I was going to do something about how today is the birthday of both George W. Bush and Sylvester Stallone, but I got as far as GW shouting “Adrienne!” and Rocky pardoning Apollo Creed when the inspiration died. Imagine my good fortune, then, in stumbling upon this remarkable story about a Spanish hotel chain that let 30 “highly stressed out people” help demolish their Madrid location in preparation for its remodeling.
The lucky 30 donned dust masks and goggles, and were allowed to knock over bedding and furniture, as well as being given sledgehammers to smash walls and television sets. Not only was this one-up on rowdy rock stars (although I have heard that Nine Inch Nails bring their own sledgehammers), but a chance for the work/life balance challenged to channel their tension into some state-sanctioned destruction.
But is this quick-fix approach really the way to go? After all, how many more times would one be given this opportunity again? “Gosh, this has been a stressful week…both my kids are down with the flu, my spouse thinks I’m cheating on her because I’ve been working so late, and I’m on the verge of losing a multi-million dollar account…say, why don’t I call that hotel in Spain? Hello? Yes, I was there a few weeks ago driving a sledgehammer into the mini-bar, and man, I could really use the opportunity to do something like that again. What’s that? You have no other properties available to senselessly destroy right now? You’re sure? I couldn’t just come in and go at the ice machine with a pitchfork? Oh, well, thanks anyway. Have a nice day. No, I’m not interested in an attractive combined hotel and rental car rate, but thanks.”
So, the hotel gots its publicity, but the hammer-wielding subjects were given nothing but a chance to further siphon their real problems off on a temporary outlet. We all know that personal growth comes from self-examination, and there’s only so much navel-gazing you can do when you’re driving your steel-toed boot into the bidet.
Finally, there was a small detail in the news story that really caught my eye: the 30 stress ball subjects were “selected by a team of psychologists.” I want to know how those interviews went.
SHRINK: So, stress has become unmanageable in your life. Tell me, do you need more Kleenex?
SHRINK: You’ve eaten the entire box.
SUBJECT: Oh. Does that mean I get to smash up a hotel room?
SHRINK: I think it’s safe to say you’re in.
So, do you really think you could benefit from smashing up a hotel room, or might it be a little more productive to start “throwing around” some new ways of looking at life instead?