#2. Your Gut Reactions Will Almost Always Be Misleading
If you handle disasters well, I'm proud of you. Sincerely. Feel free to watch that Lexy and Stephany video again while the rest of us talk:
For the rest of us who get buried in that panic and chaos that I keep bringing up, there's a natural reaction to rebel against it or push back. This is where I consistently find myself when things are at their worst. There comes a point where the stress just piles too high and we give in under the pressure, declaring the problem "unfixable." I'm going to go back to my wife's wisdom teeth for a minute because it's a perfect example of how powerful this reaction can be.
Hers was not a simple case of "These things are growing in weird so we have to eventually pull them out of your headface." It was an emergency that had to be immediately addressed because she was a rare case of some fucked up nerve being in the wrong place -- so the more the teeth came in, the more pain she experienced. There was some infection involved, and it quickly became a case of "We have exactly one day open on the schedule to get you in here. This is not up for debate. Get here and be prepared for us to bitch slap those assholes right the hell out."
We also have shitty credit ... and even with insurance taking care of most of the bill, we still had to pay $200 up front before they'd even make the initial appointment. And another $800 before they'd do the surgery. I'm genuinely surprised I didn't hear the phrase "mandatory blow job" in their instructions.
If it had been two teeth over ...
But the point is that when she told me the news, I flipped out. In the ensuing panic, I told her, "There is absolutely no way we can do that. I don't know what to tell you, but we simply don't have that kind of money sitting around." I was stuck in that declaration until my mind calmed down enough to really give it some honest analysis. When I stopped pushing back, I realized that I did actually have a means of wrangling together the money that did not involve putting us into debt or giving a rim job to a mob boss.
And I see that all the time. Not just from me, but from many, many other people who find themselves sans umbrella in a urine typhoon. As a byproduct of blind panic, their gut reaction convinces them that the crisis is out of their control, and they just shut down all attempts at solving it. Yes, there are some that are beyond our ability to spank into submission. But more times than not, we can at the very least mold them into a more manageable shape. Even if it's changing the thing that life is trying to shove up our butt from a pine cone into a golf ball.
You're just going to have to trust me on this one. I've ... seen some dark things.
#1. These Disasters Will Happen Like Clockwork for the Rest of Your Life
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The biggest mistake I've ever made (and continue to make when I'm not careful) is being taken by complete surprise when the God of Bees points his scepter at my naked, floppy balls. Most of us do, I think -- even those of us without balls. Sorry, ladies -- guys talk about balls because otherwise, they just kind of hang there, useless and taking up valuable pants space.
We treat personal disasters like interruptions to our normal lives rather than parts of it. The truth is that they are as much a part of life as good news ... or even no news at all. They just tend to happen a little less often if we're lucky.
But even if you win the lottery tomorrow and your health reaches world record status, you're still going to have these pop up from time to time because problems are relative. I don't have to tell you that lives don't travel in straight, unwavering lines ... but I just did, so suck it. They have highs and lows. And even if your lows are better than another person's highs, they will still feel like the worst times of your life because it's being compared to all of your other experiences.
When he finds out they only have Lipton left, someone's losing their eyebrows.
It's precisely the reason we roll our eyes at rich people when they bring up their own problems. To us, their personal disasters sound like a boner contest on a nude beach. But to them, it could easily feel on par with you losing your electricity.
The point is, there is no escaping it. The only thing you can do is learn how to deal with it when it does show up. That's not saying that you have to walk around every minute of the day expecting a demon to jump out of the shadows and hit you in the chest with a ball of flaming shit. I'm saying that when it does, you can't be surprised by it. Because he's always there. Always shitting. Always looking for new chests to stain.
Your job as a human is to understand that the longer you stand there and scream, the more the poop is going to set into your shirt. You didn't want it to happen, but it did. Now, what cleaner works best on demon turds? Probably that Lexy and Stephany video.