ALL ABOARD: Preventing periodical procrastination lessens stress

Last night after dinner I finally got around to reading one of the many magazines, newsletters and journals that I receive, but rarely read, each and every month.

This uncontrollable compulsion to subscribe to literature seldom read I surely inherited from my mother.

Thanks to mom, who always bought more magazines than needed so I could win the Annual PTA Magazine Sale Drive for our elementary school, I almost won. Each year I almost won.

Usually some kid who had a dentist or a doctor for a dad would win.

Mom did her best to keep me in periodical and publishing points, much to the chagrin of dad, who would return home from three weeks on the road selling motor oil to piles of magazines on end tables.

“Are these ours?” he would ask.

“Is anyone reading this Saturday Evening Post from three months ago?”

Mother would continue to dust during these soliloquies of interrogatories.

Guess who paid for the subscriptions?

Last night, while reading the 12-page October 2008 Consumer Reports on Health, I noticed this bulleted presentation at the bottom of Page 4: Eight warning signs that stress is taking a toll.

Do I dare read it? Already my blood pressure was rising.

After a quick look, I noticed that I had seven of the eight signs.

Should I call 911 or just get on the next free bus to Coupeville?

How do you fare? Do you suffer from unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, teeth grinding, upset stomach and change in sex drive?

That may mean that you are a WaMu stockholder.

Are you angry, depressed, irritable or nervous more than circumstances warrant? That may mean you are watching old episodes of “The Sopranos” too often.

Has your smoking increased? Well, it has been cooler lately.

Having more arguments with friends and family? Me too, so I’ve had to force myself to stop watching “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” So far, we are all getting along a lot better.

Could you be stressing out by experiencing problems at work?

Remember, “problem” spelled backwards is “melborp,” while “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts.”

Stress sign six indicates the possibility of lying awake at night worrying. We’ve overcome this one by more daydreaming at night, although it seems tough to do at first.

Are you eating more unhealthy foods or skipping meals?

I’m going to try both approaches this week.

Eating healthy and often sure isn’t helping. I still worry about flossing.

Finally, have you noticed any increased drinking? I sure have.

Not only am I having Crystal Springs water delivered now, I’m noticing an increase in the consumption of coffee, tea, Vernors’ Ginger Soda and Gates Extra Hot Bar-B-Cue Sauce.

Since we all know now about identifying the eight signs of stress, shall we just kick back together, take a deep breath and wait for the next episode of Judge Judy?

Honey, where’s my robe?

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