These are miserable times, indeed. Much discussion abounds about dropping stock prices, houses without values, and people without homes and jobs. But the real question remains unspoken -- how in the hell can we profit from all this doom and gloom?
We sought some practical, if not cold-hearted, guidance from Lia and Nick Romeo, authors of the humor book "11,002 Things to Be Miserable About: The Satirical Not-So-Happy Book
." They figured out how to capitalize on an unhappy world, so why can't we? Below they offer advice on how to be not just a miserable person, but how to transcend all this negativity and become the author of a miserable book.
1. Delight in the Misfortunes of Enemies
Bad things are funniest when they happen to someone else, particularly when that someone else is a former lover, loathsome boss or member of the "wrong" political party. When seeking to chronicle the world's misery, a good way to begin is by remembering all the people who have caused you misery. While it can be hard to refrain from mentioning their actual names (this is called libel), it's still cathartic to imagine in vivid detail everything bad that you would like to happen to them. Imagining punishments for your enemies is a great way to fill dozens of pages with types of dismemberment, beheadings, psychological torture, etc.
After the jump, mull over how friends, history and alcohol, among other things, can be your miserable muses
2. Delight in the Misfortunes of Strangers
When you've finished torturing enemies, you still have the mishaps and blunders that befall the rest of humanity. There's the Austrian actor who slit his own throat during a suicide scene because a stagehand mistook a real knife for a prop. (He lived). There's the man who managed to get his head stuck upside down in a toilet for eight hours. The list goes on.
3. Delight in the Misfortunes of Friends
Normally you have to listen with mock sympathy to the complaints of chronically whiny friends, but when you have to come up with 11,002 things to be miserable about, the fact that these friends have been dumped or fired or whatever is a welcome source of inspiration. Have them tell you all about it.
4. See the Worst in People
Unfortunately, good things may still happen to you, but even these can be a source of potential misery if viewed in the right way. If someone does or says something nice to you, stop and consider what devious, selfish motive is at work. Perhaps he gave you a gift because he's vain and wants to show off, or because he wants something from you, like the virginity of your daughter. No one is above suspicion.
5. Remember History
History may be written by the winners, but that doesn't mean you can't look up the names and gruesome fates of the slaughtered, the vanquished, the beheaded and the dispossessed. From the wives of King Henry VIII to the lovely neck of Marie Antoinette to the fighting between pioneers and Native American tribes, history is an endless source of inspiration.
6. Drink a Lot of Alcohol
Getting drunk can induce a useful mixture of melancholy, self-pity and nostalgic regrets that will fuel pages of productivity. If you drink a truly staggering amount, you'll even be able to experience and chronicle the misery of vomiting, making out with ugly people, terrible hangovers, etc.
7. Misery, Actually
As a corny British voice-over once said about love -- misery, actually, is all around us. It's in our meaningless jobs, our spoiled children, our recently evaporated retirement savings, the diameter of our thighs and our low IQs. Just keep an open mind, and the muse of misery will descend. Lia and Nick Romeo's book "11,002 Things to Be Miserable About" is out now from Abrams Image books They also maintain the blog www.thingstobemiserableabout.com.