Suck it Up

[Not much news on the injury front. Still cannot stand or walk, and can barely sit. I hope to be improved by Monday, at least enough to write a column! When I return to manageable strength one of the first things I will do is the Motto O' the Year column, for which the Institute is famous. In the meantime, I thought you would enjoy the motto of the year from 2004. I am weighing over ideas for 2008, so if you have suggestions, send 'em in! - H]

The Hyperion Chronicles
“More Fun than breaking your ankle while playing basketball”

#303 S.I.U.-W.I.O.-&-G.O.I.

I was talking to Koz this morning and he mentioned that it was almost July and I’d yet to reveal the Official Motto for 2004. Each year since we began the Hyperion Chronicles we’ve had a motto to cover the 12 months.

In 2000 (our fledgling year), the Motto was “Please Read This” (later changed to “Vote for me you Imperialist Dogs” once I decided to run for President).

In 2001, we got serious, and went with a motto of “The Valiant Taste of Death But Once.” This (besides being a tribute to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar) meant that if you’re going to make people mad, go down swinging; writing about what matters, and taking a stand.

In 2002, a tough year at the Hyperion Institute, we turned the flashlight around, and ended up with “People are out to get me just because I’m paranoid.” (And believe me; I know the bad things you’re saying about me right now.)

In 2003, we went back to basics, with “It Is what It Is,” a reflection that capsulated the frustration with people who try to change what cannot be changed.

And this year (at least until I come up with something better), I’m taking last year’s theme a step further, with three offshoots. These are mottos to change your life. Learn them. Know them. Live them. Or, if you’re too lazy to do that, at least mock others with them, because I promise you’ll see this behavior in at least 10 people TODAY ALONE. Print it out and leave it on their desks with a Post-It Note that reads: “Hint Hint.”

#1 S.I.U.

I saw a comedian earlier this year talking about empathy, and how women usually had it in spades, where men generally did not. He said that if a woman at the next table (there in the club) said she just lost her job, the surrounding women would be sympathetic, whereas the average man (and I’m just quoting, Grandma, so don’t get mad) would say something more along the lines of, “Suck it up, Asshole!”

Maybe you had to be there. But regardless of how you feel about gender stereotypes (and I’m not saying I agree with the comedian, although he had a point), this is a motto we all need to do more of. Too often in this world I see folks (including, lamentably, myself) whining about their lives. People—I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—if you can read this email, YOU ARE NOT OPPRESSED. Forget the fact that you’re lucky enough to be reading me, future world-conqueror. YOU’RE AT A COMPUTER, MORON! This means by definition you are not living the bad life. Even more simply than that, YOU CAN READ, which puts you ahead of many.

I’m not saying things haven’t happened to you, and you’re life hasn’t been tough. And I’m not picking on people bereaved or struck by tragedy. But I know, you know (and Bob Dole knows) what I’m talking about: a fully documented1 97.5% of griping in today’s society is done unnecessarily. I get so sick of people whining about every little thing: I don’t have a car…my ears are too big…I have to share a room when company comes…the new construction is adding ten minutes to my commute…blah blah blah. Will you people do me a huge favor and slap the silly out of you? Blood and Bloody Ashes; I have news for you, my friends: YOU ARE NOT OPPRESSED. YOUR LIFE DOES NOT SUCK BEYOND ALL RECOGNITION. SUCK IT UP AND QUIT WHINING!

#2 W.I.O.

My friend Bear and his brother Mandela were playing basketball in the driveway one afternoon, when Mandela fell on the concrete and started rolling around in the grass, howling. Unaware that Mandela had just broken his ankle2, Bear tried to be encouraging by yelling out the helpful advice, “Walk it off, you big baby!”

Okay. Perhaps in view of hindsight, human kindness, karma, blah blah blah; telling someone with a broken ankle to “walk it off” isn’t the best thing to do (although we can’t say if the advice would have worked, because his brother never even tried), but overall, this is a great motto. Again, how often do we hear people whine about things that happen to them THAT ARE SO FREAKING MINOR? In theory, our grandparents walked to school every day, in the snow, uphill, fighting pirates, blah blah blah, and yet we want to be ferried around with a hangnail. Kids miss so much school today, Adults miss work, and we all miss church, lunches, birthday parties, parole meetings etc. for the lamest excuses you’ve ever heard: “I stubbed my toe…I have a headache…I feel dizzy…I have three weeks to live…” Bunch of whiners.

I’ve read stories about people trapped under rocks and in coal mines who cut their arms off to escape. There was even one story a few years back in Reader’s Digest (home of quality literature for people too lazy to read the whole story) about a boy who got both of his arms cut off by a tractor and managed to crawl half a mile to his house and dial 911 with a stick in his mouth! There is very little that happens to us (with the possible exception of a frozen Snickers bar in the groin) that we cannot “Walk it Off.” (Although, if the doctor amputates a leg, you might want to “Hop it Off.”) See to it.

#3 G.O.I.

This last one encompasses the first two, and anything else I might have missed. Again, perhaps an egregious example: There is a Simpsons episode where Homer is reading the paper, talking to his wife Marge about people whining. He says, “Look at these people in the paper. Jeez, would it kill you to smile?” Marge retorts: “They’re refugees!” to which Homer responds, “Well, moping won’t help!”

I’m laughing at Homer as I write this, and indeed; I beseech you: if you do run into some refugees, please cut them some slack. But for the rest of us (you thought I forgot, didn’t you?), you/me/us dwell way too long on things instead of doing what we must: GET OVER IT. So your boyfriend broke up with you and is dating some skank. You lost your job and spend your days feeling superior to Montel Williams’s guests. The dog ate your homework, you can’t see the movie you like, the Supreme Court wouldn’t let you be president…blah blah blah. You cannot make your life better until you move on. And you cannot move on until you GET OVER IT.

But how, you ask? I feel so bad. Well, the first thing is quit moping. Turn off the Dashboard Confessionals CD and quit watching Kate and Leo for the three hundredth time. Get out and do something else. Even if you don’t feel like smiling or being nice, do it anyway. This is known as the “Fake it till you Make it” philosophy, and surprisingly, it works. If you pretend to be happy for awhile, pretty soon you’ll find yourself actually becoming happy.

This is revolutionary to most people because—and I don’t want to frighten you with my insight here—THEY LIKE BEING MISERABLE. People love complaining about their lives. Sick as it is, many people crave the pain. It gives them a ready-made excuse for failure. They get to talk about how unfair it all is. They get attention. Blah Blah Blah. Get over it already. If you have a number tattooed on your forearm3, you can complain. If the doctor amputates the wrong leg, I’ll listen to you bitch and moan a while. There are others, perhaps. But for most of us, for most things, our moping only prolongs our misery. Nobody really cares but us (and even we sometimes get sick of it). So, please, for the love of chocolate pudding, do yourself (and all the rest of us) a favor, please. Suck It Up, Walk It Off, and Get Over It.

Until next time (unless I pout like a baby because no one writes me back),

June 22, 2004

I made that number up. Get Over it. Or, Suck It Up and find the real statistic yourself.
This actually happened. I prefer friends who are unintentionally cruel to siblings.
In case you’re a bit slow on the uptake, that means survivors of Concentration Camps.

Thanks to Koz for ideas
Thanks to Bear for the great story
Thanks to Mandela for taking one for the team
Thanks to Tufloi for Editing

Next Column
Will come after this one

Motto Explanation
By now, it should be obvious. If you’re unsure, Suck It Up and read the column again.

[Do you have an idea for 2008's motto? If so, email me:]

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