Advice for Stupid Times

I had a planned post. Mostly written, even. It was a little ragged and needed some cleaning up, which I was going to do last night and this morning.

Then, stupidity happened.

So today’s post is a public service announcement: When living in stupid times, do not read the news immediately after waking up, or immediately before going to bed. Also, if you make the mistake of reading the news before bed, do not share that fact, or anything you learned from it, with loved ones who are trying to sleep, unless it’s truly a life-or-death emergency for you and your family that must be dealt with this instant. It’s not good for anyone.

And, guys? Stop saying we live in the stupidest times. Every time you say it that way, I swear, the universe takes it as a challenge and makes things even stupider.

What advice do you have for living in stupid times?

33 thoughts on “Advice for Stupid Times

  1. Take up an engrossing hobby. Miniatures, home renovation, gardening. Just about anything that takes you away from the internet, and depressing news.

      1. You know what, that’s good advice. I think I’m going to limit my news browsing to only writing and airplane blogs for the rest of the month.

        I mean MSFS Sim Update 10 is supposed to come out any day now, and I don’t want to miss that. But the rest of the doomscrolling isn’t doing me any good and isn’t going to change much anyways.

    1. I had a wild hair, and reposted a Cheech and Chong video – and it was so Hispanic, and so Los Angles …

      It reminded me of a story told by my brother – he had a friend who worked in a box factory in the Valley… the story was that if a yellow ‘migra’ van ever pulled up in front of the factory, after a minute the only people left in the factory would be the manager and my brother’s friend.

      1. Similar joke from those times – open the kitchen door of a Luby’s Cafeteria (a Texas cafeteria chain) and yell, “La migra!”. Instant exodus of 90% of the staff.

        1. …. it’s a joke?

          My uncle once took three hours to pick up dinner because he was picking up the best fish tacos in Bend, Oregon, and an immigration services truck pulled off the freeway.

  2. “What advice do you have for living in stupid times?”

    Close the front gate in case something stupid wanders in.

    Don’t have a front gate? Get one.

  3. Plan for what you can, prepare for what you can, accept what you can with grace, deal with what you can’t accept with vigor, and always make sure to have enough diesel to run a good backhoe, as digging mass graves by hand is time-consuming.

  4. Move to a different century. “What do you mean, there’s a war in Ukraine? You mean Kievan Rus?Never mind, I have real problems, the Turks just captured Otranto and they’re about to behead one of my main characters!”

    1. I mean, from a writing perspective there are far worse problems to have than characters stuck in a spot you aren’t yet sure how they wriggle out of.

      And it is good to hear that your book is moving now. 🙂

  5. Latch onto what you CAN do. Write, read about other times and places and worlds. Expand your skills or learn new ones that require stretching your mind a little.

  6. Someone who writes about shifters said her dad used to only watch the news about once every two weeks. I’m starting to think that’s great advice.

  7. 1.) Focus on making your world a better place, instead of all the things you can’t control.

    Seriously, the world is composed of people, and the spaces inbetween. How’s your sleep? Your nutrition? Your relationships with the people you care about? When was the last time you sent a letter, or a birthday card, or a random post card? When was the last time you called someone and talked to them just to catch up on how they’re doing?

    2.) Focus on the world around you right now, instead of on the terrible things that could happen.

    Why are you sitting here reading the internet instead of going for a walk, or enjoying some sunshine, looking up at the clouds and deciding what shapes they look like? What flowers are blooming in your neighborhood – have you taken the time to go smell them?

    3. Stop habitually doing things that suck up your time. Act intentionally.

    What are you spending your time on that does not help your day get better? Where is your time wasted?

    Sometimes, it’s better to just shut the internet off at the router, and turn off the phone for 30 minutes. In the silence, observe yourself jumping like a little cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine addict to keep trying by sheer muscle memory and habit to pick up the phone or sit down at the computer and do… what?

    How is that helping you accomplish what you want to become?

    Then maybe you should go do something that will, instead.

  8. I would like to live in a Not-Stupid Time. Ever more, I am convinced that there is No Such Thing. The… Intensity.. might vary some, but it seems the minimum is ‘Mostly Stupid’. I am NOT happy about this.

    1. Look on the bright side. If all times were mostly stupid, and most of us got through them more or less in one piece, then there’s reason to believe we’ll get through all of this stupid in mostly one piece too.

  9. And for today’s “I’m not a psychopath, I’m a writer.” does anyone know of any good references on the practices of branding people throughout history?

    Some of the characters are fabricated men. Those can range from fleshy back hoes all the way up to scary-smarter-than-you management units. And if your manager model is both smarter and harder working than their owner, and could pass for one at the bar, that would probably make the owners not entirely comfortable in their position.

    Therefore, fabs need to be marked somehow in a way that is hard to hide, somewhat humiliating, does not significantly impair their function, and is not likely to accidentally happen to an owner.

    My initial thought is its something like, they’re all made without a left outer ear, but I wonder what people have historically done?

    1. Branded on the hand was used for slaves waaaay back when– the OT Bible verses about “I have written your name on my hand”?
      Famously used to mark escaped slaves, and criminals, in Rome and anyplace they visited.

      Facial scarification– maybe with dry ice?– would lively work; I believe frostbite also bleaches beyond what a scar would usually be.

      1. That sounds interesting.

        Scar tissue and tattood barcodes on the right hand, which would mean anyone who was left handed, wore gloves extensively or had an otherwise scarred or missing right hand would automatically be suspect in certain circles.

        And, while the originals would have been bar codes, any sort of barcode like brand on a hand would stigmatize anyone, even if it was not correct, or even on the right hand.

        I would also expect freed fabricants would go to great lengths to get rid of it, from descarring surgery, to going as far as replacing their hands entirely, with anything from vat grown replacements to stolen contraband hands.

        And now I’ve got a whole slew of creepy back markets and body horrors for the characters to encounter.

        Thank you!

    2. Well, the Mesan genetic slaves in David Weber’s Manticore universe have numbers genetically imprinted on their tongues. The only way to permanently remove them would be to recode their DNA.

  10. Learn useful skills, maintain a full pantry, and generally ignore the “hair on fire” news.

  11. The last 62+ years have been the stupidest times. Although those not born on the same date as myself will undoubtedly have a different perspective.

    But I am not yet making a habit of carrying around a trench coat on the likelihood that I will need to usher a beautiful blond out of the street that has just stripped to the buff – and has no idea why.

    Then, and only then, will I get extremely worried.

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