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My Headache Philosophy Biting Me Back
My head has been killing me lately. I never used to get headaches. Every time someone would say they had a headache and would simultaneously grip /massage their forehead gingerly, I would secretly roll my eyes because I was convinced most people were hypochondriacs about this headache epidemic: how could so many people's heads hurt so often? Wouldn't that defy logic? Aren't our bodies designed to operate efficiently even in times of dire physical challenge? If so, how could head pain be so common, especially head pain caused by something innocuous, like mild mental stress or slight fatigue? It just didn't make sense to me. I was convinced that societal conditioning was to blame: we've been told that as adults, we'll be prone to headaches, that life's pressures will be too much for our flimsy bodies to process sufficiently, and the result will be a chronically throbbing skull. On the rare occasion that I did have a headache, it accompanied an illness or more extreme physical challenge like sleep deprivation or emotional turmoil, and those instances, I almost always refused to take any "headache medicine" citing reasons such as, "it never helps" and "it's just a marketing ploy" and "adding a drug to the mix is counter-productive."

Yeah, I'm one of those people.

(Aside: I actually still fall back on a large portion of this argument, and not just for headaches. Flip through the network channels at prime time and you'll see advertisements for prescription and over-the-counter medications designed to remove any symptom you could imagine, symptoms representing all ailments from short-lived illnesses like the common cold to chronic conditions including ulcers, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (Really? This is common all of a sudden? Common enough to require mass advertising and medical distribution?!), erectile dysfunction, depression, insomnia, and back pain - just to name a few. I have no doubt that there are thousands of legitimate cases of these conditions. I have no doubt that a large number of people have chronic headaches, back pain, and insomnia. I do doubt that the true need for medication in the population for these conditions is actually reflected by the amount of medication being marketed and sold. The end.)

Several days ago, I had a new wire put in on my braces, but they didn't cut it short enough, and it has been pushing through the very back bracket. Let me clarify: there is a sharp piece of STEEL WIRE cutting a hole into the back of my mouth. I didn't think it was as bad as it is until yesterday, when I made the connection that the headaches I've been in denial about for the past week are suspiciously worse on the left side of my head, and also that my face and glands are swollen from the pain. I've given in to the "marketing ploy" and have been taking the generic advil available in the big white first aid kit at work. When this conspiracy theorist starts taking headache medicine, you know she's desperate.

Bedtime Totally Sucks
The pacifier addiction has transferred to a music addiction. Quinn refuses to stay in his bed and go to sleep unless we play the exact same CD he's been listening to for the past two years. The problem is, he can reach his CD player, and is now on the THIRD CD player in his short life, because he can't resist pushing the buttons until he gets some sort of electronic response from the poorly-manufactured plastic boxes. Eventually they give up in desperation, flashing "Err" at us as we wail and gnash our teeth during Quinn's hysterics over the horror of going to sleep without his music. When the players are still in working condition, he changes CDs during the day and has now scratched every single CD we ever allowed into his room, including the beloved night/sleep CD, which skips and repeats and just generally causes misery and ire around these parts. We haven't been able to find a new copy of it (that's what happens when you use free CDs that were packaged with your newborn's diapers five years ago), so we just bought a few new lullaby CDs to try the other night. Good lord, it was like pacifier de-tox all over again; he was beside himself with despair, and a little denial thrown in for good measure.

Quinn (red face, unable to catch his breath from crying): I-I-I-I w-w-wa-wa-want m-m-my-my m-m-mu-mus-music a-a-a-a-a-a-a!!

Me (for the sixth time): Your CD is broken. If you'd like to listen to the new pretty music, I'll turn it back on for you bu-


Me (giving up): Okay. Well, it's time to go to sleep, I've already answered your question. I guess you don't want any music, so I'll see you in the morning. Good night.

Quinn (sheer panic setting in): NO YOU CAN'T GO! I WANT THE MUSIC!

Me (turning around): Okay, you DO want your new music then?

Quinn (possessed by a demon): I WILL MAIM YOU IN YOUR SLEEP YOU EVIL HAG.

So, yeah. Bedtime rocks the house these days. Literally.

Business Tip
Hey, everyone. I learned something really useful yesterday. I was on the receiving end of a GREAT NEW METHOD for diffusing a situation, say, for example, a meeting at work that may or may not involve differing opinions. I thought I'd pass it along for posterity. So here you go: If you want a snazzy new way to handle an ambiguously contrary discussion, tell the person you only mildly disagree with that they're "coming off with a lot of attitude". It's particularly effective if you put your hands up in a defensive stance. Throws the whole meeting room into a socially awkward stare-down, which is exactly what you want in a situation where nobody is actually upset yet.

Yep. Pure genius. It's amazing no one's put it in a book yet.

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