As I detailed in last week’s column, 2020 was a year filled with frustration and dismay. As if to emphasize the point, there’s only two days left in the year and I found out that Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island,” died from COVID-19 at age 82. Gee, thanks, 2020.
People deal with stress in a variety of ways. Some, like me, eat (COVID weight is a real thing). Some get very cranky and make everyone around them share in the feeling. Some meditate or search for inner peace amongst the chaos.
And of course, some scream. They may scream at inanimate objects, like the toaster that burned the toast or the laptop that just showed them the Blue Screen of Death. They scream at other people, which I don’t recommend because that never ends well for you or the people you’re screaming at. Some will grab a handy pillow and scream in that, muffling the sound so that the scream is between them and God.
Well, there is apparently another way to get your scream on – there is a hotline for that.
I am not kidding. According to the article I read at www.happymag.tv, it’s called Just Scream. You dial 1+(561) 567-8431, wait for the beep, and then let it roar. (Don’t worry, it’s entirely automated – no live person at the other end so you can scream without guilt).
Curious, I tested it out and it was real. Yes, I did briefly scream into the phone – I was alone in the house so I figured I wouldn’t alarm anyone – and hung up. I don’t know if it worked on my stress as well as a brownie does, but it was kinda fun.
Apparently, if vocal isn’t your thing, you can text the number and get a nice message back (they ask you to text friendly stuff rather than screams). I haven’t tried that yet. I wanted to check out the website.
The website, https://justscream.baby/, is worth exploring. Screams are recorded and uploaded to the site daily. Some of them are categorized, such as screams that feature laughter or screams done with animal friends. When I checked it on Wednesday their entire catalog of screams was up to 10,902.
The project was created by Chris Gollmer, who describes himself as a teacher, occasional artist, and generally quiet person. It’s not his first “participatory art project.” In the past he’s done others with different themes, such as “Noise” when he asked callers to speak for two minutes continuously.
In September of 2020, he decided to try a new project. According to the website, it didn’t take him long to come up with this one. He launched it just before Election Day here in the U.S., and plans on ending it Jan. 21st, 2021, which happens to be the day after Inauguration Day. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
One thing I found interesting is that not everyone recorded screams. Some people recorded encouraging words, which are filed under the category Hope. Gollmer includes the phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on this particular page.
Does it seem a little silly? Sure. Will screaming into a phone instantly make your life better? No, but it might make you smile. And taking out your frustrations by screaming after the beep is a lot better than screaming at loved ones.
Find a positive way to deal with that stress. And if you are so inclined, just scream. Make sure not to alarm those around you though. They’re stressed too.