Monday, September 17, 2007

A Loose Analogy


At one time I was in the healthcare business. Specifically, I worked in mental health and brain injury rehabilitation for most of that 22 year career. Behavior Modification Therapy was a frequently used intervention in both fields, so sometimes the terminology of that methodology leaks into my vocabulary.

For instance, the book Daddy’s Little Girl has been completed and submitted to my Editor, thus I am in a phase known as the Post-Reinforcement Pause. The goal has been achieved, and pleased with myself for having done it, I’m relaxing. It’s quite like having a cigarette after sex.

For the record, I don’t smoke, but I thought you might get the picture quicker this way than after laboring through a paragraph of psychobabble.

So I’m taking it easy as I wait for my Editor to review the book and give her feedback. While I wait, I daydream of finally cracking into the Top 5 on the New York Times’ Best-seller List. I’m tracked in the Hardcover Advice category, which only lists the top five books. I’ve never risen above the #6 spot, so when I mention I’m a NYT best-seller, most people say, “Nu-uh.”

I’m telling you, by the time you explain the Top 5 thing and move on to explaining how to click the link that says “Complete List,” folks have moved down the buffet line toward the Swedish Meatballs.

I also daydream of being interviewed on Fox and Friends by Alisyn Camerota, Rebecca Gomez or Jane Skinner. At present I’m practicing my “maintain eye contact” technique as I fear my wife seeing me admiring their legs and other noteworthy attributes a bit too much on national TV.

And of course the girls are already hitting me up for an increase in their allowance and Jill wants to buy more clothes for her smelly dog. It seems she thinks Oprah will want Princess in the audience during my onstage appearance.

And then I wonder, what if I don’t get into the Top 5, or Fox or Oprah?

It’s about that time when I slip into a mood one might call “fraught with anxiety,” but which is more commonly called “flippin’ out” where I come from.


Let’s go back to the guy with the cigarette. For a moment he’s thinking, “I’m a stud!” But then he questions himself, “Did I do OK?” and before he gets an answer, he bolts from the bed and jumps out a window.

What if my Editor hates it? Are my pronouns and gerunds used correctly? Did I say “really” and “nevertheless” too often? Did I interchange “as” and “while” when I should have? How many of those damn infinitives did I split!? Oh, woe is I!

Worse, what if she just doesn’t like the stories, the details of your lives that you entrusted with me? What if I let YOU down?

So now ends the pleasure and relaxation of the Post-Reinforcement Pause. I’ve swung fully into Acute Anticipation Anxiety, Severe. I won’t sleep until I hear, “You did great.” Until then, should it come, I can only wait and bite my nails.

1 comment:

Ginny said...

"I'm sure she'll love it", she said, wanting to ease his anxiety while despising the use of cliche'...