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Abecedarianism (or, Lucas's Orthomania)

Abecedarii Viral Strain AB1


Country of Origin: West Germany


First Known Case: 1963


History: In the little German village of Izidor (coincidentally, the site of the Izidor Mass Combustion of 1347) in November of 1963, a gymnasium attached to a Catholic convent experienced a strange outburst of odd behavior. The child students, between the ages of 9 and 13, took it upon themselves to arrange themselves in the classroom seating chart by last name, alphabetically. The nuns tried to break them of this habit, until the students started arranging the items in the classroom alphabetically in a line as well. Pretty soon, some of the more unhinged students in geography were heard to shout as they were dragged away to the asylum, "I need to move north in front of east, in front of south, in front of west!"


After this initial outbreak, the disease, classified by Dr. Emerson Lucas of the Mayo Clinic, has broken out 16 other times, always in primary schools. It was eventually discovered to be caused by a virus of the encephalitis/hepatitis family.


Symptoms: The subject exhibits obsessive-compulsive-type behavior, seeking first to place him- or herself alphabetically by last name properly in all social situations, and to rearrange all surrounding people and eventually things in this way as well. Due to the high contagion of abacedarianism, other subjects are more than willing to assort themselves in such a seemingly illogical way.


No victim of abacedarianism above the age of 17 has ever been recorded in the literature.


Outcome: Eventually, the subject will try to alphabetize abstract concepts in his or her vicinity. The subject will constantly rearrange objects alphabetically, first by name, then by other criteria like color, age, or shape. In the most extreme case of abecedarianism, a Jesse Teasdale, age 12, in the infamous Green Bay case of 1974, actually witnessed his body's organs rearrange themselves from "head" to "toe" alphabetically, with the boy's Adam's apple, anus and appendix migrating serenely to the top of his body, while the vena cava, ulna, and Xiphoid process were found post mortem to have moved to the bottom of what became a jumbled pile of flesh. Young Teasdale was the first and only fatality from abecedarianism.


Cures: Like Young's Garrulousness, one of the only cures for abecedarianism is isolation of the sufferer in a featureless room with no items for the victim to arrange obsessively. A blindfold and restraints are introduced to avoid the fate of the Teasdale case (Teasdale was seen examining and ripping the pages out of an anatomy textbook prior to his grisly fate). Usually the symptoms pass in a week or so as the body fights the virus.


Submitted by: Dr Edmund Willips


Cross References in Lexicon: Izidor Mass Combustion of 1347, Young's Garrulousness


This is an ABC entry in the Lexicon Of Eccentric And Discredited Diseases

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