It’s exam time at our home. My college juniors are taking finals. I remember finals. (And I remember the professors, who on the last day of class, assigned papers due the day of our class final—I’m sure Dante would have reserved a place for them in his Inferno.) At any rate, the stress level in our house has risen. Ariel copes by studying until her eyes melt. Luke copes by watching the Yankees. I’m not sure how it helps. Does dialoguing on Raul Ibanez’s on base percentage distract you from the upcoming American Chemical Society’s exam for Physical Chemistry? (During the discussion, Matt reminds us that 82.01% of statistics are made up.)
I realize a lot of people take study breaks and watch television. This makes no sense to me. When I was in college, neither I nor any of my roommates watched TV. Of course, we didn’t have one in our apartment, so that makes a difference. We were a bunch of stress cleaners—so we’d burn off our nervous anxiety with work. It went something like this. I had an exam in Elizabethan literature and I had to memorize 50 sonnets—yes, 50. So I’d take a break and scrub the shower with a toothbrush. Death to mold and mildew. My roommate needed a break from Boolean Algebra—she mopped the bathroom and kitchen floors on her hands and knees. Another roommate had a nasty Econ exam, she vacuumed the floors, dusted every surface, and scrubbed the counters. Roommate #4 bleached everything. By the end of finals, our apartment was so clean you could eat off the floor. Probably even the toilet lid (though that’s too gross to contemplate), though all the bleach and ammonia might make your eyes water or poison you.
Why can’t my kids be stress cleaners? All I’m asking for is one, maybe two, stress cleaners. I’d really like that. What about you readers? What crazy things do you do to cope with stress?