My Week 185: Good for the Soul, The Titus Challenge


Last week, we had a staff meeting and the powers that be brought in a guest speaker. We’ve had these before, always on the same topic: how to relax and be stress-free. What does it say about a job when your superiors continually think you should all calm the f*ck down? Personally, I don’t find the job particularly stressful, considering that in a previous life, I was responsible for overseeing the wellbeing and antics of over 90 teenagers a day, and regularly brought home hours upon hours of work that had to be completed on the weekend. Also, I now work with really nice colleagues who never harass me by text message or call my house late at night to yell at me. At any rate, regardless of the comparatively little stress I struggle under in the workplace, we’ve had a succession of “mindfulness” speakers. The last one told us that “anxiety is a choice” and that if we simply opted to get out of bed each day with a positive attitude, we could live anxiety-free lives, and I was like, Damn! If I had only known that YEARS ago, imagine how different my life would be?! All I have to do is CHOOSE not to worry incessantly about whether I just said something dumb, or whether my hands are clean for the fifth time in one hour, or whether my cat secretly is plotting against me (she is—I just asked her and she admitted it), and my life would be perfect. Ironically, this particular speaker then got really angry when people started leaving the room, and insisted that we were not allowed to look at our phones during her presentation, and I so badly wanted to say, “Why don’t you just CHOOSE to let that not bother you?”

The speaker this past week was much better, mostly because she used comedy to disguise her oversimplifications, and everyone loves a good laugh, am I right? The first thing we had to do was identify 3 things that we did in the past week to help us relax, write them down, and then share them with our table. I put “Wrote, Drank, Watched America’s Next Top Model” because I am nothing if not honest, and also I didn’t think anyone would believe me if I put Yoga, Meditation, Listened to a Podcast on the Benefits of Kale—they all know me too well. Interestingly, when it came time to share, everyone at my table had a variation of Drank, which either says a lot about the times we’re living in, or that I’m a bad influence on my team. But the best part was her Stress-Wheel, which was divided into sections that we needed to give attention to. My favourite was Soul, which I’m assuming was a metaphor rather than an ACTUAL soul, because I don’t think God would be too impressed if you landed at the pearly gates and you were like, “OK, I killed a few people, but I ATE KALE.” The list of things she proposed to help soothe the soul is as follows:

1) Yoga

OK, what the f*ck is with the obsession with yoga? I just googled Yoga Poses and they all look incredibly painful and not relaxing at all. She made us do a yoga pose which involve standing on one leg—how the hell am I supposed to relax when I’m freaking out about falling over in front of 100 people?

2) Walk somewhere different

I live in downtown Toronto. I walk somewhere “different” simply by stepping out my front door, and it’s not relaxing in the slightest when a large man wearing a pink mini-kilt demands that you look at his ass.

3) Don’t use a watch

If I get rid of all the things that tell me what time it is, then how will I know what time it is?! Yes, I know that time is a human construct, but if it’s not a watch, or a cellphone, it’s the sun in the sky telling me to go home. Also, I’m a grown-up, dammit—how will I know that it’s 5 o’clock SOMEWHERE if I don’t have a clue what time it is? Then I’ll be daydrinking and most likely get in trouble at work.

4) Unplug from human vacuums

This would be a great premise for a horror film about a mad scientist who turns people into vacuums, and then sends them out, like a cross between zombies and vampires, into the world to feast on the unsuspecting public who are innocently wandering around aimlessly without watches in strange neighbourhoods looking for kale chips, and every time they stop to do a yoga pose, the human vacuum attacks! And the only way to stop them is to unplug the mad scientist’s human vacuum machine, which is like a cross between an electro-shock machine, a Roomba factory, and a very large E-Z Bake Oven. (Yes, I know she meant people who suck you dry emotionally, but this is way more fun.)

5) Have a Screen Free Day

We all looked at each other and said, “Does she even know where we work?” I myself have 3 computer screens in my office, and I use all of them. And if I had a screen free day, then I would miss America’s Next Top Model, and there goes any relaxation I might get. Oh well, there’s always the drink.

The Titus Challenge

Titus: I hear you’ve stopped eating pork. You realize that means bacon too, right?
Me: Sigh. I know. It’s breaking my heart, but I saw a video recently of a pig solving a puzzle. Pigs are smarter than dogs, you know. I wouldn’t eat a dog, so how can I eat a pig?
Titus: Pigs are NOT smarter than dogs. For example, when was the last time you saw a pig who responded to commands based on Harry Potter spells?
Me: I’m sure there are pigs out there who could do that. Besides, you have a pretty sloppy Leviosa, so let’s not get carried away.
Titus: It’s Levi-OH-sa, not Levio-SA.
Me: Look at this video. She’s trained this pig to do 17 different tricks.
Titus: Damn. He gives a great high five.
Me: I know, right?
Titus: But does the Avada Kedavera spell render him seemingly dead?
Me: Dead? Like for a fraction of a second before you jump back up and try to snatch the Corn Pop out of my hand?
Titus: Dead, jumping in the air, whatever. No bacon? Now that’s harsh. OK, find me a pig that can do Leviosa better than me, and I might consider it.
Me: Challenge accepted. Accio the wine bottle, will you?
Titus: Is it 5 o’clock somewhere ALREADY?!
Me: I dunno—I’m not wearing a watch.

23 thoughts on “My Week 185: Good for the Soul, The Titus Challenge

  1. TItus has quite a vocabulary. How many pigs can say that?
    And I did yoga for a while. It was very relaxing—when we had a substitute teacher. The regular teacher was working toward an advanced yoga certification and was as flexible as a boa. The substitute was friendly and encouraging and made yoga relaxing and fun. The regular teacher made it hard work.
    What I’m saying is try it with a substitute. And combine it with wine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha… I love when the guest speakers are clueless, but then they turn out to be nice and you try to be nice and before you know it… You just wasted an hour and a half and now you are stressed cause you may not finish your work for the day…. just drink. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I ❤️ Titus. My experience with yoga was that it WAS centering, peaceful, and relaxing. Also, it jacked my rotator cuff, so I’m skeptical of its long-term benefits for the likes of me. Our district is pushing a mindfulness agenda—flavor of the day, ya know. We get a mindful moment text message which, yeah, would be better if it wasn’t followed up with 7 hours of reminding us how bad we are at our jobs. The concept of mindfulness has worked better for me away from the job. I’m not anti-mindful; I’m pro-what you said about the stress and the perception of it. Happy Sunday—mine is happier now that I’ve read your post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I did yoga for a while — maybe two years. I liked it because in order to do it, you really have to concentrate — you almost involuntarily banish all other thoughts/concerns/worries from your mind for the duration of the session. I’m a guy who’s mind is always whirring, so anything I can do to dial that down is a bonus. (But it did jack-up my wife’s shoulder, too, Wendy, hence the reason we stopped.) Nowadays, I do intense hourlong workouts at the gym, and that seems to achieve the same effect: I stop thinking about work (and other concerns) and put all my energy into concentrating on what I’m doing. But it’s definitely a challenge, in our ever-on world, to wind down and relax.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I once had an awful boss who everyone hated. When he announced he was quitting, he brought in a therapist person to discuss with the grpoup how to deal with big changes.

    As hated as he was, he should have brought in a DJ. We were ready to celebrate.

    I’m not sure we’d take a speaker trying to get us to unload stress very seriously at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. LMAO! “how will I know that it’s 5 o’clock SOMEWHERE if I don’t have a clue what time it is?” is going to be my new twitter-describer sub-title thing, or my Facebook motto or something. Do I need to put a little circle c after it, or say “all rights reserved” or something?

    But, I have to ask, why does everyone think that the reason we’re stressed is BECAUSE of modern technology all the time? It soothes me. Connectivity empowers me. I like monitors and time indicators and social media and sharks with lasers and robots to battle tyrants and all that shit. Don’t take away screens OR my drinks!

    Yoga. please.

    I’m gonna walk somewhere else, alright … outta this lecture! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So good! Oh to be in that head of yours sometimes.
    I really do have to encourage you to take a yoga class. Not because the actual class will help you relax, but because it would provide you with endless writing material, no doubt, which in turn will help you relax. Then we all get to indulge in reading about your crazy antics during said yoga class, perhaps while enjoying our favorite relaxation technique at approximately 5 o’clock. See? Win/win. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I always found guest speakers stressful at work because I’d be thinking, “Why am I listening to this speaker when I could be doing work? If I don’t do my work, I’ll have work to do at home when I’m trying to relax!” Fun post–thanks for the laughs!

    Liked by 1 person

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