WHAT SOOTHES THE SAVAGE YOU?
Well, okay. Not always. Sometimes life is great. Sometimes it’s okay. Sometimes it sucks.
The “life is great” part takes care of itself. Likewise, the “okay” part. Not as great as, well, great, but pretty good. The sucks part is hopeless and you just have to push through. That’s a topic for another time.
But life is always stressful. There are plenty of days when life isn’t necessarily going down the tubes, but the tubes are clogged like your uncle’s arteries. The “In” box on your desk is overflowing. The kids won’t stop whining. Your spouse erased your entire season of “Downton Abbey” from the DVR to make room for Honey Booboo. Maybe no single thing is all that bad, but put them all together and you’re ready to go ape shit. Side note: if the thing that sends you over the edge is actual ape shit, you need to reassess your stress-threshold.
Anyway, whatever’s going on, you need a temporary out. You need to step back for a while and let the world get all up in its own face for a while. Or something. Point is, you need to relax.
So what do you do? You look for a pacifier, that’s what. Works for babies. Works for you.Fussy babies are soothed by suckling a plastic nipple. What are you soothed by? If you say”the same thing”, I’ll wager you’re not allowed into many clothing stores any more. Seriously, though, there is sure to be something that quiets the rage within to let you refocus. What is it?
Listen to music? What soothes you? Andy Williams (Rest in peace.) or Metallica (Rust in peace.)
Watch TV? Are you better off with a comedy, a romance or something in the Stallone/Schwarzenegger mode where crap gets blown up all the time?
Have a drink? Don’t want to become a drunk do you? Here’s the thing. Even if you don’t drink to excess, if you tell people you’re having a drink to deal with stress, well, you’re an alcoholic to everyone around you. It helps, then, if, when you say you’re having a drink for stress, you aren’t wearing a snorkel and doing the backstroke in a wading pool-sized martini.
Smoke a cigarette. GASP! Did he really suggest that? Well, no. It wasn’t a suggestion. Just asking if that’s still a commonly proffered stress remedy. Of course, many of the places you feel the most stressed – the office, the hospital, the daycare you work in because that acting career just didn’t pan out – are now off-limits to smoking by law. Have no fear! Instead of as a society collectively working together to combat the stressors that plague everyday life and make nicotine so tempting, we instead put our tobacco companies to work spending their stunningly high profits on inventing cheater “electronic” cigarettes you can smoke indoors.
By the way, can someone explain e-cigs to me? I mean, in a way that doesn’t sound like a lame justification for not quitting an unhealthy habit? You’re still smoking. Maybe there’s no tobacco, but there’s still nicotine, which is the addictive part. And then there’s the stress of looking like a doofus sucking on a plastic tube with a red light at the end of it like something out of the Toys ‘R’ Us “Who Cares About Kids” Mega-Pack.
Adult-sized baby pacifiers. Yes, you really can buy them. I wasn’t kidding about that earlier. No, it’s not important how I know that. (Goo!) Point is, pacifiers can turn a wailing infant into a slumbering tot. It seems only natural that the same idea would work on a forty-year-old accountant with an outrageous mortgage and a bad comb-over, right?
Fancy coffee. Not the black, dense sludge your dad scraped into his cup ever morning from the bottom of the percolator (You’re old. Your dad’s really old. He had a percolator. Trust me.) All that does is jump-start your heart. Until it kills you. Fancy coffee creations are what calm you down: lattes and cappuccino and what not. Just holding that overpriced cup with the little lid on it just feels good, doesn’t it? Makes you think you can handle any email the marketing division can send you.
Smartphones Need a mindless distraction from reality, or at least that family member who won’t stop yammering? Just about any app on your phone is good for hours of tranquil non-thinking. Check Twitter. Make birds angry. Open imaginary bottles of beer. Play words with friends you’d never associate with in the real world. It’s all there, waiting for you. (“Come aboard! We’re expecting you. The LOVE BOAT. Soon we’ll be…” Wait. Where am I?)
Write a blog. It’s what I did. Ta-da!
Someone pass the mozzarella sticks.