by P. Berman
I will introduce Claire to Butch. If she brings up the name Max, I will just act surprised.
Craig was feeling satisfied with himself. While he was cold and stiff, from his time sitting out on his front steps, he finally had a plan he felt good about. He would be a strong man and take immediate control of the conversation before any thought of the name Max could be brought up. After kneeling down and helping Butch hold out his paw for a hand– shake, he would laugh and ask Claire what she thought of his Butch. The dog loved him and was bound to lick his face with all this attention- that would show Claire what a great guy he was.
Claire was shy, even if she remembered the name Max, she probably wouldn’t bring it up. If she did, after a moment of surprise he would say that was the name of his first dog, that had died last year. Claire would hear a catch in his voice and any concerns she had about him would fade. Women liked men who hurt when their pets died.
Craig stood up with a smile and climbed to his front door. Once inside, he popped his frozen dinner in the microwave and pulled out a beer. It was at that moment, the phone range.
I am tired. I don’t want to answer it. But, what if it’s Nick about their trip to the ball game next week?
Several men from the bank were going to a ball game and sitting in the Bank’s private box. They had earned the treat from being the highest performers in the last week. Craig jumped to answer the phone, his heart beating a little faster in anticipation of a great call. It wasn’t Nick. The first syllable Craig heard, sent his stomach sour- his dad was calling.
Craig’s hand went to his stomach, he sat down, and began to sweat.
Can Craig feel sick just from the sound of someone’s voice?
Craig may be experiencing classical conditioning. That is when two things happen at the same time over and over, like being yelled at by the same person. Being yelled at, particularly by someone with power over you, may naturally trigger the release of stomach acid. If you get yelled at over and over by this person, just the sound of that person’s voice, even when not yelling, could trigger the acid release and make your stomach feel sick.
To see a family example, that is more silly than scary go to this YouTube video: