilly, these rules won’t apply in Philly, will they?

    Finn, I guess we’ll see in about a month.

    Tracy, yes, you clearly are.

    Penelope, heh.

    TMP, same here.

    Sarah, so you don’t want to suck on my feet? Is that what you’re saying?

    Lynda, I just won’t go places where I’m not comfortable. I’m stubborn.

    Stephanie, pfft. Like I believe that!

    Mike, awww, so romantic.

    Amy, yeah – the fair roller coasters are the really frightening ones.

    Claudia, what did my about page tell you that made you think that?

    Othurme, I rarely say it, but that’s because most people don’t bother to ask.

    Jam, join the awesome club!

    Grant, you did a do-over on your birthday? Dude.

    Poppy, weird Poppy!

    Princess Jordana, it was an accident from eating a microwave burrito and making chocolate milk.

  23. Sybil Law

    I think I am a control freak, but I make conscious efforts to keep it under control. Which, really, is completely hilarious.
    But what I mean is, I really make myself try new things and I have to get that I cannot possibly control every little thing. Having a kid made me a freak for a while who required Xanax to sleep. I was too worried about everything. Literally – like a tree falling on her room in the middle of the night!
    However, like you pointed out, being a control freak has many advantages. I always have some random thing someone needs at almost any time.
    But I think most of that is just being a mom, too.
    Anyway, I am definitely a freak of some sort!

  24. NYCWD

    I don’t think I’m a control freak. There are some things I can control, which therefore I do… and other things I have no control over BUT can be affected by things I DO have control over… and yet other things I have no control over NOR have anything that control it… yet.

    Soon… I will have a weather control machine from Dr. Honeydew… and then it’ll be hurricane season all year long.

  25. Hoatzin

    Perhaps I’m only half as freaky as you, based on my reactions to your 18 ways (and MY toenails are spiffy, ladies!)

    But here’s something that just makes the veins in my neck explode: having to watch someone else use a computer, badly, and not being able to club them senseless, fling them from the chair and do it myself, in 1% of the time.

    Like watching a VP try and update a spreadsheet.

    Or my otherwise very worthy co-worker use PhotoShop.


  26. Katie

    Oh my God – number 17 I can totally relate to! I hate it when I go out for dinner and Phill whines at me because I got the same thing I always get. I agree with you – why risk getting something disappointing? I KNOW the chicken is good, I LOVE the chicken, so why on earth would I want to get the DAMN FISH!?!?!


  27. kapgar

    There’s one restaurant that Katie and I always order the same dish. It’s not because we’re afraid of experimentation as many of their dishes look fantastic. But we just love these two dishes so much and we so rarely get out to this restaurant that we want our first loves. Is that weird?

  28. Avitable

    Sybil, so you control yourself, eh? And Britt’s a mom, and she never has anything that anbody needs at any time.

    NYCWD, you and your hurricanes!

    Freelanceguru, you could just set up a redirect, you know.

    LizB, I’m like that with drugs, too.

    Hoatzin, yeah. I usually push them away and just do it myself. It’s infuriating1

    Mrs. RW, I blame everything on Britt.

    Trukindog, yup!

    Katie, maybe Phill needs to be talked to.

    Stephanie, let’s see it!

    Stacy, but it’s a good thing, remember?

    Kapgar, not at all. Makes perfect sense to me.

  29. On a Limb with Claudia

    ‘k, it’s called an “about” page and there’s very little information about you – it doesn’t say how old you are, if you’re married, what you do for a living, like most people’s do.

    For fuck’s sake, mine at least says that I’m a middle child – like that was in question.

    (shrugging) It’s not a big deal to be controlling – everyone around you knows it – it’s just how seriously you take it.

  30. Avitable

    Claudia, you’re right about the birthday, but that’s not anything to do with control. It’s just that I’ve been blogging for four years, so I don’t want to have to go in and change my age every year. I just have a whole week celebrating my birthday!

    But the rest of it is there – you must not have read much. I have a whole section on my wife, a whole section on my family – they’re all just linked in my “100 Things About Avitable” section.

    So I do agree that I’m a control freak, but I don’t think my about page identifies me as such. Maybe I’m just ignorant of how obvious it is, though. :boobs3:

  31. ishani

    I am 21 and I already realise what a hard assed bitch I about to be in a few years. So, yeah your post could have just been written by any control freak in the world, coz i think we all share the same emotions.
    People in my class think i am whacked out simply because i wont accept their shit. I really do take that as a compliment.

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