Saturday, August 21, 2010

Zeitgeist Nightmare Problem Hotline

Hello lost and scared liberal arts graduate!
Thank you for calling the ZNP Hotline!
We are here to help you with those overwhelming problems
that you're gonna get through just fine
because everyone has problems like these.
We're so glad you called.

Press 1 if you want to talk about bedbugs:
Press 1 again if you've got bites in groups of 2's or 3's, and you're itchy and flipping out.
Press 2 if you think you found a bedbug in your house and you're flipping out.
Press 3 if you're living in a chemical haze amidst piles of plastic bags, and you're flipping out.

Press 2 if you have digestive problems:
Now, Press 1 if shitting is painful and you don't know what's wrong.
Press 2 if you have been Diagnosed With Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but you still feel like you have no idea what's wrong.
Press 3 if you had a colonoscopy and it didn't reveal anything, and you're dejected because shitting still hurts and you don't know what's wrong.

Press 3 for money and employment problems
1 for underemployment
#if you're running out of money
*if you're freaking out about living off your saving, trust, parents or bar mitzvah money
2 if you can't handle your job
# if you feel overqualified
* if your boss is a flake and/or jerk
0 if you are in the food service industry and you want to get out.

Press 4 if you need to talk about the recent NY times article about 20 somethings.
# if your parents sent you this article
* if you were featured in a photograph in the article

Press 5 if you're overwhelmed with guilt about the pettiness of your own problems, because you know you've got it so good.

Press 6 for struggles about Relationships
1 for break ups
# for lingering feelings about long past break ups
* break ups in the works
2 for difficulties with transcendent, complicated friendships
3 for friendship stress related to cohabitation
0 if that stress has been amplified by bedbugs

An operator will be with you shortly. In lieu of music, here are some things to remember, and to remind your friends:

It's not your fault it hurts to take a shit.
it's the diet we've learned,
the anxiety we shoulder
and the after effects of the great drugs we are given when we are sick.
If you find it in yourself to mention you are in pain, you will quickly find friends and family with similar problems.
Try their advice, but do not become discouraged if relief does not come quickly.
Anxiety is likely part of the problem,- that's true
But this does not mean it's in your head, or your fault
The only way past that is actually to teach yourself not to worry. this takes time.
Eventually, you'll probably figure out how to make it better.
Your coping skills are as strong as you believe they can be.

It is not your fault that your employment does not fill your dreams.
hold your head up, we're in a recession
and yes, we have been lied to all our lives
there is not space for everyone
or even everyone with an education like ours
to have the perfect job.
Maintenance work is work: there is honor in helping with homework and wiping down tables.
Divert the question 'what do you do?' by answering what you care about.
Do not let go of your dreams.
follow them gently,
with as much energy as you can muster,
but no guilt for not having more.
you've been taught a manic ambition,
turning that sustainable does not mean tuning it down.
now is the time you get to define success.
you have already made the decision to be an artist, and nothing will change that
even if you never make a dime off of it, or if no one ever hands you external validation.

the nonprofits are unfortunately not gonna save the world.
you wouldn't be the savior even if one of them hired you for the perfect job.
The same system that's fucking you is fucking everyone,
and things are only going to get more complicated in your life time.
The only work you will ever do is making a life that mutually nourishes you and the world.

Articulation is an act of resistance.
When you can, maintain space for the bigger problems beyond your every day.
If you can afford not to, do not cut off your family tree.
But if you have to do that to thrive, know that you are not alone and you can plant your own.
Any relationship you make impact on is a site of positive change in the world.

Relational struggle is an inevitability and a place to learn.
All this theory you've had the privilege to absorb does make it complicated,
accept that your words are muttled in describing the paradigms for the relationships you seek.
you have too many friends from messy divorces to leap fast and easy for forever, that's true.
yes, you risk navel gazing, you risk delusions of infinite time
Modernity was chosen for you, in all its awkward permutations.
if you do not choose to leave it, you will make it better by your participation.

And we did not brings those indestructible little fuckers in our houses,
they are everywhere and the city does not know what to do with them.
By dealing comprehensively with the problem,
you are helping support new york's effort to get bedbugs under control.
Do your part to de-stigmatize by telling your parents and your friends,
but for fucks sake be cautious about them:
sleep in your bed so they don't burrow deeper in to the walls,
tell everyone you know to buy a mattress encasement,
and have faith that your relationships will survive all of this logistical stress.

You are making the right decisions.
Use your powers of language to help yourself and your community believe this is so.

When one of our associates was babysitting,
she came across a scenario that helps calm her down:
After a hurricane hit Sesame street, Gordon said to Big Bird,
you're right, Big Bird, it's not okay. But it will be okay.


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