Sometimes the stress builds to such a level inside of me—similar to a pressure cooker or teapot—if I don’t find a release valve, the whole darn thing’s going to blow. I’ve found exercise can alleviate some of the stress. Chopping down trees with an axe is definitely an option, although I eventually run out of trees and the bloody blisters on my fingers and three days of sore muscles are inevitable but undesired side effects. Yelling seems to help, but the wife will only put up with so much of that and sleeping in the doghouse may have been fine in my younger years, but I’ve grown accustomed to my comfortable bed and pillow. I quit drinking, so that’s out. Drugs scare me. And besides, none of these options are practical when I’m stuck in the evening rush—what a misnomer that is—on I-355.
I’ve discovered something that does work however; a sort of miracle cure—extremely loud rock and roll. One album in particular seems to be my drug of choice. When the traffic is slowed to a crawl and the muscles in my neck and shoulders are so tight they feel like large ball bearings just under the skin, I grab the soundtrack CD from the movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and turn the volume up as high as the system will allow. If ever there was an album made that lends itself to maximum volume with little distortion, this one is it. Within a couple of songs I can feel the muscles in my neck begin to loosen up and whatever was bothering me is soon forgotten.
Like all things too good to be true, there is a catch; there are a few known side effects, but nothing to worry about. Here is a partial list: ringing in the ears for a minimum of 24 hours; blood in the ears; sore palms from pounding the steering wheel and dashboard; speeding tickets; evil stares and finger-pointing from fellow commuters; unanswered phone calls; ending up in the wrong town due to missing your exit…The question you may ask is, “Are the potential side effects worth the cure?” After minimal consideration my answer would be, “Crank it up!”