STAFF NOTE: On Stress and Office Toys

In some kind of work-life crisis, I bought some new office toys. One is a large “CMYCube” – a large, heavy piece of plastic with transparent color coatings of cyan, magenta, and yellow (CMY) on each side that change hues as they rotate. That speaks a bit to the magazine industry, as volume one is printed using those three colors plus black, hence the concept of CMYK printing (they use “K” not “B” because black is referenced as the “key” color).

Anyway, the other toy is a set of “Speks” magnetic putty. Basically a pile of tiny oddly shaped metallic stackable magnetic rocks. These two new toys add to a nifty collection of another half-dozen sculptural and supposedly “stress-reducing” or even “creativity-enhancing” toys on the bookshelf behind my desk. For me right now, I’m most interested in the former, although the latter is always welcome too.

That’s because, although Volume 1 celebrated our 20th anniversary this year, I’m now going to admit that this year was probably my least favorite of the 20. I won’t bore you with the variety of reasons why. You might think that the previous two years of the COVID era (’20 and ’21) would be the worst, and you’d be right, because they come in second and third place.

So, despite a long list of things to be grateful for at home, at work, and in the community, these three years have been difficult and stressful – not just for me, I know, but for many of us. There are certainly many ways to deal with the real and perceived stresses of life, many of which I have actively pursued. Time outdoors, frequent exercise, attempts at mindfulness exercises, and more. But heck, I might as well spend some money and throw in some new toys, right? After all, the sales copy promised it would help.

So if you need me, I’ll be here at my desk playing with toys – at the very least, avoiding responsibility for a moment or two. Or maybe at best, feel the weight of the world melt away. If it works, I’ll let you know.