It has occurred to me many times that I was a person who used to make things happen yet had begun to let things happen. My German friends would say, “You’re standing on your wire.” In other words, clumsily interrupting the flow of information to the brain. Just lifting my feet didn’t work. I saw in a movie that clicking my heels together three times could do the trick but I don’t own any red shoes.

Still, I wanted to make something happen. So I decided to get Zoloft for Christmas. No, not Zoloft, the medication that’s prescribed for depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This is a different Zoloft.

My Zoloft doesn’t promise to help correct the chemical imbalance of serotonin in my brain. In fact, it doesn’t promise anything. And I didn’t need a prescription to get it. It came in a compact package weighing about one pound, delivered right to my doorstep after dark.

My Zoloft isn’t covered by insurance but it’s fairly inexpensive. It doesn’t ruin my concentration; it makes me more aware. It doesn’t make me unusually tired or sleepy; it makes me smile. It doesn’t make me feel agitated; I hear soothing noises when I’m near it. It doesn’t make sleeping difficult; I sleep more warmly at night. And it doesn’t give me a dry mouth or upset my stomach.

There are some side effects but they are negligible, mostly olfactory and dermatological, although sometimes it interferes with television viewing and gives me fleas. I’ve given this Zoloft a street nickname of ZoĆ«.

Now when I feel sad, I don’t take a blue-sky pill. I take a fur break. I hunt behind the sofa and in closets and under the bed until I find a warm, squirmy little mass of calico hair with green eyes and a bad attitude.

I haven’t had a kitten in eight years. It’s an experience.

I’ve been reminded that when looking for a misplaced kitten, one should always check the closed refrigerator and the depths of the basket of dirty laundry – wearing gloves. I’ve also been reminded what cat food can do to a dog’s digestive system. And I’ve discovered that I no longer need to throw away those plastic rings from the tops of gallons of milk. Instead, I get to step on them in my bare feet after I turn off the lights.

She’s a bit of a tomboy. So far, she’s fouled the bathroom sink and the shower. When she does locate the litter box, she scatters litter to every corner of the room. She also scatters her food and goes fishing in her water dish for something only she can see. She inflicts other damage, too. The dog carries emotional scars from Zoloft’s painful rebukes. The stuffed dog on my bed bears physical scars from being an involuntary wrestling partner. My scalp does not benefit from the way she “kneads dough” in my hair at bedtime and her idea of a good time is climbing my leg, freestyle, right after I get out of the shower.

But that’s okay because she makes me laugh.

And she’s more effective than the real Zoloft.

Now when I think there’s a monster in my room at night, I know I’m not imagining it, especially when it clamps its tiny razor sharp teeth onto my little toe. When I wake from a sound sleep feeling like I’m suffocating, I don’t have to get out of the house for a breath of fresh air, I just remove the ball of fur from my face and go back to sleep. When I have writer’s block, she distracts me, biting the end of my pen or writing her own stories by walking on the computer keyboard.

I used to enjoy watching chipmunks scamper through the low bushes and along the rock walls in my neighborhood. Once I began standing on my wire, I seldom saw them anymore. Each rare sighting made me think of adding chipmunks to those lists of things from our childhoods that have disappeared, like Teaberry gum, 15 cent hamburgers at McDonalds, and those metal ice cube trays with levers.

Since getting Zoloft, I’ve started noticing chipmunks in my yard. Maybe it’s a sign.

But maybe when Zoloft gets big enough to eat the chipmunks, I’ll need a prescription for the real stuff.

Jill Wragg is a retired police officer in Massachusetts.
She can be reached at JKWragg@yahoo.com

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