Coping Skills

There’s a delicate balance that must be maintained when you always feel
worn out and sick.  The trick is to make sure that common ailments
– colds, flu – don’t make you feel twice as bad.  The first step
is psychological:  Admit to yourself that you are always
exhausted.  Come to accept it and consider it a twisted path of
punishment visited upon you by some ancient, Polynesian god.

The Christian god in the modern day has allowed too many outs.
The first mistake was turning the other cheek with Jesus.  This
showed weakness.  Then, putting the religion in the hands of Man
created several legal loopholes – all of which are necessary because
Mankind cannot naturally conform to any religion.  We are the
definition of chaos.  Everyone who’s had a relationship with a
woman has realized that.

It is the Polynesian gods – giants upon extinct volcanoes waving
shit-covered phalluses at teenaged women before pushing them to the
ground and anally raping them – who continue to remain unforgiving and,
by our enlightened standards, somewhat unforgivable.  Belief in
those gods then gives you true clarity.  Pain, loss, suffering and
the day to day grind of your utterly useless life can now be blamed on
a dark-skinned creature who wears skirts made of grass and swings an
impossible phallus whenever gas is vented from a mountain.

For those who feel exhausted all the time, short of breath and
constantly tired, the explanation is clear:  You have crossed the
path of an angry, unreasonable god.  Knowing  this, whilst
you lie in bed and wonder where your life has gone, is vital if you
wish to make it through the cold season.  Catching a cold, the flu
or any of the modern Linger Bugs is simply part of the overall
curse.  That truth allows you to continue through the day with a
full-on head cold yet not actually notice any difference.

As part of the ongoing need to admit your true condition, it is also
important to give up any sort of positive front created to conform to
social situations.  While conforming can often be an overwhelming
urge, the act of “putting on” good graces simply exacerbates your
condition and opens you up to all sorts of illnesses.  It is best
to ignore everything around you and walk as if you exist within an
impenetrable sphere.  As an exercise in humanity, it is best to
make eye contact with the homeless and the beggars and openly, boldly,
deny them what they’re seeking.  In the case of your peers,
however, always ignore greetings, catcalls and any attempt to get your
attention.  In certain cases, it might be easy to learn this
behavior.  Perhaps you have broken up with a popular significant
other yet you are still in a situation where you meet disheartened
mutual friends on the street.  Perhaps you have been served with
papers several times.  The latter is going to be your best
starting point whilst training yourself to ignore people.  Think
to yourself:  The person calling your name wants something.
If you acknowledge them in any way, they will serve you papers that
will land you in court and ruin your life forever.

For city-dwellers, it’s often true.  Either that or a call of
“Hey, mister,” will be followed up by getting a home made knife rammed
into your gut all for the sake of the seven dollars in your hip
pocket.   That hasn’t happened to me, but I have been served
outside the Union Station Metro a couple of times.

The next step can be more difficult, though it eventually becomes a
source of personal amusement and, therefore, spiritual renewal.
When asked how you are feeling, always reply in the negative.
Those who are principled will find this to be a great relief, though it
will not immediately appear to be so.  If you try to avoid lying
to your fellows, then you’ll rapidly learn that answering the “how are
you” question honestly will eliminate a great, unexamined source of
sub-conscious lying.  It will be as if you had been in pain your
entire life and was not aware that there was something better.

Answering honestly to the question, though, takes a certain finesse
that can only be practiced in the field, as it were.  You must not
complain and, in fact, you must refuse to provide details of ill health
or any related concerns.  You are, simply, not doing well.  A
tongue-in-cheek “terrible” is acceptable, though such alarmist replies
must often be defended, so be ready for opposition.  However, if
you’re “not doing well,” most people will retreat if you gently refuse
to elaborate.  After a certain period of time, they will stop
asking after your health.  With the alarmist response, this will
not be the case.  They will feel challenged if you repeatedly
reply that you are terrible, going to die or awful.

Now you are free of society.  You have tuned out the people on the
street and you have forced your co-workers and friends to actually
communicate with you instead of parroting a set of socially set phrases
and questions that do nothing but weigh down the soul.

Return, then, to charity.  The above-mentioned reaction to the
homeless and the panhandlers.  They represent an uncontrollable
street element and are capable of entering your protective
bubble.  An excitable encounter could easily throw you in league
with other individuals and, therefore, force you to communicate and
commiserate.  The homeless are easily stopped when you meet their
eyes, though.  Look directly at them and they’ll freeze, unused to
being noticed.  This will only last a second before their
professional training takes hold and they ask you for a handout.
It is here where you use your power word:  No.  Say it
clearly, to their face, and do not waver.  For the truly
aggressive, you can make a physical gesture, also indicating no.
A dismissive wave of the hand.  Again, combined with eye contact,
this will often be enough to derail their tactical minds.

Occasionally, you will encounter a breed of homeless who aggressively
pursue.  Though this is increasingly taboo in 21st century urban
settings, certain individuals feel empowered by the situation or
location in which you both find yourselves.  These situations are
always unpredictable and impossible to address in a general
manner.  Several solutions exist, though they depend on your own
disposition.  Sometimes it is acceptable to treat the homeless
person as an ordinary person and ignore them.  You can make it a
silent game with yourself to see how far they’ll follow you.
Others will react to a much more aggressive eye contact response where
your dismissive hand gesture turns a bit more violent – point at them
where you say no.  Pointing, of course, is also taboo.  It is
strongly suggested that you use the “little patience” point.  This
is where you press your thumb and forefinger together while closing
your fist and, while keeping your hand close to your own mouth, you
clearly enunciate, “No.”  Move your hand forward as you say it, as
if it is the physical manifestation of the word.  Hold eye contact
for several seconds, then arch your eyebrows in the universal gesture
of “Are we clear?”

If you are a woman and nothing else works, then simply employ the
assistance of a man – a bouncer, a doorman, a valet.  A
professional is both glad to assist a woman and also unable to follow
up with advances or invade your bubble.  You can easily be 20
yards away before your champion is through dealing with the nuisance
and begins to seek gratitude or rewards.

All of the above combined with simple daily actions such as not
answering the phone or the door will quickly find you in a comfortable

zone where you can accept your unrelenting pain and exhaustion.
Turn off the ringers on your phone.  Check for messages in the
morning and in the evening.  Disconnect your doorbell and remove
any heavy knockers that are in place.  Force friends and family to
communicate exclusively by email, where you can deal with them on your
own time.

You will soon realize that you have removed all of the agitation from
your life.  You will find yourself strengthening, making peace
with your exhaustion and uniquely capable of weathering a cold or a
bout of the flu quickly, effectively and without any real
slowdown.  In these modern days of mystery viruses and superflus,
you’ll be healthier than anyone you know even if, like me, you’re sick
all the time.