Woody: No mood for mood wall

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If you stroll the streets of Nashville chances are you'll encounter one of the city's public "Mood Walls."

Each wall is adorned with colorful buttons listing a wide variety of moods -- sad, happy, hopeful, scared. Folks are encouraged to take one and pin it on. That way, everybody will know what mood they're in.

For example, if you're bopping along and bump into somebody wearing a "Grumpy" or "Surly" button, give them wide berth.

However, if I encounter an attractive lass wearing a "Frisky" button, I'll be sure to smile and nod.

When I read the story I was tempted to locate one of the walls and see if it had a button to fit my mood: "Dumbfounded."

So this is what we've come to in our touchy-feely society: wearing our emotions on our sleeve. Or elsewhere.

As if the idea weren't goofy enough, each Mood Wall also flashes a message: "Hey Nashville! How are y'all feeling?"

I'd like to flash a message back:

"Fine. Until I saw this stupid sign. Gimme a 'Peeved' button."

The intent of the Mood Walls, according to a media report, is to "promote mental health awareness by making people feel safe about their feelings and improve dialogue."

Since most such wacky campaigns are funded by tax dollars -- and Nashville politicians are on a spending binge that would make a drunken sailor look like Ebenezer Scrooge -- I figured this was just another example of public waste.

If they keep up the current rate of spending we'll all soon be wearing a button that says "Broke."

But it seems the Mood Walls are paid for by Insight Counseling Centers. The buttons can be used to receive a 20% discount on a patient's first counseling session at one of the Centers. Hummmm. Could the "mood buttons" be an advertising/marketing gimmick used to lure in prospective clients?

Give me a "Cynical" button.

Before the PC swat team storms my house, understand I'm not making light of mental health problems. (Although my Uncle Herb used to say that anyone who'd go to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.)

However, I'm not sure pinning on a Mood Button is the way to deal with such issues.

What are you supposed to do, for example, if you see someone wearing a "Despondent" button marching toward a bridge abutment? Before you try to stop them, should you first pin on a "Meddling" button?

If something goes amiss should you hit the Panic button?

What if someone tries to pin on a button and accidentally sticks himself? Is there an "Ouch" button? Imagine the gleam in the eyes of personal-injury lawyers -- they'll be wearing a "Jackpot!" button.

Although the whole thing seems a tad silly to me, I suppose there's no harm in it. If it helps just one person (or gets the Counseling Center just one customer) I guess it's worth it.

So don't mind me; sometimes I get a little moody. Pass me a button.

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Larry Woody
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