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Monday, July 19, 2010

Past Tension

“You’re upset.”

“What makes you think so?”

“You’re doing Frito shots again.”

When I’m having what the Captain lovingly calls “the days Homeland Security doesn’t have a color for,” I like to soothe my ruffled hormones with a mixture of Fritos and M&M’s. I take a handful of each and slam dunk them into my mouth like Michael Jordan down the lane at the buzzer. Crunch time. With a candy coating.

I don’t want to say I’m stressed, but I bought a case of each at the local warehouse store and I have them stored in those never-ending watering dishes you get for your dog so that he’s never thirsty. If I play my cards right, I can munch my way through July without ever getting up. I won’t even have to change clothes. I’m wearing stretchy pants and they’ll just grow along with me.

I don't know if I’m more stressed than usual, but I’m so high strung these days that if I flex my pinky my shoes come untied, my glasses fly off, and I lose control over important bodily functions, such as the ability to locate my keys inside my Aigner bag. I sneezed at the office the yesterday and someone had to throw a blanket over me and run for the Bounty. The cell phone in my pocket called emergency services. In Australia.

I’ve noticed that women react to stress differently from men. When searching for something that he needs urgently and cannot locate in a nano-instant, my husband finds it soothing to toss random objects out of his path and assign creative swear words to best fit the scope and purpose of each object. His trusty Lab waits nearby for moral support, ready to pitch in and chew a shoe or take a nap if the situation merits immediate action.

Curiously, it appears that we also turn up the tension knob over different things.

I get upset because supper is late, somebody’s teacher is threatening emergency action again because of a wildlife sighting in her chair and while she’s at it, a mention of Huckleberry Finn on the back of a cereal box is not the same as reading the novel, and there's a spider sending semaphore signals from a web in the bathroom that would support the weight of Tarzan on a junglewide jaunt. Also, there is a $70 tennis shoe in the litter box.

The thing that worries me most is the shoe.

Why is there just one? And which of those careless cats wore the thing in there and left it? I’ll jut have to watch and take note if I see Fluffy hobbling down the hall in a single Reebok. I see disciplinary action in the future. He's irresponsible with tennis balls as well.

The Captain, on the other hand, is distressed that his DVD of Dr. Who episodes is turned the wrong direction on the shelf--obviously the work of housebreaking ninjas with a time travel complex. It’s not like he can watch any DVDs anyway, because the player doesn’t work without the remote, and I think that’s what I saw peeping through the Fresh Step in the litterbox after breakfast this morning. Fluffy the cat is quite diverse in his hobbies.

All in all I think I’ll take the easy way out when it comes to stress. I’ll cook dinner for the in-laws, redecorate the house, and teach the teenagers to drive all at once. After that, everything else will look easy.


Terri Coop said...

O.M.G. this is funny! Great, now I have a complex and believe that my first Erma article will wilt beside all this hilarity!

I, too, have reached the age where I pay attention to commercials about hot flashes and calcium supplements. Hey, it beats the alternative!

I stumbled ya and followed ya and will be back. Did I mention this was funny? Funny is in short supply in my life these days, thanks for the transfusion.

EIT (Erma-In-Training)

Beth Bartlett said...

Don't worry, Terri, she intimidates us all with her talent. Amy, you have hit the nail on the head with this one. From the phrase 'Frito shots,' I knew exactly where you going, LOL. A fantastic post that had me laughing all the way through!

Amy Mullis said...

Oh, how you two go on. I mean it. Go on!

Thanks for stopping by. And don't think I won't steal punchlines from either one of you. You're terrific!

Nancy said...


As your friend and a licensed psychotherapist, I must advise you on one point-

That Frito/M&M combo is the bomb and makes Prozac look like aspirin. You go, girl!

colbymarshall said...

When I'm stressed, I tend to try to do "regular" things, but I try to do them really FAST. It's quite odd and probably ups my stress more than decreases it. Maybe I should take to cleaning like you- my house would look a lot better!

Amy Mullis said...

Nancy, You are my hero. You always know the right thing to say.

Colby, don't ever let anyone think I inspired you to clean. It would ruin my reputation!