It’s 1am and I’m wide awake. No, I’m not at a wild party chatting over loud music to some fascinating, attractive person. I’m lying in bed, feeling grottily nauseous and I’ve just had two of my daily allowance of six paracetamol tablets. Maybe I shouldn’t have had that tempting little mince pie for desert, but the pain in my gut seems like a harsh punishment.
I try to distract myself by doing some simple maths. Two tablets last for five hours and there are 22 hours left in the day. Darn. I can’t seem to be able to make 3 x 5 equal 22 in my befuddled, sleep deprived state. Maths Fail. I sigh theatrically and give up. It’s no good. Those tablets are going to take a while to work and here, in the black darkness and silence, pain grows and multiplies like a schlock horror-movie fungus.
Suddenly, inspiration strikes. Why didn’t I think of this before? It’s easy. I have The Power. We all have The Power! YES! The Power of Positive Thinking! I might as well try it, there’s nothing much else on offer. This is how it works. Bear with me, it may sound a little strange, but don’t all the best things in life? I imagine a little man. When I say little, I mean very small indeed. About the size of my cat, the tiny grey one that is, not Cuddles the Magnificent. Like an imp. POSITIVE IMP.
Positive Imp is standing in front of me with a big, happy smile on his face, nodding encouragingly with expectantly raised eyebrows. Then he talks, in a relentlessly cheerful, upbeat voice. “Well”, he says, “that tummy sure is sore, isn’t it!”. My brow furrows and he responds by immediately smiling more widely and cranking his happyvoice up a notch. “Now”, he orders, “think about everything that’s NOT SORE. YES! Concentrate on your toes! Your toes are NOT SORE! Concentrate on your fingers! Feeel them NOT BEING IN PAIN! They are HAPPY HAPPY FINGERS! Yes they are!”
I’m concentrating so hard I can feel my brain cells grinding against each other, but it’s not making a diddly-squat of difference. Obviously, I’m not committed enough yet to the Power of Positive Thinking. I grit my teeth and focus harder. “Your arms! HAPPY HAPPY ARMS! Your legs! HAPPY HAAAAPPY LEEEGS! YES! You can do this!” His eyes glow with zeal, his little arms and legs are flailing wildly in time with his enthusiastic yells. The pain is still there, oblivious to his fanatic antics.
Suddenly, I’ve had enough. ENOUGH, even. Blind rage surges through me. I grab one of his madly waving legs and hold him upside down by the foot. He’s shrieking now, surprised. I find myself at the edge of a cliff. This Power of Positive Thinking does have some magic after all! Slowly, slowly, I lower Positive Imp over the edge of the cliff. He makes a grab for the edge, but I flick him sideways just in time. Ha! There’s panic in his eyes, but he’s not giving up. “HAPPY HAPPY EARS! HAPPY HAPPY HEAD!” He screams shrilly as he descends slowly towards the churning sea below. Sharks begin to circle in the foaming water, twisting up, sharp teeth gnashing as the imp gets lower and lower. One is particularly large and vicious-looking, with beady bright eyes sizing up the tasty morsel hovering above him, just out of reach. Or is it? He rises high out of the water and –snap – the imp’s gone in one quick bite. Just like that.
There is silence. I look around. No cliffs, imps or sharks. Only the vague shadows of the bed, Richard and the wardrobe in the dark. I look at the bedside clock and realize that, for ten whole minutes, I haven’t paid any attention to the pain. YES! The magic works! Ten whole minutes! This invention of mine could revolutionise popular psychology, and with three semesters of undergraduate psych under my belt, I’m eminently qualified to make the most of it. Websites, book-deals, lecture tours with hordes of adoring, grateful, devoted followers flash through my mind. And there’s more. Why restrict it to pain? This could be applied to any unpleasant life situation. Constipation, divorce, listening to ‘Greensleeves’ while trying to sort out your surprise $600 phone bill, the possibilities are endless!
The tablets finally kick in and I drift off to sleep, all thanks to The Power of Positive Thinking. Try it. Just watch out for the sharks.