Several months ago, after seeing my wife stealthily slide a legal size folder into her file cabinet and lock the door, I did what any anxiety ridden person would do, I called my best friend, Troy.
“My wife’s leaving me.” I told him over the phone. “She told me last night that I am driving her crazy with all my nervous agitation. She has a file folder.”
It’s not like Troy was surprised. He knew my nervous habits were more than just a nuisance and had attempted to help over the years by convincing me to try a host of stress reducing activities. I dabbled in meditation, joined a gym, and even purchased an expensive float tank that promised “no more anxiety” if I’d just float in its warm, salty waters once a day. $3,000 later and looking like a five-hundred-year-old-raisin, I was still incessantly tapping my foot, chewing on pencils, biting my fingernails and clicking the remote cover on and off.
Troy invited me to lunch, like any best friend would do. Sadly, I spent the entire hour ruminating over what that flimsy file folder might contain. To my relief, and his, Troy finally told me to shut-up. Afraid I’d go off again, he quickly confessed that he too had been affected by my non-stop jittering and inability to listen.
My heart sank. He was right; I rarely heard a word he spoke to me.
A few days after our heart to heart, Troy came by my office and announced he could help save my marriage, and our friendship. He set a small box on my desk and then left without another word. My mind began its usual death spiral, guessing what marvel cure could squeeze itself into that small container – was it a referral to another therapist; a Zoloft prescription; a yoga membership; a piece of fine jewelry? Round and round I went until I had completely exhausted myself.
Finally, I picked up the box and removed the lid. Inside was nothing more than a little, blue and white toy. “A used fidget spinner,” I said, underwhelmed. “Is this some kind of joke?”
My best friend believed a little kid’s gadget was going to solve my adult size problems. I didn’t know whether to laugh or be offended. He’d obviously picked up the trinket at a chamber event because I vaguely recognized the logo of a local dry cleaner printed right in the middle. I was about to toss the toy into the trash when I noticed the handwritten note in the bottom of the box. “Try it,” was all it said.
It seemed too simple, but with my marriage on the line, I decided I’d take it for a spin. You know what? It worked!
Instead of my mind spinning out of control, this pocket-sized-miracle was instantly doing the heavy lifting. The more I used it, the more I was able to focus, control my anxiety and be present.
A few weeks after receiving my therapeutic toy, my wife revealed the contents of her legal folder – genealogy research. She wasn’t divorcing me after all. She just wanted a record of her family tree without me bringing all my crazy energy to a hobby that she was using for relaxation. Now that I can sit still long enough to have a conversation, we’re both enjoying our time together.
My wife has also started entrusting me to remember simple errands like picking up her clothes at the dry cleaner. Funny thing is, when I pulled out my wallet to pay for her dry-cleaning one day, my fidget spinner fell out on the counter. The woman behind the desk immediately recognized their promotional item and beamed a smile of approval my way.
I guess that old-adage about “advertising works” is true and you can bet, I’ll be back again – their cleaning service was great, my wife was happy, and I’m a new man!
By the way, do you know anyone who wants to buy a float tank? ☺