It's getting rough out there. Millions are out of work, incomes and GDP are down, and the DOW Jones is dropping like tear-away cop pants at a bachelorette party. Every day the news brings grim tidings of the future and frustrating examples of corporate profligacy.
While the unemployed suck down mud cakes scraped from the bottom of a rusty barrel the Wall Street bankers we're bailing out are gargling smoked oysters with Gray Goose.
It's enough to make you want to burn the whole thing down, make a mask out of your ex-boss's face, and declare yourself the king of Oak Terrace subdivision.
Wouldn't it be totally sweet to make your neighbors' wives your own and drink champagne from a skull?
No! Don't be a quitter!
We live in America, the land of apple pie and the real football and Future Weapons.
This isn't some African backwater where they hack minorities to death with machetes. We've got guns and SWAT teams and, more importantly, we've got gumption. We are always looking ahead to America's brighter future.
Sheesh, haven't you seen Star Trek?
That wasn't a Chinese spaceship they were flying around the galaxy, bro. The Brazilians and the Saudi Arabians aren't going to stop the Dominion from conquering the Alpha Quadrant.
So while your ancestral homeland is compelling you to be a pessimist, to give up on your dreams of that shining city on the hill, you need to remember one thing: you're American.
No matter how long you've been here, as long as you learned English, you are an American.
Buddy, it is your duty as an American to be positive. Look on the bright side. Turn that frown into an upside down frown, AKA "The Smile."
I've been doing it and it's surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it.
I'm sure your natural Americanism will kick in, but to give you a little nitro boost I have jotted down a few of the cons I have turned into big time pros.
Let's turn those BOOHOOs into HOORAYs!
|You and your wife and everyone in your family just lost their jobs.||Either a company just got waaaaay more efficient and will compete much better on the global market, or that company just went out of business.
That means a foreign competitor is providing cheaper goods to retailers, thus your standard of living was being improved, you just weren't paying attention!
|Your house is now worth half of what you paid on your mortgage. You can just barely make the payments and you've got no equity, so nobody is ever going to bail you out. The smart thing to do is give up on the dream of home ownership, default on your mortgage, and move out in the middle of the night to stay at a cheap motel.||Hey, free HBO with the room and they've got those cool old vibrating beds. Continental breakfast? Yes, please! The best flavor of danish is gratis.|
|You are being robbed by a homeless man with a screwdriver who claims he used to be a real estate agent for Century 21. When he realizes you don't have any money he's probably going to stab you.||Fewer than 10% of random attacks are fatal, even when involving a deadly weapon. Kick back, relax, and take a few shanks from a Phillips.
You'll be ready to thank that bum when you're sleeping on a real bed back in the ER (they totally have to take you in for free). You can also ask them to check out your infected burn from when you tried to light a fire in an abandoned car.
|Your son and daughter had to drop out of college because you couldn't afford to pay for their education.||The United States Army can educate them in life's most important lessons like how to machine gun a car's windshield or what to do if some guy is going to saw off your head on video. Did I mention enlistment bonuses? Cha-ching!
The best part is that you may get to see them soon. Martial law can't be far away and with any luck your loved ones will be deployed to suppress looting and riots in your home town!
|Tapeworms! You knew you should have boiled that rainwater that was collecting in the dumpster lid, but you were too tired to start a fire after you fought off those stray dogs.||A new mouth to feed means you'll have to eat twice as much just to maintain your weight. That just means you'll be twice as driven to catch cats in plastic grocery bags and fling them against the wall and skin and cook them and take them to your sick wife and youngest daughter who are living in the shelter city.
She always said she loved cats!
|Wandering around downtown you get caught up in a food riot. Before you know it, the security contractors are moving in among the rioters and they aren't shy about using pepper spray and bean bag rounds.
Ouch! Why do you suddenly feel so hot!? It's like you're being cooked from the inside out.
|Whoa! You just got zapped with a microwave beam suppressor. What is this, the future? Cool!
Who needs movies or comic books when you're living in a totally awesome science fiction world!? Wait until the guys back at the abandoned steel factory hear about this one.
|Look at yourself. Dressed in rags, wandering around a burning city. So hungry. All the time. There's just a dead body there on the ground. A perfectly good dead body. Nobody around. Nobody would mind if you just cut off a little piece...||After the first time it gets easier. You stop thinking about who they were and just see them as a piece of meat. You've killed people for food before, just never to eat them.|
|So cold...so cold...maybe if you just rest for a few minutes. Just lay down and rest. Then you can walk some more.||Take a load off, buddy. It's time for you to get some rest. Don't even worry about walking the rest of the way home. They'll find you during the spring thaw.|
They say that a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down and by "they" I of course mean Mary Poppins. I say who needs the sugar-coating? The Flintstone Chewable of reality tastes great when you're licking it out of your molars. Just keep reminding yourself that you're an American and something something for the Gipper. Buy on credit, I think.