Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Well, Since Your Life Sucked . . .

Much to my surprise, I got a call from Suzanne the other day, saying she wanted to pick my brain about something. She asked me to meet her at this place called the Prairie Grass Cafe in Chicago. "I know you love burgers," she said, "I'm telling you, BEST in the state!" Not that I needed much prodding to help a friend, but it was clear she knew how to guarantee my participation.

"So this guy I'm working on," she said, "I'm having trouble helping him, because he doesn't seem to want it. It's like he doesn't care, like he's given up."

"What's his problem?" I asked.

"Well, he's in his early forties and he's, like, you know, single. And he's all, 'I'm past the point of no return, I missed my chance, how can I find anyone, how's it gonna happen, I'm gonna live alone for the rest of my life.' He even bought this huge hi def big screen tv he can barely afford. I asked him why, and he's like, 'Well if I'm not gonna get pleasure from anything else in life I might as well have a great tv, I'm here all alone watching tv most of the time anyway, might as well make it the best experience I can.' It's so sad. It's like he's too bitter to even try anymore."

I knew where she was going with this. "So you need the advice of someone else who was just as bitter."

She seemed ashamed of the truth, but relieved she didn't have to come out and say it. "What would you say?"

"Well, he's not gonna respond to basic words of encouragement, like, 'Oh, I'm sure there's someone out there,' or, 'It'll be there when you least expect it.' It's gonna sound like an empty promise, or since he's like forty already, he'll think if that was true, it would have happened by now. You're better off doing this anecdotally, stories of people it worked out for. That'll make him more likely to think that it's actually possible. It's worth a shot."

She smiled. "I'll give that a try. It's a start at least. Oh, THANKS! How's the burger?"

I shook my head with delight. "Outstanding."

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