By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Sneezes and honks into tissue could become the Mighty Daily Journal’s corporate anthem these days.
They’re erupting all over the place. Our mild winter, it seems, is enough to turn Mississippi into a playground for microscopic bugs.
A former co-worker, who’s out there enjoying a life of ease and pension payments, had a peculiar ritual for cold and flu season. If someone coughed or sniffled, he’d stomp around the floor of the person’s cubicle. He was killing those bugs before they had a chance to get to him.
It was mostly in good fun, done with a wink and a nod, as they say. But he also did it regularly, which makes me suspect some part of him thought the stomping worked.
It certainly wasn’t the rational, hard-hitting journalism part of his brain, but on some level down deep enough to provide plausible deniability, he might’ve believed his ritual had an effect.
This might be what we pseudo-pop psychologists call “transference,” because I’m actually the one who believes magical thinking works against the illnesses of my cubicle-mates.
I don’t stomp on the ground – that’s his shtick, and I wouldn’t want to copy a true original – but I have a defense to stop the tiny invaders that lay my co-workers low.
Here’s the trick: I create a mental bubble of “No Way, No How” every time someone blows a nose or pulls a back muscle by sneezing too hard. On the outside, I’m all sympathy and empathy. On the inside, I reject the possibility that I could ever share their pitiful state.
Now that you know my secret, you’re free to try it. You’ll probably want some data about its effectiveness, and that’s where the technique breaks down.
The next time you see me, you might want to stomp the ground, just to be safe.
And wash your hands. I hear that’s supposed to help, too.
My wife recently reminded me that kids used to step on shiny new shoes when other kids brought them to school. By the way, she reminded me by stomping on my freshly bought shoes, which might give you too much insight into our twisted relationship.
I have no interest in fancy, Teflon-coated shoes in a rainbow of colors. If someone ever cracks me over the skull and robs me, it won’t be for my shoes.
I found the perfect pair with relatively simple markings, then read the words “Nike Walk.” Something about that felt like another step into maturity, so I scanned the store for tennis shoes or cross-trainers that didn’t look like they belonged to Lady Gaga.
No luck. Besides, walking is pretty much what I do.
In hindsight, I’m glad my wife stomped on the shoes. If I must walk forward into maturity, it’s good to have such a childish companion.
(Yeah, I’m going to pay for that one.)
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.