I’d Rather Not Take “Fun and Games” for $500 or How Jeopardy Tipped Me Over the Edge

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hBack in college I had a good friend whom I began to avoid. I loved him dearly, but at some point during our years together, he went through a prolonged Eeyore phase. Every time I approached him, I learned to anticipate doom and gloom.

“How’s it going?” I’d ask tentatively.

“Not good,” he’d inevitably reply (and that was on an up day!).

Then, he’d elaborate. Whatever the opposite of rose-colored glasses is, he was wearing them, and he never hesitated to share his pessimistic world view.

I’m not proud of myself, and perhaps I could have been a more stalwart friend, but sometimes I avoided him and his unrelenting negativity–a quick duck into the student center, a turn down Main Street, whatever it took. Not all the time, but sometimes.

Unfortunately, it has occurred to me recently that I might be becoming that person.

This past week, there was a non-mandatory Open Enrollment Health Insurance meeting after school. I decided to go because I had a few questions. My oldest is getting kicked off my insurance (aged out!) and I’d received a confusing form about that, and my middle daughter is on better insurance through her new job, so I needed to delete her from our plan. 

After school was over, I straightened up a few things, then rushed upstairs into the meeting, hoping to ask my two questions and be on my way. Unfortunately, the presenter had other plans. My heart sunk when I saw that she was busy setting up the overhead projector to display a Jeopardy-like screen.

What?!?! I thought we were just asking questions!

I’ll take “Deeply Concerned” for $200.    

“Someone recently told me that when I start talking about benefits, they fall asleep,” she said. “So, I decided to create a Jeopardy game.”

While I sat there, my jaw on the ground, my to-do list making like rabbits, and the clock ticking toward my meeting with a parent in 23 minutes, she proceeded to divide the room into teams.

“This isn’t happening,” I thought. “This can’t be happening. I know her creativity is admirable. I really do. But I don’t have time to play insurance Jeopardy. I don’t want to play insurance Jeopardy. I have two questions. Just two questions.”

I’ll take “On the Brink” for $300.

Next, she went over the categories. Honestly, I don’t remember what they were. I think I blacked out temporarily. When I came to, the first team had asked for some category or other for $400. They seemed to be entering into the spirit of things.

I’ll take “Who Are These People?” for $400.

“OMG,” I thought, “I am feeling incredibly antagonistic about this whole thing and I need to leave before I blurt out something awful…or simply scream. But really…how is this reasonable? Health insurance? Jeopardy? In May?? AHHHH! Please just tell me what I need to know so I can cross one more ridiculous thing off my list and move on to the next one!”

Image result for munch scream

Edward Munch’s The Scream

Ten minutes later, we had uncovered three squares (out of  30!!) and learned about open enrollment dates, health plan choices and vision benefits. None of which helped me. I muttered something to one of my team members. It may not have been intelligible. It may have been a subdued guttural scream. I don’t really remember, but I knew I had to escape. I literally felt like my head was going to explode. So, I left, aware that my degree of distress was irrational, but still feeling extremely frustrated, and with my two questions unanswered.

I walked downstairs and into my colleague’s classroom.

“How’d it go?” she asked, turning from her computer.

“It was a torture chamber!” I announced dramatically.

That’s when it struck me. I realized that I might just be becoming that person–the one others are ducking to avoid. Here’s this nice, motivated HR woman going out of her way to make educating us about health insurance fun. And how do I respond? Practically antagonistically! It was just one more thing taking up too much time in a long list of one more things. And then I had to interrupt other people’s valuable time to tell them about it. I’m not exactly a ray of sunshine here. Clearly, I have to work on this.

But for now, I need to e-mail the well-intentioned HR person to get my questions answered. I guess I should have just done that in the first place.

I’ll take “Hindsight” for $500.


24 thoughts on “I’d Rather Not Take “Fun and Games” for $500 or How Jeopardy Tipped Me Over the Edge

  1. ureadiread says:

    Very clever structure! It’s that time of year when the time constrained pressure has many of us at less than our cheery best. But hey, maybe summer will be the Daily Double!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    I don’t think there’s really much danger of you becoming that person, but the game format for this post was clever and funny. A sense of humor can get us through most things.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amanda Potts says:

    Hahaha! Well, you are my ray of sunshine this morning. This piece made me grin in rueful recognition. I suspect I would have reacted the same way. Glad you had the sense to leave & know that at least one person out here would also consider that a torture chamber – especially in May!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, when to-do lists overwhelm and time gets scrunched, the best plan of action is to make light of the situation and bring humor into life. What a fun way to describe your mood.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hindsight for $500! Ha! I think all of us could try that one. (Myself included.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dianeandlynne says:

    I love your interior monologue!
    We all have “those” days, and I don’t think May is the time for insurance jeopardy (if there is ever a time).
    Stress makes us all crazy sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love all your “I’ll take ___ for $__” asides. It sounds like you’re not quite an Eeyore yet. 🙂 It was a fun piece to read, and a nice reminder to think about the kind of energy we’re sharing with others. (Though I think this is the time of year when anything that takes longer than necessary has the potential to push teachers over the edge!)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fran Haley says:

    I cannot believe it … insurance Jeopardy? I think you showed great restraint! It is a wonder your blood pressure didn’t rise (hey … is this a diabolical scheme?) This post is wonderfully-rendered and fun all the way. And, no, you are NOT “that person.” Your response was justified – oh, and The Scream was a perfect choice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Christine says:

    Tis the season! Everyone’s lists are a mile long and those extra tasks can put the strain on the most positive person.
    Your post did make me smile – HR Jeopardy? Desperate times call for desperate measures!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jcareyreads says:

    This made me chuckle. You can’t be “that person” if you’re making people laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are at your playful best today. It must be such fun to let your creativity take you on an adventure as you write. You’ll stay fresh as a writer experimenting as you share the many Mollys that you are. Your readers thank you ever day!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. laurashovan222 says:

    Molly, this post is so funny (I hope intentionally). The Jeopardy topics you came up with cracked me up! There’s a difference between being a downer and feeling frustrated when your needs aren’t being met! I would have been flustered too.

    Liked by 1 person

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