July 12, 2000
*Ouch Therapy*


I know, I know. I'm not complaining about Franz nearly enough, this week.

Here you faithfully tune into *FootNotes* every day, hoping to get your daily dose of dysfunctionality and diatribes and stoopid little Post-It notes stuck to the seat of my chair ("Do you have a key to the first floor mens room? If not please obtain!") ...

... and instead, all I'm talking about is normal BORING stuff, like music and voodoo dolls and drunk unruly neighbors being hauled off to jail.

What can I tell you? We're enjoying a temporary ceasefire, here at the Totem Pole Company.

I credit the St. John's Wort for some of it.

I've been taking it for five months now -- with only an occasional accidental lapse, here and there -- and I've convinced myself that it's keeping me on an even emotional keel.

That's the key, of course. I've convinced myself that it's working. Whether or not it's having an actual, verifiable effect on my mood and my ability to cope is irrelevant.  The only way to find out if it's really working, I suppose, would be to quit taking it and see what happens. But that would be akin to listening to "Marrakesh Express," just to see if the bus DOES in fact run over me, immediately afterwards. 

Frankly, it's not a risk I'm willing to take.

Keeping Franz busy helps, too. I try to plug his calendar so full of meetings, conference calls, "business lunches" and dental implant surgeries that it provides him with a constant source of stuff to do: mainly, wandering up and down the hallways of the Totem Pole Company looking for people to attend all those meetings, conference calls, "business lunches" and dental implant surgery appointments FOR him. 

(So he can concentrate on more important stuff.  Like re-re-reheating his Top Ramen some more.)

This week I've started wearing a rubber band around my right wrist. This is my latest innovation ... a self-torture device, designed to help train me to stop saying the three little words that invariably set Franz off more than any other:

"I don't know."  

Every time I catch myself saying those offending words, I snap my wrist with the rubber band. Hard. 

I call it *Ouch Therapy.*

Franz: "Where is the VP of BFD this morning?"
Secra: "I don't know."  [snap!]  [ouch!]

Franz: "Did the marketing department order the new projector for LA?"
Secra: "I don't know."  [snap!]  [ouch!]

Franz: "What is the principal agricultural export of Portugal?"
Secra: "I don't know."  [snap!]  [ouch!]

All of this stuff is helping to keep the peace at the office. It may not be doing much for my cyber Q-rating ... but it's helping to keep the peace.

(Plus I figure that when it ultimately stops working, I can start snapping Franz with the rubber band ...)

throw a rock