Monday, March 12, 2012

COLUMN: Depressed

Hiiii, everybody. How are you all feeling? Are you doing okay there, little buddies? You wanna talk about it? I mean, I don't wanna criticize or single anybody out, but you just seem a little... depressed. I'm worried about you.

Heck, I'm worried about ALL of us. Here I was, going about my business and trying to slog through another January of cold temps, setting suns, and snow shovels when I just happened to read that tomorrow is officially The Most Depressing Day Of The Year.

This particular bit of festive January cheer comes to us courtesy of the late lamented Sky Travel Channel, who apparantly thought it would be a grand bit of fun to distract travellers from their irrational fear of flying by instead filling them with hopeless thoughts of despondency.

According to Sky Travel, the third Monday after the first week of the new year can scientifically be determined to be The Most Depressing Day Of The Year. This nugget of wisdom came to them courtesy of educator Cliff Arnall at the prestigious Cardiff University in Wales. Of course, later it was revealed that Arnall was merely a part time tutor working for a continuing education program called The Centre for Lifelong Learning who at one point held classes on the Cardiff University campus. Following this logic, incidentally, I am henceforth to be known as Shane Brown, Transportation Facilitator with the U.S. Government, owing to the fact that (a) I own a car, and (b) have driven said car across the Arsenal Bridge a couple times.

But why bother attacking Cardiff University educator Cliff Arnall on his sketchy credentials when it's way more fun to attack his pseudoscience instead?

Arnall came to the famed Blue Monday discovery by using the following formula:


Where W = winter weather, D = your total amount of debt, d = the Christmas debt you can afford to pay, T = the time that's passed since Christmas, Q = the time that's passed since failing your New Year's Resolutions, M = your low motivation levels, and Na = the feeling of a need to take action.

It's just that simple.

Never mind the fact that most formulas provide things like, oh, equations. And units. And mathematical sense. Instead, I'm just going to assume that I don't know nearly as much about contemporary theoretical psycho-mathematic pseudoscience as a part-time tutor at a continuing education center in Wales. It's probably because I don't have a cool Welsh accent where I get to roll my R's.

So let's push logic aside and just assume that our Welsh friend Cliff is correct. That weather and debt and motivation have collided into a maelstrom of maximum suckiness that will make tomorrow the definitive Most Depressing Day Of The Year. Frankly, I'm all for it. If we have to have a most depressing day of the year, let's just get it over with right now. That leaves over 11/12ths of the year 2012 that are now guaranteed to suck less than tomorrow -- and that includes December 21st, 2012, when the Mayans may or may have not correctly predicted the end of the world. So if the world DOES end, it might suck -- but not as much as tomorrow will*.

(* If tomorrow's even correct, that is. See, there's another school that believes the true Most Depressing Day of the Year is the third Monday of the year, regardless of when the New Year falls. For THOSE people, Blue Monday was last Monday -- the very day that I'm sitting here writing this column now. And I've gotta say, the only thing I've felt today is mild hunger. And I suppose a little repulsion, but I WAS watching the Republican debate. Thus far, though, no depression.)

Ergo, I think we should be prepared for the Most Depressing Day of 2012 to strike us tomorrow. You have been duly warned. But don't worry, I think we can beat Cliff and his mandated quagmire of depression. All we need to do is take away key aspects of his formula and the whole thing collapses like the nonsense that it is.

#1 - You know the easiest way to avoid the guilt of failing a New Year's Resolution? DON'T MAKE THEM. They're designed to fail and make you depressed. You're going to improve your life because you WANT to improve your life, not because some arbitrary date is telling you to.

#2 - It appears the driving struggle behind Arnall's formula involves your motivation level vs. your need to take action. The way around this is simple: NEVER AGAIN FEEL A NEED TO TAKE ACTION. This takes time and practice, but let me tell you from experience, it can be done. Take last night for instance. I went to bed two hours late. Wanna know why? Because getting off the couch to walk to the bedroom seemed like too much of a chore. THIS, my friends, is the concentrated power of laziness, and it's something I excel at. Let's face it, a good depression takes WORK to muster up, so just become TOO lazy to get depressed. I'd help you with this, but frankly, I'm too lazy. Just join Netflix, the rest should happen naturally.

See? With a little bit of effort and hard work, we can pull together and get through this. By the end of tomorrow, we may all be lazy, lifeless, unmotivated, obese, disheartened, debilitated, and dull... just don't call us depressed.

No comments: