Christmas Sunday Advice Column

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The one tradition I maintain each Christmas is watching A Christmas Story. It might just be the prefect family movie. Thanks to TBS’ annual marathon, I’ve seen this film hundreds of times.

I think the appeal of Ralphie’s Christmas is how small the world and his areas of concern are. All he wants is a “Red Ryder BB Gun with a scope and a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time.” He’s not worried about careers and retirement and Russian election meddling. His biggest problems are Scut Farkus and whether or not his actions will please Santa enough to be rewarded with a magical weapon.

This is really a fairly pagan/heathen outlook. Santa may as well be Odin. Ralphie’s gift request is really a prayer to the All Father that he will be prepared to meet his family’s enemies in battle and destroy them. Or at least that’s my read this year.

On to your questions.

I normally have a hard time with depression around the holidays, but this year has been especially bad. The girl I was dating left me recently and my friends haven’t been really around. I find myself alone often and sad because I have no place to go and feel like I don’t matter. Any advice for getting out of a funk and meeting new people?

This is a serious question and something I have a lot of experience with. Depression is a motherfucker and it feels especially heavy when you’re surrounded by images of people enjoying life during the holidays. Add a relationship implosion on top and you’ve got a metaphorical one way ticket to the Island of Misfit Toys.

Sometimes depression sufferers do a really good job of seeming like they’re having a good time. Casual friends won’t typically be there for you, but your close friends usually are, they just don’t know to drag you out of the house. If it’s someone you really love, it’s ok to invite them to do things or just make plans to hang out. I know that when I’m in deep fugues of melancholy I straight up avoid people and turn invites down while simultaneously feeling alone. The quickest fix for this is to force yourself off the couch.

Trust me, I know how appealing it is to stay in with Netflix and avoid the world. Getting off the couch is often the hardest, most important step.

Joe Rogan and some of the writers in the post-Fight Club pagan tribal communities have this self-improvement concept that makes a lot of sense to me: treat yourself like you are the hero of your own story. So today you roll out of bed, feeling too old for this shit. Maybe you brush your teeth with a bottle of whisky. This is how all the cool action hero stories start.

Everything you do from this point on is to grow your legend. Hit the gym as hard and often as you can. Pick up a martial art. Go shooting. Get dressed up and hang out at an art opening with weird oligarchs. By working on your legend, you will cross paths with other people on this path. This cooler version of you will attract better friends and hotter mates.

For me, it’s important to do things. I know the sudden singleness can be sad, but now you don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone. If you want to get super into fly-fishing or dressage or collecting moon rocks, you can.

Crossfit/powerlifting and Jiu Jitsu/MMA gyms are great places to meet new people. There’s something about these difficult endeavors that attract good, solid humans. And weirdly enough, there are tons of hot girls at these places now. You don’t want that to be your primary reason to go, but if you happen to meet someone you like who happens to squat 2x their body weight, well that wouldn’t be so bad.

Maybe all this nonsense I mention isn’t your bag. That’s ok. The main suggestion is to get out there and do something fun that will make you better. I’ve tried drugs and most of the other depression treatments. Nothing has ever worked for me like staying active.

What movie can you watch all the time and never get tired of watching?

Well, as stated above, A Christmas Story, but I can always watch Idiocracy and Office Space.

What do you think is the most important and empowering single sentence a person could say to himself regularly in order to have an extraordinary life?

Do more because there isn’t much time left.

Who do you think is the most terrifying fictional sociopath and why?

I’m going to cheat a little bit on this one and name a character who is based on a real person: Amon Göth from Schindler’s List. That character played by Ralph Fiennes represents the banality of evil better than any I can think of. He is vain, weak, murderous, cruel, stupid, orderly, efficient, and a perfect Nazi.

In real life Göth was convicted and hung for war crimes. I hope he’s rotting in hell.

What are some instances that you’ve seen or heard of where men stood up and protected or helped women in need?

People are a lot dumber than most of us would be comfortable with, but I think they are also a lot more decent than you could imagine. I’ve seen a number of rough situations broken up by bouncers. I know cops who have gone above and beyond to make women safe. And many people open up their doors to bring people in who need help. Anyone who tries to tell you men are always the problem probably has too many cats and a degree in some putrid form of Marxist theory.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done for money?

My mom bet me $50 I wouldn’t eat a cat treat. It was gross. But I got the $50.

Have you ever scammed a scammer? What happened?

Not really. The closest thing like this I’ve experienced is when people try those “I need gas to get to work” scams. Usually they have some gimmick like a work vest or a big ring of keys and a clipboard. Every single time I’ve offered to take them to a gas station and get them a gallon container of gas they’ve turned me down. Fuck those dudes.

 

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