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By Pamela Miller
Along with all the concrete responsibilities of adulthood, such as bill paying, silver polishing and stashing contraband, there are the lesser-known duties. Adults need to plan, and there is no better time to plan than when you're still apple cheeked and bright eyed, wishing only the best for you and your loved ones. Alas, altruism and goodwill are transitory. Something happens, and it's very difficult to make good decisions while curled up in the fetal position, in your damp, dark room, clutching a handful of greenback dollars or green stamps or another metaphor for spring and eternal youth, rocking and moaning to the depressing music of your era. That happy time, before the ennui and the disappointment and the broken promises, is the best time to choose among the many attractive methods of self-destruction.
The first decision you need to make is how many people to involve in your cycle of misery. Perhaps this is something you'd like to do on your own. Or would you prefer a little company? Your foul mood may make your closest companions feel like hostages. And let's not forget the potential for psychological scarring in minor children, erstwhile spouses, and those in the helping professions. If you're naturally an extrovert, you already know self-destruction is a group activity. If you're a loner, and not in the creepy, "he was a quiet sort, never bothered anyone," closet serial killer kind of way, you'll probably enjoy the many attractive individual options.
The solo practitioner of vice is never truly alone. No, they can spread the misery from afar. For example, a popular choice is alcohol. Even if you don't drink regularly, you can still drive while impaired, ignore important family events, or stop bathing. Your slightly sweet, but mostly sickly, aroma will let your loved ones know that you aren't happy, they didn't care, and you had no choice but to soil their welcome mat. See, we really do live interdependent lives in our global village.
Besides alcohol, there are over-the-counter and prescription medications which may dull the pain, but not ease the misery. It's rude to say drug abuse is over as a vice, but it's true. Good vices are scary, stupid, or expensive. A bottle of cough syrup just makes you feel sleepy. Any vice that induces somnolence is not special enough for a sufferer like you.
Your vice should be hidden, or only known to the people who would be embarrassed to know the truth. If your vice is spending, it's hard to hide those UPS deliveries from prying neighbors. Go for shock value while maxing out your credit card. Porn and giant stuffed animals inherently make people nervous. The best bet would be to link the two, such as pornographic giant stuffed animals. Even better, find a glow in the dark dog collar for your new friend, and further accessorize with chain mail and vegan leather.
After glowing and stuffed items, the next best vice is inflatable. The bonus is that said items can be deflated when family is visiting. Use your imagination in the whole inflatable arena.
Noise, danger and weapons shout to the world: "I need help!" Plus, nothing is quite so annoying as the speeding gunslinger in the pick up truck, loudly complaining about the dearth of independent bookstores in the suburbs. Rather than invest in knives or nunchucks , consider the more economical set of drumsticks. Other than in a vat of pudding, one can drum pretty much anywhere. Marking the furniture, denting the car and bruising your thighs are achievable for under $5.00. It's a portable vice, a movable feast of misery, and the volume can be deafening. Incidentally, drumming is a great way to tone the forearms.
When it comes to a food related vice, the first question is to eat or not to eat. Eating is, generally, a good idea. After you've chosen sustenance, the categories of food are hard or chewy, sweet or savory, or potentially lethal or probably harmful. (The person with a peanut allergy knows not to tread in legume soaked waters.) To induce misery, stick with simple carbohydrates, such as a nosedive into a sugar bowl, and the mood swings will delight whomever you haven't alienated with your relentless self-pity.
Plunge into suffering with a can-do attitude, and the world will be your oyster. Alcohol, overspending, self-mutilation, cupcakes and guns are merely suggestions for your downward slide. You are also free to broadcast your dissatisfaction with life over the Internet with words or video. Remember you are not trying to make friends with the similarly anhedonic; this is your party. The pain is all about you.
OTHER HW ARTICLES BY PAMELA MILLER
Copyright © 2007 by Pamela Miller
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pamela Miller saves the world by day, writes by night, and wishes she could find a hotter place to live than Phoenix. The world is simply too cold.