Stress Test

By Larry Teren

Dear Diary,

Just between you and me, I laugh at those celebrities who brag about going to psychiatrists. It’s like a birthright for them. Almost as if it is one of the prerequisites in order to become famous in show business. Me- I don’t need a shrink. I self-analyze, right?

Remember when I wrote that Ma said I needed to go to anger management class? I told her that I needed to go to impatience management class instead but that I just didn’t have the time to do it. Well, now I realize it isn’t impatience I suffer either- it’s stress.
Continue reading “Stress Test”

Life’s Progress Display

Why can’t real life be like downloading files where you get to see a progress display of how far it has gone, how much more to go and an estimated time it will take to get you to the promised land? I’m not talking about the big picture where you want to know how many more years left to your life. Even if you were at that age eligible to join AARP and were told that you have another 30 to 40 years yet on this planet, you’d start doing the countdown, selling all your assets and going into a deep funk. No one wants to know when it is time to check out to that big condo in the sky.

I’m talking about those of us who are members of the Patience Haters Club. In order to stay cool, calm and collected at all times, we need artificial pacifiers that help us get through the rough moments of not knowing. Like pushing the button for the elevator and not seeing an indicator that lets me know what floor it is on and being able to watch it inch the indicator light towards my floor number. Or being able to quickly determine if the elevator that stops on my floor is going up or down.

Or sitting at a stop light that seems to be out of rhythm with traffic flow as I keep looking at the cross light waiting for the damn green to switch to yellow as notice to get ready to ram my foot on the accelerator. Or sitting on the phone listening to an innocuous presentation of loud and unappealing music while waiting for the customer service person to pick up. The better companies have systems that inform you that you are third in the queue with an estimated wait of two minutes. Even if it is lying through its robotic teeth, at least you have something to hang your hat on. The wait doesn’t seem so bad knowing that you haven’t been forgotten.

I’m one to rely on expiration dates on food labels at the grocery store. I will not buy anything past an expiration date even if it is discounted. My doctor says that I can take aspirin type pills sitting in the medicine cabinet several months past expiration. Easy for him to say- he ain’t taking it.

It would probably be the best for both parties involved if they could publish expiration dates on relationships. When you start dating someone seriously, it may be a good idea for both to put in writing how long it is going to last, including the marriage. This way, it won’t come as a shock and psychological issue to deal with when it ends in break up or divorce. A progress display would be great if it could then indicate “four months into it, three months left.” And if something occurs that was not planned, it would inform you, “relationship has either crashed or frozen. Please reboot your life.”

While going to school as a kid, you constantly receive progress displays. You know how far you’ve gone and what you have left to learn. However, no one tells you the truth about what to do after you’ve finished school. That’s like getting off the elevator and not knowing where you want to go. The truth is that education is a lifetime process. The progress display never ends until you do. No expiration date printed on the label of getting schooled about life.

And so far I haven’t found a reason to join AARP. Maybe it’s because I still see that the arrow has not reached the downside yet.

The End is a Good Beginning

According to the new rules of etiquette when someone wants to tell you the ending to a movie that you haven’t seen yet, don’t stop them. Let them. They’re doing you a favor even if it is a must-see film.

Hey, don’t tell me I’m wrong. I’m only suggesting what so-called Internet experts say is the best way to communicate. That is- get to the point right away and work your way backwards. If writing is your bag, put something down on paper that draws interest and then the reader will hopefully be hooked and continue to read. Internet experts say that a visitor abandons a blog very quickly if it starts with “Once upon a time … “. For example, if I had started telling you the story of the effort to save Private Ryan and not got to the ironic twist of fate until the very end, you’d be thinking “wake me up when the bore is done. I don’t need to listen to a story of soldiers going through enemy territory. I’ve seen it so many times before”. If you don’t already know about this 1998 World War Two movie, Captain John Miller (played by Tom Hanks) saves Private Ryan from being captured or killed by the Nazis. Just when you think all ends happily, Miller is shot, sits on the escape bridge stunned and in shock knowing that he has been hit and slowly bleeds to death.
Continue reading “The End is a Good Beginning”