I do not enjoy parties. I don't say this to be like a "Gross, people." kind of person. I don't have a mug that says, "I hate people," though I guess that's a thing people do now. I like people a lot! I love spending time with friends. I adore meeting new people and hopefully making new friends. I can even function relatively well at parties if I pump myself up ahead of time. Theoretically, I should like parties! However, if you have anxiety (as I do), masses of people jostling around with varying degrees of familiarity whom you probably can't hear very well is not simply sensory overload -- it is an opportunity for your brain to turn on you faster than a brunette vixen in an old James Bond movie. Stupid trope, I know, but that's how it feels! Like your brain is a stupid trope! Which is why I wrote this short.
I don't know if you've noticed, but as you grow up, parties get less fun. If you've ever found yourself saying, "I'm just gonna pop in and say, 'Hi'," at a party it's because ... you don't want to do the party! When you are little, parties are AMAZING. It's all about playing games, eating cake or candy, and getting easily breakable gifts. Or watching your friends get easily breakable gifts. The biggest downsides were if you tripped on your tiny feet and skinned your knee or someone called you a poop-muffin. Either way, you always found an adult and they took care of the problem! Middle school and high school is where parties shifted to what they are now. Cliques started, talking to crushes became important, being cool was a factor. Maybe drinking began in high school, or maybe it started after high school, but acting stupid at parties because "Aw man I was so drunk" is a cop out that one can only use for so long until ... you are actually making it worse. Because let's face it, no one honestly says, "Thank god for that blackout drunk dude/chick, we had such a great human connection."
Eventually, one would hope that after we've achieved adulthood and our hormones have calmed down (and we can control our liquor) we would have mastered the art of gathering in large groups to mingle and chat. But not for those of us whose brains are sexy Bond vixens who turn on you with a metaphorical gun that shoots angry little brain bullets that burrow into your soul, saying:
"Everyone is judging you, and deeming you not worth knowing."
"Is this guy/girl hitting on you? Nope never mind, they've moved on because you SUCK."
"Oh my god, what is this person's name? Shit, they remember my name, why can't I remember theirs!?"
"Don't stop being funny! Keep this up! Stay charming as fuck or they'll all turn on you!"
"You are a black hole of a person, and Tracy just walked away because she is trying to escape your vortex of boring conversation."
Suddenly the music is too loud, you are always too hot or too cold, you gravitate to the snack table and munch even though the wasabi peas are hurting your mouth. You hope you aren't making an asshole out of yourself, but the secret is that you aren't the only person worrying about this. Turns out, even people without anxiety feel this way at parties!
Or at least, that is what I found out when I pitched this short to Cracked. A roomful of people I deem to be funny, smart, charming, and cool ALL felt this at parties at some point. Everyone in the room provided personal moments at parties when they felt crappy. People chimed in with, "I hate that," or "I think I did that." It only seemed right to put those terrible party moments into a filmable script. And because I'm a little jokester, I decided to play with how those little moments would be if they really were as terrible as they feel. The cast and crew got to make feelings into crazy, magic moments with special effects and cool editing. Is it cartoonish? Absolutely. In the heat of anxiety, everything in your brain is bigger, worse, and more embarrassing. Until you are looking back at the party in the rear view mirror. Because it's just a party, after all ... and it probably wasn't that bad.
It's Spring Break! You know what that means! Hot coeds getting loose on the beaches of Cancun and becoming imperiled in all classic beach slasher ways: Man-eating shark, school of piranhas, James Franco with dreadlocks. There are so many films about vacations gone wrong, it's a chore to wonder if there's even such a thing as a movie vacation gone right. Amity Island and Camp Crystal Lake are out. So what does that leave? The ship from Wall-E? Hawaii with the Brady Bunch? A road trip with famous curmudgeon Chevy Chase? On this month's live podcast Jack O'Brien and the Cracked staff are joined by some special guest comedians to figure out what would be the best vacation to take in a fictional universe.
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For more check out Why Anxiety Is The Plague Of The Modern World and 6 Scientific Solutions To Your Crippling Social Anxiety.
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