The Biggest Loser

illustration by Seth Pala

Dear Cyrano,
 
I’m having an awful losing streak. It started about a month ago when I lost my handbag. Since then, I’ve lost my job at a good corporation, my husband, and my dog. I lost my best girlfriend as well. She’s with my ex. Even when I lost my temper over all the lost time and lost dreams, I lost my chance to tell them off when I lost my nerve. I’m devastated. I’ve lost sleep. I’ve lost weight. I tried to tell myself that whatever doesn’t kill me will make me make stronger, but I’ve lost confidence in that. Cyrano, what do I do? I think I’m losing my mind.
 
Down in the dumps,
The Biggest Loser

 

 

Dear Loser,

Celebrate!

You’re doing great. What did you lose? A hand bag? What’s in a handbag? Maybe a phone and a wallet, a few bucks and a deck of plastic. Mirrors, mints, and makeup. Tethers and trinkets. Forget all that. You’ll step more lightly though the world without those things.

A job at a good corporation? There’s no such thing as a good corporation. There are bad ones and worse ones, though the bad ones might seem good because the worse ones are so bad. There are three kinds of corporate workers in the world: the bitter, the desperate, and the upright comatose. Really, the tragedy isn’t in losing a gig like that, it’s in having had to live through it in the first place.

How many of your so-called “superiors” were chumps? Have you got enough fingers for that? And weren’t plenty of your co-workers grubby-spirited gossips whose coffee-corner palaver was predicated on the puniest politics this planet can provoke? Didn’t it bother you to have to work twice as hard to get a promotion in which you could earn a third less than the dude in the next cubicle over who couldn’t even unbutton his trousers without Google Maps? Cubicles!

What the hell kind of concept is “the cubicle?” What sort of mentality comes up with the idea of increasing productivity by compressing people into tiny particle board compartments to swivel, tap, twaddle, and whither under overlord gazes in the dead light of fluorescent ceiling lamps and computer screens. Day after day. The hours wear like butcher knives. After a while, there you are, carved and apportioned. Knuckled down. Nose to the grindstone. Shoulder to the wheel. Hand to the plow. And all this with piped in music. A playlist guaranteed to smother every human feeling. Except perhaps that incessant, niggling undercurrent of trepidation and a sense of Time on quiet fire.

So you lost your job. Hallelujah! For God’s sake, hurrah for you!

And you lost that philandering husband and your chum, too. You’re on a roll, baby. Listen, for everything delicious about illicit sex, it’s really another thing when the bozo is bonking your bestie. That’s just pitiful. These folks tell themselves they’re on an adventure, but they can’t get off the front porch. It’s passion on a low budget. Parsimonious and petty. Such people have no weight in the world. They’re nothing. A fistful of dandelion fluff. Blow them out of your life. Just think of all the time you won’t be spending on that cut-rate Casanova and his cheap trick. Boom! A bonanza!

With all this crap out of your life, you’ll think more clearly. You already are. You’ve seen right through that old canard about how stuff that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Yeah, yeah, that’s the load they want you to swallow—getting beat-up, abused, and misused by life or people is really a good thing. What baloney. Anyone with a quarter of a gin-soaked brain knows that shit wears you down. How can anyone think otherwise? Stupor. That’s got to be it. Hypnotically induced. A long cradle to college to corporate coma that allows the bastards to keep kicking you in the ass while you thank them for the privilege. But you’re free now, my lucky loser. Hosanna to the highest!

You’re not losing your mind. You’re groggy, that’s all. It’s to be expected after a long sleep through a black night. First light disorients. The white of it burns like bleach. But after a while you’ll find it’s full of glorious color. It’s the dawn, sugar plum. Have a good breakfast. You’ve gained a new morning and lost nothing of matter to get there.

Except for the pooch. That’s a shame.

Sincerely, your pal,

Cyrano Moon

Cyrano Moon is our guest advice columnist. He’s been with us since the beginning. A real mensch, as they say. Check out his other advice columns in Issues Four, Three, and Two.

See more of Seth Pala’s illustrations on his website.