“The Case for Self-Pity,” by Jon Alan Carroll

Oct 12th, 2011 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Once, you dedicated your life to Love and Art. Lately, you’ve downsized it to Sex and Craft.

Think about the time those callous sophisticates at Wheat rejected the finest poems from your Stoned Surrealism period, including the immortal “Cabbage of Desire” and “10 Fingers of Hand.” When you’re done with that, dwell on the fact that being morose is not a salable skill.

In a better world, Brooding would be an Olympic event.

Any season is a good season for self-pity. In winter, there is slush and black depression. In spring, there’s pollen and false hope. You’re too fat and sweaty for summer. In the fall, with all its lovely, lovely leaves, there’s no way your team cracks .500.

Self-pity is convenient, easy to use, low in carbs, good for the environment. There are no rules, no anonymous meetings, no specialized equipment. There’s no need for a self-pity coach.

As a progressive, your choice is either a Neoliberal Corporatist, or a Corporatist Neoliberal.  

You really did think she was The One. Now, on weekends, you drag the kids from some trite, hacky kid-movie to that horrifying Eat & Play hellhole, because it’s Fun.

Like rationalizations and excuses, self-pity is what separates us from the animals.

Think about the fact that no one ever called your work “spare.” That is, unless they were referring to a 7-10 split or that round thing in the car trunk.  Mope about the fact that your work has never, not ever, been translated into Romanian.

The correct term is “wallow.” Wallow in self-pity, but “languish” in obscurity. Never languish in self-pity or wallow in obscurity.

Self-pity is true to your nature.  In your heart, you’d rather mourn than organize. You’d rather mutter “Stupid fucking Darkness” than fumble with candles.

She said No, you got passed over for promotion again, paycheck to paycheck, the muck and mess of it.  Face it: Self-pity is the best alternative to a rope and a chair.

Self-pity is an essential part of the futilitarian lifestyle.

Officially, Americans are an Optimistic People, whether they like it or not. Feeling sorry for yourself is a bold gesture in a world of gung-hos telling you to pull up your socks, think positive, play bright. Self-pity is no indulgence. It’s standing up for your rights as a neurotic depressive. 

If the self-pity well starts to run dry, just think about high school or check your bank balance.


Jon Alan Carroll is just another one of those guys with spectacles on his nose and autumn in his heart who loves the girls and the money and the shame of life.

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