Enlightenment at Cootie Brown's

Recently, my husband and I met a good friend for dinner at Cootie Brown’s. Over turkey burgers and fries, we caught up on our lives—work for them, and school for me—and eventually happened upon the subject of stress. My husband chatted about a great class he took on mindfulness, and the book he read that impacted him, and then we discussed strategies.

“We’ve been trying to meditate each day,” I said. I leaned forward in my chair, eager to talk about the benefits of something anyone can do without a gym membership and at any time of day. We had wisdom, after all: we should impart it. I said, “It calms us and helps slow down our breathing.”

“I’ve noticed a difference,” my husband said, noting that he generally feels less tense.

Our friend listened, but what we didn’t know is she already had a strategy that she had implemented and honed to a science. She said, “I have a dammit doll.”

“A what?” I asked. Was she serious?

“A dammit doll.” Clearly, she was. 

She described a doll made of fabric, a doll with wild hair made out of yarn, I’ve come to find out. “You can hit it against your desk.” She demonstrated by gripping an invisible something in her hand and thwacking it a few times against the restaurant table. 

Apparently, she had plenty of practice.

We laughed.

“I gave one to my boss,” she said, “and she almost threw out her shoulder.”

Granted, we did talk about how this friend is starting yoga soon. But she has a dammit doll. I have a hunch she doesn’t need anything else.