There’s an expression that says “the only thing worse than a world ruled by pessimists is a world ruled by optimists and the optimists are going to win.” I am a professional pessimist. I see the worst in every situation and the worst possible outcome of any variable. Every rainy day is a flood, every blemish is cancer and every meeting is an embarrassment before it happens. I speak the language of failure. Being a full-time pessimist is an art form that should only be practiced by the initiated. The purpose of this guide is to transform every budding cynic into a gentleman or gentlewoman pessimist. Not that you will bother to read something like this. You are probably just going to go ahead and assume you know how to be a pessimist and it is going to end in disaster.

Yesterday was one less day remaining until your death and you wasted it.

Welcome to Worst Case Scenario: A Gentleman's Guide to Pessimism, wherein I will demonstrate the means and methods of being a pessimist. This is a guide for beginners. Being an advanced pessimist requires one-on-one consultation and years of constant practice. Even then, you will never manage to become an advanced pessimist. It's too difficult for people like you and the last of the advanced pessimists are a dying breed. In fact, you probably will fail to grasp even the basic concepts of pessimism. Few do. Go ahead and try though.

The key to becoming a pessimist is to understand the differences between a pessimist and an optimist. Optimists always think everything is going to turn out great. Even when they have no choice but to acknowledge the ineffable truth that all things die and all joy is false, they will still pretend that their suffering is just temporary and boundless happiness lies just beyond the horizon. Obviously, a pessimist sees things a bit more realistically. They know that the world is a cruel joke played by a cackling sadist of a god on each and every individual. We aren't just dying each day that we live, we were born to die. Our existence on the earth is just a fleeting glimpse at the unending hell that awaits us in the afterlife.

To better understand these distinctions - or at least understand them to the extent that your failure-prone brain will allow - I have created a chart. This chart details the possible reactions of an optimist, a beginner pessimist and an advanced pessimist to a given scenario. If you can summon the wattage in your fading bulb to understand what makes each reaction different from the others you will be well on your way to becoming a beginner pessimist.

ScenarioThe Optimist ThinksThe Beginner Pessimist ThinksThe Advanced Pessimist Thinks
An invitation to a friend's birthday party.It is going to be great fun! The cake will be delicious, your gift will be appreciated and you will have a nice long conversation with someone you have not seen in years.The party will be horrible. Your friend's annoying girlfriend is going to invite all of her friends over and it's going to be packed with bitchy women. The cake is going to be one of those sugar-free cakes that taste like wool lint, your present is going to end up in the garbage and your ex is going to make a dramatic entrance and scream at you.You'll be lucky to escape with your life! Your friend is dating a closet satanist and her coven of blood worshippers will chase you around the apartment with enchanted billhooks. You'll be force-fed maggots and scourged with an iron flail to offer your suffering as worship to the Hated One. The cake is going to be made out of ground glass, your present is going to transform into an angry cobra and after being brutally murdered by a vagrant as you escape the party naked your organs will be harvested for medical experiments.
Getting dressed in the morning.Hey there, winner! You look like a million bucks. The world is going to open up to you today like a flower. The ladies will fall all over you and that tie might just stop traffic.You're a fucking loser. You look like you just woke up in a bus station and no amount of Fabreeze is going to cover the stench of failure that clings to you like corpse stink. Women will run from you like vampires from garlic and you'll be lucky if people don't try to run you down when you cross the street. You won't be lucky.You make yourself want to throw up. You have the color sense of Helen Keller and your clothes look like they were pried off a dead hooker's corpse at a murder scene. Cats and dogs will attack you in the street and the people you meet will hunt you like vermin on general principal. Before you put any more effort into thinking about walking out the front door you might want to consider the alternatives, like suicide. You'd probably just fuck that up.
Going to work on a Monday.Monday Shmonday, this is your favorite day of the entire week! You've got a whole weekend's worth of cool things to talk about with your coworkers. Hey, you just like being productive and starting a new week means a fresh start on all of those projects you have in the pipe.The only thing worse than your insipid peers at the office is your own inability to perform. You are probably going to end up bleeding to death while working the three-hole punch or electrocuted while using whiteout. Your boss probably keeps a hatchet in his desk and he intends to bury it in your face. Projects? What projects? The last time you managed to be productive was when you took an expectorant during one of your chronic sick leaves.Why are you even bothering? You're a failure at your job, you're about to be fired and you're still feeling the effects of all those tranquilizers you took over the weekend. Plus, going in to work means talking to all of those scumbags you're forced to call coworkers. Oh, great, another story about what your kids did. Fantastic! Let me tell you about how I picked scabs from my meth trains all night on Saturday and then spent Sunday masturbating to the thought of the final sleep of death.
Asking an attractive woman out on a date.Wow, she is just your type! She might be out of your league but you feel confident that with a strong opening line and your good sense of humor you will manage to convince her to go out with you. You're already thinking of an inexpensive but thoughtful gift you can give her on that first date. If the two of you really hit it off, who knows? You may get lucky.She is way out of your league. Just look at the way she's making eye contact and smiling. She thinks you're horrid. You could go up to her and ask her out, but she's going to laugh and dash your misguided hope to the amusement of everyone nearby. Even if she agreed to go out on a date it would be unbelievably terrible. If the stars aligned and she misjudged her tolerance of cheap booze, who knows? You may get Gonorrhea.She moves like a Siren but she lives on the thrill of destroying men like you. She's a gilded jewelbox full of worms. Why would you think of asking her out? She'll accept, lead you along, maybe bilk you for money. Then she'll take you back to her apartment one night and she'll take advantage of you. While she's sodomizing you with a roll of wrapping paper you'll finally notice that adam's apple. You'll try to scream and then you'll realize why she took your tongue with that pair of scissors. No, best just to forget about her and drink yourself into an alcohol coma.
Going to a baseball game.You love the thrill of competition and the excitement of the crowd. Nothing beats a few beers and some hotdogs with friends at the old ball game.Are you fucking kidding? A baseball game. The tickets are overpriced, the players are overpaid, your sub-literate mongoloid so-called friends who like baseball are not worth spending any time with and the food there is like eating rolled lard seasoned with e coli. The best possible thing that could happen to you would be Sammy Sosa hitting a foul that knocks you unconcious in the first inning.Your time could be better spent making graph paper by hand. The press of sweaty pathogen-laden bodies, the deafening hoot of twenty thousand inebriated mouth-breathers and doped beasts in pants two sized too small slapping each other on the ass all day long. The game will probably go into six innings of overtime and you'll be stuck fighting with your irritable bowel after a healthy dose of the sterility-causing chemicals they inject into the hotdogs. The best possible thing that could happen to you would be Sammy Sosa transforming into a dinosaur and eating your upper body in the first inning.
Buying a new car.You've researched the right car for your needs, you've got a good down payment, you're getting a discount because a distant relative works for the automaker and you personally know the salesman. There is no way you are going to get ripped off.Walking onto a dealer's lot is like walking into a pit of vipers that have just been raked into a frenzy. A salesman is going to hold you down over the hood of a car and force you to sign over the better part of your life savings for a used car masquerading as a new car. There is no way you aren't going to be ripped off.Oh absentee god, you have to buy a car! You're going to be tackled by a salesman named Keith who would sell his kids into slavery in Burma for a 50 dollar commission. He's going to blackmail you into signing off on a shitty compact at double sticker and it's going to be the worst lemon in the annals of cardom. Wasps will issue from the air vents when you run the heat, the headlights will blink out if you're within a mile of a cop, the alternator is made of fudge and the fan belts constantly discharge machinegun bullets into the engine block. Rolling down the window will cause the gas tank to explode and all of the door handles are swabbed with DMSO and strychnine. When you put your foot down on the accelerator a mechanical vagina will emerge and give you an erection and when you hit the brake a combat knife will stab at your penis. There is no way you are going to get out alive.



I know that was hard, but life is here to remind you how ill-equipped you are to cope with it.

Another important path to becoming an effective pessimist is to fully comprehend the happiness of those around you and know how to quash it as quickly as possible. This is not a trait you can memorize, but as you practice it in your day-to-day life as a pessimist you will learn to intuitively counter the joy around you.

To hone this skill in a beginner pessimist I have created an exercise that allows you to contemplate the source of happiness and devise a means to dampen that happiness. Look at each of the following illustrations and attempt to determine the source of the happiness. Then try to figure out a way to make that person unhappy. Select the white space next to "Why They're Happy" and "How to Make Them Unhappy" for the correct answers. "Murder them" or otherwise providing solutions that involve direct bodily harm are not acceptable answers. If you don't understand why then you're never going to be a real pessimist. Just give up now.

In fact, don't even bother with this exercise. Just close your browser. Hell, unplug your computer. There is nothing you can do on it that provides you with anything other than the illusion of entertainment. You're just trying to find ways to allow you to forget that you are worthless and incompetent.

Image One: "Happy Man"


Why They're Happy:This man is happy because he has won the lottery.

How to Make Them Unhappy:Remind him that 97% of lottery winners end up destitute within eight years of reaping their undeserved reward. Explain that lottery winners are five times as likely to commit suicide when compared to the general population and 12 times as likely to become divorced. In fact, feel free to make up statistics along those same lines, as the majority of the population will instantly believe anything they hear spoken in an authoritative voice. Lottery winners are twice as likely to spontaneously combust and 75 times more likely to eject a fully grown horse from their urethra during coitus.

Image Two: "Happy Dog"




Why They're Happy:As dogs have no soul they are incapable of experiencing true joy. What they experience is a conditioned response to the sight of food or possible other physical stimulation that simulates a predator-prey game locked away in the recesses of their acorn-sized brains.

How to Make Them Unhappy:Dogs are delightfully easy to make unhappy. Simply clap your hands together or shout angrily and they will duck their tail between their legs and flee. If you happen to see a dog eating its own excrement this might be a good moment to devour a juicy chop before its eyes to remind it that while it dines on shit you are superior and entitled to the finest flesh the lesser beasts can render.

Image Three: "Happy Baby"




Why They're Happy:Babies are horrid little beasties about as intelligent as an insect. The only amusement they derive would originate with their bodily functions. Perhaps this one has just ingested a flagon of putrid teat-milk from the mammary bilge of the creature that voided it from her loins. Perhaps it is gloating over the stream of rancid tag it has just jetted from its bowels like ink from a frightened squid.

How to Make Them Unhappy:Though they are unceasingly petulant and unproductive in society as a whole, babies somehow enjoy the same esteem and privilege as the best of grown men. The quickest and most effective way to remind them of their predicament is to vote down laws that offer safe haven to these parasites. Expose them to the hardships that the rest of mankind must endure. Leave them to bake in the desert, cut off their food supply randomly or allow them to nurse on a mixture of blended meat trimmings from a butcher's garbage pail. Perhaps, if they endure the cruel fate of an adult, we will have raised a new generation of advanced pessimists.

This exercise was not entirely fair. I created those illustrations and therefore they contain no actual happiness. They are rough approximations of what I feel happiness looks like, rendered ineffectively by my pain-wracked hands. It's all this cancer. I can't draw straight.

In fact, I believe I have failed at writing a guide to pessimism. Look on the bright side: there is no bright side.

– Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons (@sexyfacts4u)

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