Someone else’s problem

You know those moments in life when it all just gets a little bit too much? Those times when you think, you know what, I don’t need this right now. When you just want to get up and walk away, find the nearest wall and smash your head into it repeatedly until all the bad thoughts fall out and you’re left with nothing but the bliss you believe you’ve earned.

Well, in those moments I find it’s healthy to lock all of your problems away in a small box at the back of my mind and focus instead on the problems of other people. This helps in several ways, first of all because other people’s anguish is far less stressful than your own. It’s also much easier to solve other people’s pain because you don’t have to live with the consequences, and perhaps most importantly of all, the misfortune of strangers is, sadly for humanity, hilarious.

For example, the woman who was running for that train but missed it by just a second – funny.

The person whose shopping bag split, spilling all of its contents all over the road – funny.

The couple fighting on the street over whose fault it was that they were running late, thus making them later – funny, funny, funny.

So in light of this I’m going to list some recent problems that have caused me great enjoyment, thus taking away all thoughts of my own and making my life seem incredibly happy. If you want you can laugh along. Trust me, it helps.

Problem number 1: Brexit.

Admittedly this isn’t necessarily someone else’s problem. I’m sure the financial repercussions of us leaving our European safety net will one day hit me right in the bank balance, and it would be wrong for us to mock the fact that the next few generations are, most likely, destined for the shitter. But putting all that aside, laughter is the best way to deal with the days that have followed our democratic decision to go it alone.

Had Boris, Nigel and Michael all worked in regular jobs, I’m sure their backstabbing, lying, treachery and ego would have seen them… oh no, wait, they’d have done alright for themselves. But to get to that stage and then quit just seems daft.

You’ve worked for years to get what you want. You’ve kissed the right arses, flirted with the right people and shown just the right amount of leathery flesh to squirm your way up the career ladder, and now you’re going to throw it all in, just because you’re shit?

Come on, if everyone in the professional world quit just for being shit at their jobs the economy would crash quicker than it is doing already. Have some backbone, stick to what you pretend to know, and at least give the outcome you’ve lied for a damn good go.

Brexit left us with two options – either weep uncontrollably at the future we’ve been left with, or find the whole circus it left behind amusing. I vote for the second option, which means I’ll probably lose. Ah well.

 

Problem number 2: The lad at the gym who could not lift, bro.

Having struggled in the gym myself for, well, what seems like forever since I started going, I fully understand the urge to lift heavier than you know is possible. You see big guys around you stacking weight on top of weight, lifting it with ease above their chests and grunting with delight as they smash out another totally awesome set, dude.

Then it comes to you, the skinny guy with the floppy fringe and the wrist bands that are too big to properly fit your wrists. You have only have two weights on your bar, one at each end, and you know even they will feel hard to lift. Your body is telling you it would be stupid to add more and your mind is strongly agreeing. Together they both know that there’s every chance you won’t actually be able to get the bar up from the rack, and if you achieve that miracle it may very well come down so heavy you’ll never be able to lift it off.

You will be trapped on that bench forever unless you scream for help and hope that one of the much bigger guys comes to your aid, embarrassing you but ultimately saving your miserable life.

The pain is real. However, when someone else goes through it it’s hilarious. I could feel his determination as his bony little arms lifted that bar. I could see the grit on his face as he clenched his eyes tight shut and pushed with all his might. I could sense his eagerness to move the unmovable, to destroy expectations, and to redefine what everyone else in that room believed to be possible.

Fortunately for me I did not feel his shame as the bar hovered agonisingly above his chest, moving neither up nor down as his little legs kicked and his little ego shrank. A much larger man ran over and lifted the bar off him with one hand, practically doing an honorary bicep curl as he did so.

It was awful for the guy on the bench, it was greatly encouraging for myself. GYM SMASHED, YEAH.

 

Problem number 3: My neighbours running out of milk

My final problem concerns something very close to home. I rarely hear much from my neighbours due to them all being, touch wood, quiet, polite, considerate people. There are three flats surrounding mine and so far what I have heard from them has been nothing but the occasional closing door or morning hello.

That all changed today when an argument started.

The people who live at the end of my corridor, we’ll call them Blonde Girl and Suit Man as that’s all I know about them, tend to leave home just as I do. I have been known to rush out of my door to try and beat an awkwardly forced conversation, but today just as I was about to flee I was stopped in my tracks by the following words:

“The day might as well be over now.”

I know it was a Monday morning, but that still seemed a little extreme. Anything was possible. Great things could have happened. Today might have been the day he finally got that promotion, or she finally passed her driving test, or they got engaged. You never know. But at 7:45am Suit Man was already convinced it was all going to go to shit.

I held back, hovering by the door for a moment and peeking out of my little spy hole to get a fish-eyed glimpse.

“I thought you were going to do it yesterday!” Blonde Girl said, her voice sharp and stern.

“I didn’t have time, did I?” Suit Man responded, “I was cleaning up after Saturday because you were out all day.”

Suddenly the tension grew. The air in the corridor became noticeably more cut-through-able, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end, and the Eastenders music started playing in my head.

It emerged over the course of the next 3 or so minutes that it had been Suit Man’s job to buy more milk, but he’d been unable to perform such a task due to him cleaning up after a party the couple had thrown over the weekend. Blonde Girl had been out all day, doing “stupid shopping with her mum,” and Suit Man was livid that she’d failed to pick up milk while she was out. However, as Blonde Girl put it, “How the hell was I meant to know we needed any if I thought you were getting it?”

Suit Man couldn’t text her to ask because his hands were full of rubbish.
Blonde Girl wasn’t psychic.
Suit Man would now have to start the day without his morning coffee.
Blonde Girl was sick of him depending on her to sort his bloody life out.

I was laughing. I think they could hear me, so they stopped bickering and went outside. After a few moments I felt brave enough to leave too, and headed for work knowing that eavesdropping is the best way to start a day.

 

So, after all of this, what have we learned?

Well for one we’ve learned that very few people are ever going to read to the end of a blog post nearly 1500 words long, but above all we’ve learned that laughter will cure everything.

Stressed? Laugh about it.
Sad? Laugh about it.
Experiencing occasional mild panic attacks? Laugh about it.

The world is full of things going wrong, there’s plenty for you to enjoy.

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