The Best Thing You Can Do With A Worst Case Scenario
How to Game Your Own Psyche So You Can Get On With Your Life
I don’t mean to brag, but I’m a great storyteller. Primarily, my audience is myself. For example: if my partner is 10 minutes late, but is usually on time, and hasn’t texted me all day, and isn’t responding right now, THEY ARE DEFINITELY DEAD. I can come up with a thousand ways that they could be dead, and then I can come up with a thousand ways I would need to react when the guy at the coffee shop gently approaches my table to tell me he’s just received a telegram explaining that my partner had been killed in some kind of a battle. (My imagination relies heavily on thematic tropes from war movies). When my partner shows up five minutes later, apologizing because he hadn’t realized it was going to take so long to bike to the coffee shop, I am shocked first and relieved second.
But more, I’m talking about this kind of story (which I will write in second person, as a good storyteller occasionally does, as a kind of device): You sent an email to your boss at work, telling them that you will have to take a few days off in four weeks because you’ll be traveling to New York for your sister’s wedding. You were going to lie to your boss and say that it was surgery, because who can argue with surgery, but you decided there were too many ways you might get caught, so you decided to go with the truth. And you were going to ASK if it was OK for you to take a few days off, but you’ve been trying to be more assertive, and anyway, you already have the plane tickets. But it’s been four days, and your boss has not responded to the email. And so you grow sure that your boss is PISSED. She hates you. She sees you as ungrateful and bothersome. She is, right now, talking to HER boss about what steps she might be able to take to expeditiously fire you. And bosses talk to other bosses, so once you’ve been humiliated and booted, you’ll never work in this here town again. (Your imagination relies heavily on thematic tropes from tales of the Old West.) As you tell yourself this story, you can identify it as a story. You know, intellectually, that it’s probably not what’s actually going on. But until you hear back from your boss, you feel unable to seriously entertain other possibilities.