Days Since...

>> Wednesday, May 2, 2007

“25 Days Since Last Work Injury!”

I was in the checkout line at Costco, keeping one eye on the girls, one eye on Michael’s roaming eyes (he has a not-so-secret crush on a couple of Costco checkers), and one eye on the register when I noticed the sign. (Yes, you must have four eyes, minimum, when you’re a wife and mother.)

Two removable numbers on plastic cards preceded the words in big block letters “...Days Since Last Work Injury!” Granted, I have no clue what it takes to run a large consumer warehouse, but it struck me as odd that this motivational device was needed. What kind of injuries do these workers suffer? Do they get crushed by large wooden flats of toilet paper? Perhaps there's an accident with the butcher knife while carving one of the 12 million roast chickens they sell each year. Or maybe one of the cake decorators slips on a rogue dollop of chocolate frosting that falls to the floor.

While it seemed odd, I was impressed by Costco’s openness and honesty. They had a goal to reduce workplace injuries, and they displayed their goal for everyone to see. It must be motivating for all involved to come to work each day and see that sign. If I worked there, I wouldn’t want to be the dolt who slips on the frosting and causes the numbers to return to “00”. I imagine scowls from coworkers and whispers regarding my clumsiness.

It’s a pretty effective fear-based tactic coupled with charming enthusiasm. “Way to go, team!” it seemed to say when the numbers were good. “Way to watch out for that frosting!”

Then I had an idea. Maybe this could work for me, too. I have goals. I could use some motivation. Perhaps I could post my “Days Since...” numbers on my blog. Then everyone would be privvy to how long it’s been since, say, I last yelled at my little girls. (I long to be the kind of mother the Supernanny wants me to be. The kind of mother who calmly, but firmly states her position without raising her voice. The kind of mother who doesn’t lose control. But I forget to do that on a daily basis.)

Unfortunately, it’s been “00 Days Since I Yelled At My Girls”. (Yesterday was a bad day.) But it sure will be motivating, and heartbreaking, to see those snakes eyes staring at me. (I imagine scowls from co-mothers and whispers regarding my inabilities as a parent.) But that's the point. Whatever works, right? Maybe I should include a couple for my husband, "Days Since I Wore Sweatpants" or "Days Since I Honked the Car Horn".

God, I hope all those zeros won’t be too depressing.

Maybe I should include “Days Since Exercised” or “Days Since Vacuumed” to get some higher numbers... maybe.

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