Letters to Santa from Your Favorite Mis-Directors

December 9, 2011
You better watch out...

You better watch out...

We know how busy you are – or, at least, how busy you ought to be – so we are writing to Santa on your behalf! Don’t bother to thank us – we’re used to being under-appreciated.

From the Critic…
Dear Santa,
You’ll have to excuse Gail this year for maxing out your naughty-or-nice-list software.  Who could have predicted a “naughty” list would have to be that long? Clearly she wasn’t paying attention, didn’t try hard enough, and messed up just about everything she did.  I do happen to know how sorry she is, though, since I’m making sure she’s examining and re-examining every mistake, misstep, and miserable moment in excruciating detail.  She doesn’t really deserve anything for Christmas, but you should probably bring her something small – very, very small – so that she doesn’t ruin everyone else’s holiday.
Thanks.  She owes you.  She promises she’ll be better next year.
The Critic
From the Rationalizer…
Dear Santa,
I realize that you have Rick on your coal-in-stocking list, but that situation wasn’t really his fault.  There were at least three other guys that were in deeper than him and, besides, how could he have known?  Do you know what it’s like these days, all the things a guy has to do?  And everyone was doing it, anyway – why should he be the one who suffers?  Besides, it’s the holidays, right, and isn’t peace and forgiveness what it’s all about?  Who are you to judge, anyway?  What do you pay those elves?  With all those orders and deadlines, I’m guessing your workshop is an occupational safety nightmare.  But Rick won’t blow the whistle if he’s got a reason to be satisfied this Christmas.
You hear me?
The Rationalizer (with assistance from The Escalator)
From The Planner…
Dear Santa,
Carol and Dick need a heads up from you on your preferred cookie flavors and whether or not you’ve developed a milk intolerance over the past year – they are happy to provide Lactaid with enough notice.  Also, they’d like to request that you land on the NE corner of the roof so that you’re less likely to wake the children. Besides, the prevailing winds are such that you’ll have a smoother ride that way.  Since you’ll be heading South when you leave their house, would you mind delivering some packages to Dick’s sister’s house – it’s right on your way.  They’ll leave them in a clearly marked stack three feet to the left of the tree.  And when delivering their packages, please pay better attention to gift arrangement than last year – it seems they were rather hastily delivered and did not create a pleasing presentation.  They trust that you have checked your list twice regarding their fine china collection – and that you will not repeat the error of bringing yet another gravy boat.
I hope production is on schedule.
The Planner

Dear BoM: How to Deal with Inner Doubts

August 14, 2011

Are you heeding your inner voices?  Need some extra-emphatic advice?  We are here for you!  Send us your question so we can answer on the blog – benefit the entire world!  Like this brave soul, who asked us this question:

Dear Board of MisDirectors:

Sometimes when I’m in a social situation, I say or do something that, when I’m thinking about it later, I feel really embarrassed about, or worried what people will think about it.  I can spend hours thinking about something I said, trying to figure out how people reacted to it.  Then, I’m afraid to go out again, because I may do something that I end up worrying about.  It’s kind of paralyzing.  How can I get over this?

Worrying Myself Sick Over Nothing

Dear WM-SON,

We do not understand why you feel you are worrying over nothing.  Clearly, your inner voices – that is, us – are trying very hard to tell you that there is something to worry about!  If we are suggesting to you that you may have left, let us say, a poor impression, there’s a very good reason for it.  The question you should be asking is not how to get over this, but how to pay even more attention to it!  Here are a few suggestions for you.

  1. First and foremost, don’t let anything interfere.  Say you went to church or synagogue (or whatever) over the weekend, and you wake up Monday morning with the realization that you may have left the unfortunate impression that you were into group sex.  Don’t let your job get in the way of reflecting on this!  Call in sick!  (You probably feel ill, don’t you?)  You will need as much time as possible, because…
  2. The next most important thing is to review all of the conversations and interactions that both led to and resulted from this.  Don’t skimp!  Examine every single word that was said, every tone of voice, every expression on the faces of people you saw (whether or not they were looking at you!).  Every single little thing is filled with meaning – dark, ominous meaning.  It is critical that you catch every nuance!  Because…
  3. Your future behaviour around these people, and in fact everyone else as well, will be guided by what you learn from this.
    1. Ask yourself this: what critical yet irreparable flaw led you to make that mistake in the first place?  This is the flaw (well, one of the flaws) that you must in the future hide from EVERYONE IN THE WORLD.  You will need a strategy for this – could be anything from “don’t talk about farm animals anymore” to “never go out in public again”.
    2. Next, ask yourself what meanness or perversion in those other people could have led them to interpret your harmless (though really poorly phrased) remarks in that sick way.  Once you have at least one vaguely plausible answer to this, you’ll need another strategy for letting these people know you’re onto their game and think it (and they) are nothing more or less than despicable – though you will, of course, continue to talk with them as is your (fill in your religious persuasion) duty.

These are just a few starter suggestions.  There is so much more you can and should do with these kinds of situations.  As you see, they have the potential to be life-changing!  Paralysis is only the beginning!

Thanks for asking.

Your Board of MisDirectors.

Finding our advice helpful?  Of course you are!  
You can find more advice, related to topics such as dealing with rejection, cheating boyfriends, weight loss,
and so much more, in the archives of our advice column, Why Bother?

Failure: The Subtle Revenge

July 13, 2011

Or, as we like to say, Failure: the other success.

As we point out in our advice column, Why Bother?, failure is a fantastic place to be, especially when it’s repeated, hopelessness-engendering failure.  You may ask, why?  You may say, that sounds rather dismal.  Of course it is!  That’s the beauty of it.  Let us explain.

Consider some of the arenas of failure: relationships, school, job/career, improving your lifestyle (say, eating better or exercising more, giving up addictions, etc.).  When you fail at any of these, what happens?  Pain, that’s what!  Feelings of inadequacy, guilt, perhaps shame.  You may also experience a desire to fix the blame on someone else (Your spouse just wasn’t supportive! Trauma from your childhood left you unable to cope!), angry defiance, and the like.

Hold onto those feelings!  Bank them!  They can guide you through many dangerous situations – situations which might suggest you try again.  We say, why bother?  The outcome is predictable – you’ve already experienced it – and it’s just a lot of work.  Remember the pain, the guilt, the anger, feel it all again – and give the “try again” thing a miss.  This way you save time and energy.  Success!

There may be those in your life who shake their heads at you, thinking you’re missing out on something.  There are two things you know that they don’t – and here’s the meat in the stew of failure as subtle revenge.  First, you are right and they – well, they’re just dead wrong.  You already know this.  Second, you know deep down that if you really wanted to, you could succeed in whatever it is – you’re simply choosing not to.  Therefore, you’re smarter than they are, and you win.  Success!

While there is a kind of brute-force rubbing-their-faces-in-it revenge in success, we note that the more elegant, subtle revenge lies in total, complete, abject, repeated, hopeless failure.

Make everyone sorry.

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