Thursday, October 06, 2016

Bad News

Bad News

No news is good news. Or so the saying goes.

I wonder, then, if all the other news is bad news?

I must admit that I am not partial to bad news. Bad news always comes after something bad has happened. I should stress the word, "after," because, once something bad has happened, well, you can't simply un-bad it. You can't simply roll back the clock and prevent that bad event from happening. So, you are left with a sense of utter uselessness. You are left with the knowledge that, if you had only known that this or that was going to have some bad results, you might have been able to have done something to stop it. Once you get the bad news, it's already too late.

So what does one do when bad news knocks on the door or calls you on the phone?

There are various sources of bad news in everyone's world. At the top of the list has to be your doctor. No one wants his or her doctor coming in the examining room and saying, "I have some bad news." That's a heart-stopping moment. All you can do is sit and listen. It may not be as bad as you expect, but that's not likely. Usually, it's only a matter of minutes before your whole life is turned upside-down. Still, it's important to listen to everything your doctor says. Too many people only hear the initial bad news and don't hear any possible solutions to the problem. If it's a total calamity, then let your reactions show — weep, wail, curse, flail — doesn't matter. Don't block your emotions. Don't be an idiotic stoic. Let your doctor and yourself know how much this bad news sucks. It does suck. There's really no reason to hide from that. Then get your affairs in order, and don't make your bad news everyone else's bad news as well. Dignity. Always maintain your dignity.

Then there's that phone call, usually late at night, when someone tells you that your father, mother, or anyone close to you has passed away. If that bad news is unexpected, then it's going to hurt threefold. The initial reaction is usually a form of bewilderment. How? When? Where? Why? So many questions. So few answers. It's pretty normal to try to understand what happened. What you want to do is understand that it did happen. Once again, you can't change the bad news into good. A death in the family or to someone close is really about a loss you're suddenly asked to assimilate. Unfortunately, that process is not going to happen in the next 12 seconds, the next 12 minutes, or even the next 12 months. Grieving the death of a loved one takes time, so be patient with your inner life that goes into a kind of never-ending tumble. Just try to remember there will come a time of acceptance.

For some people, bad news comes at their place of employment. Finding a "pink slip" in your mail slot is never a good sign. The longer you have worked for a company, the worse the effects of being fired or laid off. Obviously a lengthy employment means that you have come to depend on your job as a source of financial security. So, losing your job seems one giant failure and opens the door to a future filled with uncertainty. In such a scenario, you need to pull up your britches and act. Get busy seeking out new avenues of employment. You never know, sometimes the loss of a job may be a "blessing in disguise" and may propel you on to bigger an better opportunities. After all, you may have not been wrong for the job; the job may have been wrong for you.

Family life can also be the source of bad news. No one wants to get home from work and have his or her spouse proclaim, "I want a divorce." Such news is even more disheartening if it is unexpected, and much more complicated when there are children involved. First of all, don't self-destruct. Divorce is deadly, but no one dies. Get yourself the best lawyer that you can afford and turn the matter over to your counsel. Oh, you'll want to stay involved, and you'll want to make all kinds of demands, but the truth of the matter is pretty simple. Divorce is a legal issue, and the laws of divorce will play themselves out no matter how you try to manipulate the situation. Try to accept that being with someone who no longer wants to be with you is poison. You may lose the house, the car, the kids, the dog, the good china, the bank account, heck you may lose everything, but most importantly, you will lose the creature who has decided to forego "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part." Above all else, remember one thing: You will love again, and you'll be happier for it.

Needless to say, the world is also a source of bad news. You don't have to watch much television to know that everyday seems to bring about another crisis. Globalized bad news need not be overwhelming unless you let it preoccupy your daily life. If you feel obligated to be a "citizen of the world," then try to limit your intake of global catastrophes to a manageable few. Despite what you think, your place on the couch probably won't impact anything "out there." Fuss and fume all you want. Blame this group or that group, this politician or that politician, but remember the more emotionally involved you become, the more you will cringe and crinkle up inside at the next bad news story.

We can't expect to get through life without some bad news. Even the dippiest blockhead, with rose-coloured glasses fixed permanently in place, gets a debilitating ass-kicking sooner or later. It's all just a part of life.

I suppose I should end with some good news, so I will.

To date, you have survived rap music. Carry on.




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