When you have a problem, what’s the last thing you want to hear?
As for myself, I dread the shopworn consolation staple “You’re not alone.”
Talk about adding insult to injury.
Sure, whatever spot of bother I happen to find myself in may well turn out to be a rather crowded place, and one ought not to curse one’s counselor for speaking the truth, nor for offering an opinion with sincerity no matter how potentially tenuous its alignment with the facts.
What irritates me to no end, though, is when the assurance that I have plenty of company in my plight is presented to me as if it werecomforting news as opposed to the bitter icing on the salty pickle.
See, in my world view, warped as it may be, all my problems either (a) stem from a lack of imagination on my part, or (b) can be solved via imagination on my part.
Financial straits, for instance, including the myriad discomforts and difficulties that sprout from them, derive from stunted creative ingenuity, I say. For what else might it be that prevents me from inventing something fabulous and making a mint off my invention? Why didn’t I dream up Twitter or Harry Potter?
Nothing prevents me from doing that, of course, except for my apparent inability to come up with something lucrative to create. In other words, I lack not capital, primarily, but imagination, loosely defined as the capacity for engineering effective solutions.
Therefore, when I report a problem (be it financial, medical, relationship-related, or of any other kind) and am informed that I am “not alone,” I instantly feel I lack originality to such a stupendous degree that I can’t even come up with my own original set of issues and ailments, and thus I stumble through life plagiarizing other people’s like a writer that cannot think of a plot for his novel.
So tell me I’m not alone if you must.
Just don’t expect me to feel better if you do.