Starting over and Satan’s favorite retailer

Dear Dissonance,

I see why you have not written in a long time. You have nothing good to say!

The fact that you start out with the good news of your patient drinking too much only highlights how you like to bury the lede, in your patient’s parlance.

She’s getting married! It was only six months ago that you wrote to tell me of her breaking up with her ex boyfriend. Now she is engaged to someone that she just met and is getting married in six months? Couldn’t they have lived together first? What have you been doing lately! This makes no sense. I’m particularly troubled by the fact that the man she is marrying believes in the Enemy and is not clinically depressed like her previous suitor.

The depression worked to our benefit in multiple ways. It often made her feel as if she could not leave him and emptied her of emotional energy as she tried to be optimistic for two people instead of one. It also made her excuse his faults – like the fact that he constantly blamed other people for his problems and the rest of life’s ills on Walmart, a corporation whose existence overwhelmed him with anger.

As a side note, I LOVE Walmart! It’s like a retail Satan! Not for the reason the people who hate it think, but because it’s mere existence causes so many otherwise rational people to foam at the mouth in apoplectic rage as if it were run by Al-Qaida. It’s amazing there are not a slew of new entries in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders devoted to the store. But I’m sure many a dollar is spent in therapy by people who whose worldview is so troubled by cheap plastic toys produced in China that they don’t even realize we exist!

In addition, automatically disliking Walmart marks a person as one who “cares” about small retail establishments, even if that person buys most of their stuff at the aesthetically more pleasing place referred to as Tarjay, another big box retailer. Feeling good about oneself without doing good always makes Our Father happy.

But back to the topic at hand. Being with someone who makes her laugh is a very negative development. I hate especially that the timeline means that she will likely be able to have children. And I thought you had convinced her she should give up hope of having a family. This realization produced awesome results – while it lasted. One glass of wine after work would turn into a bottle and many hazy mornings. And she turned fatalistic about ever meeting a husband, which in turn produced a constant low grade despair that she had to work hard to hide and that pushed her away from the Enemy because the hurt was too hard to discuss. It must have made you very happy.

As you may have noticed, we can do a lot of damage in the space between what humans think will happen to their lives and what actually happens. When their life does not meet their expectations, we have a lot of power to mislead and undermine their values – not to mention exacerbate their unhappiness. In the case of your patient, she had thought she would marry at 28 after achieving great success in her career, whatever that would be. When neither the man nor the job she wanted materialized, she started to question everything in her life, including her faith. Being a bridesmaid five times the summer she was 28 surely intensified the questioning. Great work in engineering the timing of those weddings, by the way, in case I never complimented you at the time. Watching so many of her friends, who were seemingly so similar to her, find a partner, buy a home, and settle into the life she imagined for herself when she didn’t even really like the guy she was dating and hated her job was unsettling to her, and allowed us great power to fill her life with noise – parties, traveling, a house in the Hamptons. All things that helped her put off thinking about what she really wanted from life. That’s really one of our ultimate goals as I’ve mentioned before, because we do not want humans to develop their talents. That often makes them immune to our tempting, because they are less likely to chase fulfillment from temporary sources.

Now I regret to learn that those once powerful means may not have as much sway as a result of your patient’s impending marriage. You will have to reevaluate how to reach her. I will try to help by putting together a cheat sheet on how to undermine a marriage in its first year for you. It’s proven quite effective at establishing long-term animosity between spouses if not successful in breaking up a marriage.

Your affectionate aunt,


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