My Strange Addiction

By Bryce Taylor

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I cannot stop licking picture frames. Wood frames, plastic frames, circular metallic frames, rectangular ceramic frames, leathery antiques, dusty collectibles, South American frames, frames with inspirational quotations inscribed on them, I want to lick them all.

On the night I met my ex-fiancée’s parents, her father walked into his study to find me mid-lick with a frame circumscribing a portrait of his ostensibly Confederate great-great-grandfather. I tried to apologize, but my tongue had got caught on a splinter.

My therapist tells me we all get to decide what it means to live A Happy Life. My priest disagrees. He says, “Even if Hitler had felt warm and fuzzy standing over the carnage of a concentration camp, he was not happy. Happiness is an objective state comprising the virtues that make us truly human. Licking picture frames is not one of those virtues.” When I ask him if he is comparing me to Hitler, he says yes, in a certain respect he is. “Well, goodie,” I reply.

They have no 12-step program for me. I spend hours at a time on Amazon lusting after frame upon frame, filling up the Shopping Cart, depleting the savings that would have gone to my children’s education if my ex-fiancée had had children with me as opposed to throwing the engagement ring in the general direction of my bleeding tongue and storming out of her parents’ house on the aforementioned disastrous night.

There is something about the saliva-frame connection. Catharsis, liberation, as if every least anxiety were being excreted and given away, transfigured into a moment of glorious clarity and order and balance. I am licking a frame even now, as I type. Do I feel wonderful? Yes. Are the warm fuzzies multiplying within my gut and general chest area? Yes.

Am I happy?

Bryce Taylor