If you ever experienced a point in your life, when everything in your life seemed to suck donkey balls, you may have been on the receiving end of the following verbal pat on the back from one of your friends:

"Every dark cloud has a silver lining."

It's a phrase often tossed around in the general direction of otherwise normal people who go through a period during which they smell of hopelessness, broken dreams and empty bottles of Jim Beam.

And the person who speaks it is usually right.  Rarely is a situation 100% negative.  The only problem is that silver linings are just linings.  It's good practice to learn to notice them so you don't stay a chronic complainer for life.  But you know, 99% of the dark cloud is still pitch black.  Sure, now that your boyfriend dumped you he can't cheat on you anymore.  Your parents' tragic car accident gave you a nice inheritance.   And at least that huge genocide had the silver lining of doing something about the overpopulation problem.  But no matter how beautiful those silver linings were, in all cases it was still a downright shitty cloud.

(Cue protesting mob of politically correct teenagers:)

What do we want?  NO MORE SHITTY CLOUDS

When do we want them? NOW!!!

The thing most silver lining seekers are right about, is that we should learn to keep an eye open for the positive side of every situation instead of being a negative Nancy (no offense to any people actually named "Nancy").  Because wherever you are, some part of your life will always suck.  And if nothing sucks, you'll just take the part of life you're least satisfied with and pretend it's the end of your world. (#firstworldproblems).  It's how humans work, I'm totally guilty of this as well.  So staying posi is an important skill.

But another thing humans do, is imagining their ideal future as if everything in life works the way social interactions work in a porn movie.

• We dream of traveling the world permanently and how amazing it will be, but we ignore the part where it makes it very hard to sustain a relationship or ever see our friends again.

• We dream of being a rich respected CEO of some billion dollar company but always leave out the fact that we'll have to work 80 hours a week, every week and that the milkman has a reputation for shooting (on) sitting ducks.

• We're jealous of the people with washboard abs and photoshopped thighs.  But we forget to be jealous of their strict training regimen, controlled drug use and the complete lack of pizza in their diet.

I'm the first to say that a positive mindset is much more beneficial for just about anything in life, but the above examples prompted me to coin a new phrase that people should use more often:

"Every white cloud has a shit-brown lining."

What's the point of it, you ask?

Well, because ultimately, since there are always positive and negative aspects to every possible choice you can make in life, I think we should decide them like this:

Step 1:  You ditch all the dark clouds as quickly as you can manage (some of them take time to pass). Fuck the silver linings.  They don't make the cloud worth your time.  The only reason to stay there is if you literally can't escape the cloud for the moment.  In that case, feel free to look at them for a while.  Silver is a nice color.

Step 2:  Go find yourself a nice beautiful white cloud.  Aah...  That's better, isn't it?  But wait!  If it's too good to be true, it probably is.  What's the shit-brown lining here?

Step 3:  Choose the white cloud that is lined what the shade of shit-brown you think would suit your living room best.  After all, if you're going to have to live with some shit-brown linings for a long time, they have to be the right ones for you.

Life is never blue skies and rainbows for very long, the presence of clouds is inevitable.  But if you pick the ones with the shade of white you like enough to make their particular shit-brown lining tolerable, you're pretty much acing the cloud game.

• Would you prefer a nice white cloud of financial stability and a social life that's taken care of with the shit-brown lining of not being able to control your own time and sometimes having to deal with the fact that your boss is a human and therefore sometimes behaves unethically or makes stupid decisions also affect you?   Or do you choose a main dish of freedom, staying true to your ideals and owning your own life with a shit-brown side dish of working very hard without the assurance that it actually puts food on the table today?

• Do you want the bright white shirt that says you're an impressive sales machine and receiving praise about it from all your co-workers with the shit-brown odor of lying to trick people into buying and forcing stuff on people who can't afford it?  Or do you prefer being the gallant white knight that knows his marketing style is righteous but stings itself with the shit brown lance of not fitting in the corporate culture and feeling like his beliefs prevent him from getting anything meaningful done?

• Do you want me to come up with a third example so you can get a clearer picture, accompanied with a shit-brown voice that screams "Isn't he done yet?" in the back of your head?  Or do you like the beautiful white space at the end of an article when you know there were no extra words required from me to make sure you understand the message, with the shit-brown lining of your OCD raging about the fact that one does not simply make a list and have it contain only 2 bullet points 😉

There are no right answers to these questions, it all depends on your favorite shade of shit-brown.

 

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