Stress Relief The Easy Way
// June 29th, 2012 // Main
Once upon a time, we grew up. And then we went stupid. Not ignorant. Stupid. For most of us, it likely happened sometime around the time we turned 12. We’re almost grown. Soon we shall be teens. Not long after we’ll be full grown. We can do adult stuff…without getting arrested – generally speaking I mean. Eagerly, we gave up our innocence. We charged full steam ahead into adulthood. We didn’t think about whether or not we’d miss being a kid. Are you kidding? Screw that. Give us beer!
We got jobs. Where we used to simply ball our parents out when they dissed us, now we have to toe the line. Yell at your boss like that and you get no money. No money? No beer. No chicks. No parties. No cruisin up and down the street aimlessly ’cause you can’t afford the gas. No Taco Bell. Gots to be humble before ‘the man’.
And then we got married. And then we got kids. And now it’s far less about us than it ever was, because now we have other humans to look after, and we love them purely – unlike anything else we ever thought we loved, and so we do what we must to take care of them and give them the best we can. We buy practical cars. We sell our souls for a place to live. We gots to buy clothes for everybody, shoes for everybody, and food for everybody. We need furniture. We need an internet connection. We need 14 thousand channels on our HD televisions (note that’s plural ’cause you have to have more than one). We cannot survive without central air. Surely we shall perish without central heat. We have grass, so we need a lawn mower. We have weeds so we need a weed eater. Kids get hot, so they need swimming pools. Young ladies need My Little Pony stuff – in fact they need ALL of the My Little Pony Stuff. Two year old boys become infatuated with automatic car washes (mine calls them “Bubbles”), and so you must budget 50 dollars a week to keep him happy.
Budget? What the hell is a budget? Did I just say ‘budget’?
So, this glorious adulthood finds us on the hook for thousands every month. Of course there’s birthdays, holidays, vacations, and ice cream. The wife needs a new thing. The husbands needs a new thing. Baseball games. Violin lessons (because I couldn’t talk her into piano or guitar). Toy trucks. Pretty pink dresses.
And so just like Sting said, we pack ourselves, like lemmings, into shiny metal boxes (or in my case super duper fast motorcycles which, don’t let them fool you, cost more to maintain than a damn car) and head off to work every day. We are frustrated even before we arrive. Even on good days. We are prostrate to our higher-ups. We do this over and over again. On Sunday’s we go to church. We are Penitent while those who know what’s right for us beat us over the head with how bad we have been that week and how we’re all going swimming in a lake of fire.
And then the next round of bills arrives in the mailbox we don’t technically own.
And then we have to get up again at the ass crack of dawn because, you know, it’s Monday again.
And the pressure. Oh dear God (or Buddah, or Alah, or whomever is planning on having YOUR nuts roasted soon) we have to assume our peer status among the other lemmings again.
So we try and find ways to relieve stress, but they cost us annual money. Gyms. Beer. Tai Chi lessons. They all cost cash money yo. Yoga poses can’t be learned unless you pay somebody. This is common knowledge. Any attempt at physical meditaion on your own and you’ll wind up in the emergency room, incurring yet another bill. ’Mo money for the ‘man’.
So, forget all that other stuff. Well, don’t forget the beer. That would be stupid. But forget all that other stuff – exercise and bending your body in ways the maker didn’t intend for adults to bend their bodies is a pagan practice and if you do that stuff you will go to hell.
Here’s what you do. And before I get started, you gotta get uncivilized. If you’re too prim and/or proper to do this then you are doomed. Let loose. Send the family out for ice cream or potato chips or something. If you’re in decent shape, do this naked. If you’re not in decent shape, DO NOT do this naked, because if you do your inner image will be destroyed and this will result in more stress. Just keep your clothes on, k? No excuses. This will only take 10 to 15 minutes a day. The older you are and the more you do this the less time it will take. I will explain why in a minute.
You need some stuff, so take inventory, and don’t skimp out. You will need:
- A stereo that plays stuff really really loud. And no, and iPod will not work.
- Headphones. And no, good speakers will not work. You must have headphones – decent ones too. If you spent less than 30 bucks on the ones you have, they suck. Get better ones. Clear? Good.
- Space, but not much. Imagine you’re standing in a circle. Give yourself about 3 or 4 feet in any direction. That should do. This is low impact baby.
- AC/DC – most any song will do, however for this demonstration, “Back In Black” is highly recommended.
Remember. UNCIVILIZED. You can do it. This really works people.
Alright. So you should be standing in your imaginary circle. Your headphones should be on. The volume on your stereo should be cranked up as high as your headphones can reproduce sound without distorting. To be more precise, 120 dB, which is approximately where rock concerts and jet engines live, will be sufficient. Louder is okay. Lesser is 100 percent not okay. Volume is key.
Place together your middle finger and your ring finger. They should be touching. Curl them inward toward your palm. Place the tip of your thumb over both of them at the nail. No higher. If you’re thumb is beyond the first joint on either finger you’re doing it wrong. Your middle and ring fingers, along with your thumb should now make a circle or something pretty close. The other two, the pointer and pinkie, are both extended. For the curious or otherwise uneducated – or for the civilized – this is an International (and probably Galactic) symbol. It means “Rock And Fucking Roll”. By the way, if you’re right-handed you should make this symbol with your left hand. If you’re left-handed, use your right hand. Dangle this hand freely by your side. Oh yeah. Professionals often extend the thumb too. You can do this too, but don’t try it until you’re ready, because other people will know you’re a pretender. You’ve been warned.
Now say it. It doesn’t have to be loud. Just say it. ”Rock and Fucking Roll”. Don’t be nice. Maybe even snarl a little bit on the third word. Sometimes a simple head tilt works too. Close your eyes and say it again. ”Rock and Fucking Roll”. As you say it, bring your ‘symbol’ hand up about half way, bending at the elbow and making sure the extended fingers are either pointing up or away from you otherwise it’s considered bad form. ”Rock and Fucking Roll”. Now, place your hand back at your side. Do it again.
Do you fell that? It feels good. It’s completely mental. No muscle burn. You’re not sweating yet, but you can feel it. If you can’t feel it you’re still being civilized. Remember. UNCivilized is paramount.
Now, when you start the song, there are 8 beats before the chords kick in. High-hats. Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about music. It’s okay. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…just count them out. The last two will almost leave you hanging. This is okay too. Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick, One Two… What I want you to do is to close your eyes, keep the “Rock And Fucking Roll” symbol formed with the correct hand, and bob your head slightly to the beat. Try it. Think “uncivilized”, and snarl a little bit. Think early Elvis if you have to. Not the almost dead, fat, “How Great Thou Art” Elvis. The other one…
Feel it yet? Sometimes it takes a bit to get in the right frame of mind. Work on it. Once you get the snarl – once you can feel it, let the song keep playing. On the 9th beat – the first beat on the third measure, the guitar kicks in. If you’re doing it right you should get a chill. If you don’t get the chill you’re not doing it right. Remember: Practice. Remember: Uncivilized. You’ll know you’ve got it when the Elvis snarl changes to a Billy Idol snarl. Now you’re cookin’.
The beautiful thig is that there is nothing else to learn. No steps. No right moves. No wrong moves. The only rule is you are not allowed to break any furniture and you’re not allowed to kick, punch, throw, or otherwise harm the family pet. Remember. You’re in a 3 to 4 foot imaginary circle. You’re living right there. You’re feeling the beat. Maybe you’re tapping your foot. Maybe you’re stomping it. Swinging your arms? It’s cool. Air guitar? That is encouraged. Singing? Nope. Absolutely not. You can lip sync, but singing might alert the neighbors, and they might call the police. It’s just not worth it. You can play the song as many times as you like. Put it on repeat even. If you’re uber-stressed you may need 3 or more plays. This is a-okay. Listen as many times as you need, then keep reading.
So, now that the song is stopped, remove the headphones. If you’ve done things precisely as I’ve described you should hear a loud ringing in both ears. Doctors will tell you this is a bad thing. Fuck them. They just want your money. If your ears are not ringing you didn’t do it right. To be specific, if your ears are not ringing the song wasn’t loud enough. Remember, this exercise requires a minimum 120dB. I have the luxury of professional sound equipment. If you do not, go purchase something appropriate. Spend the money. You already owe everybody anyway.
The ringing is important, because it keeps your brain from thinking about other shit. You just Rocked man, and that ringing in your ear keeps you focused. It forces you to reflect on the music you just heard rather than all the external shit that has you so stressed out. You cannot think about your problems when the music is that loud or when the ringing is that loud any more than you can sneeze with your eyes open. It isn’t possible. As the ringing slowly dissipates, you will experience a gentle landing back to reality, and you will be relaxed. You will feel better because you just spent a few minutes truly letting go. You weren’t worried about getting the moves right, because there aren’t any. You weren’t worried about who was watching because nobody was watching. You kept your clothes on if you’re one of the many who can’t rock the naked thing. You weren’t worried about the family pet because you’re not allowed to hurt it. That’s one of the few rules. Hell, the dog may join you! You feel rejuvenated. Like a kid.
Thaaaaaaat’s Riiiiiiiight. Like a kid. Like before you decided at the ripe old age of 12 that being a grown up was better. Because kids don’t care who’s watching. And they aren’t going to hurt the family pet (unless they should be on medication I mean). UNCIVILIZED. Unencumbered Rock and Fucking Roll people. It’s better than Tai Chi. It’s better than Yoga. It’s easier on the joints than real exercise, and it’s even better than beer! When you do it right it’s a hell of a lot more relaxing. No trainer to pay. No hangover. No risk of arrest (notwithstanding cardiac of course) because it’s legal and because you didn’t break the no singing rule. Just remembering what it’s like to be a kid – to let the fuck go, even if just for a few minutes.
It doesn’t take long to complete a session, and it will take less time over time because you will damage your hearing some and so the ringing won’t last as long. But that’s okay. Nobody is going to send faint tones to your ears and ask you to raise your hand when you hear them. And since you already owe every damn body anyway, you can just add the hearing-aid people to the list when the time comes. No big freaking deal.
The song “Back In Black” has a tempo of about 96 beats per minute. That means if you’re tapping your foot to the beat (quarter notes) you’ll need to tap it 96 times each minute to keep up. Most anybody without any obvious physical concerns should be able to do this. Now, you don’t have to necessarily keep a precise beat to rock it. That’s part of the beauty of the whole thing. However, if you haven’t rocked in a while or if you’ve been civilized your entire life (you poor bastard) then you don’t want to start with anything faster than more or less 96 beats per minute. Exceeding this limit before you’re ready is hazardous to both you and the family pet, so don’t do it. Nothing is uglier, and few things are as dangerous, as an out-of-control rocker, especially those trying to rock the naked look. So start slow and work your way up.
AC/DC is perfect for the beginner. Even the savvy rock veteran enjoys AC/DC. The beat is steady and most songs are going to come in somewhere around 100 beats per minute. That’s safe. The lyrics also lend themselves to the snarl, and the snarl is important, especially for the new-comer who needs a little help switching to uncivilized mode. Stick to AC/DC for a while. Don’t’ worry. When you’re ready for Metallica you’ll just know it, and by then your dog with have become used to your antics anyway.
Oh and by the way, it is absolutely okay to do this in public once you get your ninja rock skills honed. The best place is a gathering of people where loud music is played. These are called concerts, and there are a couple really great things about concerts: First, pets are generally not allowed, so that’s one less thing to worry about. The second is you can sing along if you want and nobody will arrest you. Now, you might get punched in the face if you sing too loud and suck, but at some concerts that’s considered part of the deal and who knows? You might actually enjoy it.