DIANE MAKAR MURPHY Do you ever feel like you could just scream?
Years ago, my aunt, who lived in a Chicago high-rise, took us onto its freight elevator and let us scream our heads off.
"Have fun," she said. We did.
These days, I have no freight elevator, but I do occasionally shout my head off while driving down a lonely country road. It's liberating, especially on days I would have preferred to wallow in the comforter an extra hour or two.
Shake things up
Here's a list for days YOU need to shout in an elevator.
UHop in the car. Find the oldies channel. Pump up the volume, and join the band's vocal section.
ULeave a dollar bill where a kid will find it. For real fun, hang around discreetly until you see the child discover the bill. (The corollary to this, of course, is to get one of those realistic looking fake dog poops and leave IT where a kid will find it. I didn't even know these existed until I had avoided one for a full week in my Tucson apartment parking lot. When I finally noticed the lack of flies, I realized a neighbor had had a wonderful week of watching residents avoid stepping in concrete do-do.)
UFor one full day, don't walk anywhere, run. The look on people's faces will be enough to give you a boost.
UBuy a fresh loaf of bakery bread and eat the first slice outside the bakery door. Bread is better than doughnuts -- no guilt.
URent a funny video, such as "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," "Annie Hall," "Duck Soup," "National Lampoon's Vacation," "Modern Times," "The Burbs," "Arsenic and Old Lace," "A Christmas Story," "Young Frankenstein," "To Be or Not to Be (the Jack Benny version)," "Naked Gun," "The Birdcage," "Father of the Bride" (Steve Martin version), "City Slickers," "As Good as it Gets," "Happy Gilmore," "Caddyshack," "Animal House," "Blazing Saddles" and "Raising Arizona." For dark comedy, try "War of the Roses" or "Death Becomes Her." Laughing makes you healthier too; it boosts your immune system.
UPlay with your kids or your kids' kids.
UInvite some friends over at the last minute for cards and junk food. Think, beer and peanuts, guacamole and tortilla chips, potato chips and onion dip, greasy pizza.
UNap from 10 a.m. to noon on a Saturday.
UGo to your favorite restaurant and tell the waiter, "Take your time; I'm in no hurry."
UGive a poorly paid fast-food server a $5 tip for good service.
UCall your neighbor's kid and say, "Are you selling anything right now? I'd like to buy it."
UTell your kids you love them, and thank God you have them -- out loud. Real loud.
UMake a plan for volunteering or a donation even though the holidays are over. Post it on your fridge.
USit down with a bowl of popcorn, another family member, and a family photo album or video.
URent a horror movie, curl up with a loved one, and watch it in a darkened room. Try "The Shining," "The Changeling," "Flatliners," "Sixth Sense," "Poltergeist," "Night of the Living Dead," "The Exorcist," "Carrie," "Jaws" or the original "Psycho" and the black and white versions of "The Haunting" and "House on Haunted Hill."
UBuy a box of popsicles for the neighborhood kids.
UMake a list of 15 things you do really well. Post it on the fridge.
UTreat yourself to an ice cream cone, and eat it sitting outside the ice cream parlor.
UPlan a vacation you might someday take. Expense is no object. Go online and make it really good. We're talking about Siberian Railway, Istanbul, the Great Pyramids, a Kenyan safari, Hong Kong, the Great Barrier Reef.
UTreat yourself to a book online or in town.
UThrow a bowling party, not for your kid, but for your Dad. Have the alley supply the pizza and cake, just like you're kids again. We did it on my dad's 80th birthday. Later, to my surprise, he said it was the best birthday he'd ever had.