Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

The defence: stressed

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By G.D. Maxwell

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m stressed out. Way out.

According to new Health Canada guidelines currently under development, my stress level is nudging the point where I’m apt to go out and steal a nice gold chain with an obscure, Polynesian-looking, totemic doodad hanging from it. Personally, I don’t think I have the chest hair or the tan to pull off that kind of jewelry. I either have to throttle back into relatively stress-free Costume Jewelry Alert or take on another few short deadline writing projects and work my way up to nicking a Rolex.

What, you ask, could I possibly be stressed out about? Fair enough. Outwardly, I appear calm to those around me. Almost comatose in fact.

But stress is a self-inflicted wound and there are any number of reasons I might be feeling more stress than usual. For example, this very minute Gary Lewis and the Playboys’ Who Wants to Buy This Diamond Ring , a thoroughly nauseating pop confection from the 1960s, is rolling around the conscious part of my brain, stuck there like a skipping vinyl album laying waste to vital synapses. I’m wondering how I’ll be able to work it into this column and keep a straight face. Guess it wasn’t that hard after all.

I could be stressed because it’s early Wednesday morning, I’ve been out four nights in a row – a personal record – and just woke up from an unsettling dream in which my Perfect Partner finally decided I was too boring and left me for an itchy-footed Englishman who cashed in his Orthodontic Trust Fund and set off on an around the world jaunt, having decided travel was more important than straight teeth.

To make matters worse, Zippy the Dog had, in the same dream, developed some sort of lower-body paralysis and was reduced to locomoting across the floor using what can best be described as the Flopping Fish Technique which, admittedly was hilarious if you could overlook the heartbreaking implications of his disability, but was made all the worse by his own sense of black humour: he wanted to change his name from Zippy the Dog to Flipper. I suspect last night’s salmon dinner had something to do with that.

It could be the new regime of Microphone Ostracism being bandied around the local council table that’s got me fantasizing about bright, shiny beads. Let’s see if I have the rules of the game straight. If one councillor’s rambling, stream-of-consciousness comments begin to wander too far off point – or too far from what everyone’s agreed to in the closed-door sessions those of us who aren’t councillors are barred from attending – the other councillors can express their dissatisfaction by bending their microphones down toward the table. Four bent mikes automatically ends the discussion.

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