“Kill Your Cynic in 5 Easy Steps,” by Madeline Popelka

Dec 9th, 2015 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

So you’ve met a cynic. You find him insufferable, but you can’t avoid him because your best friend thinks he’s “kinda cute in an ugly way.” Fear not, for we have supplied a fool-proof method to cure him of his prickly outlook on life.

1. Run into him at a friend of a friend’s art opening. Listen to him insult the paintings within earshot of the artist. Wrinkle your nose as he calls her style “entry-level” and “sappy.”

2. While he’s pilfering from the wine and cheese table, dredge up all the emotion you have lying around inside you. Hum the theme from Up or think about your childhood pet dying; whatever is needed to get the emotions flowing. Once you’ve got a lump in your throat and your eyes are watering, whisper the cynic’s full name, dip your finger in your glass of chardonnay, and draw a pentagram upon the floor.

3. Apologize to the people around you and wipe the wine off the floor with a napkin, because you’re not an animal.

4. Test the success of your curse by inviting him to a Sufjan Steven’s concert. Midway through the concert, when Sufjan is deep into the songs about his mother dying, the cynic will turn to you. He’ll try to tell you that the latest album didn’t break any new ground, but his voice will twist into an ugly sob. When you look at him you’ll notice his eyes are filled with tears. Offer him a tissue. He’ll mutter something about allergies, excuse himself for the bathroom, and you’ll know that your curse has hit its mark.

5. This particular spell will vary in strength depending on how empathetically it was cast. To gauge the effects, look for these key indicators in your interactions with the former cynic.

Does he still regularly post n+1 articles on his Facebook? He probably wasn’t hit that hard and will revert to his sardonic ways. Try casting your curse again after listening to one of the more emotional This American Life’s.

Has he been spotted at the Met tearing up in the Renaissance section? Congratulations, your curse has found the happy medium between snobbery and sincerity.

Did he reblog an Upworthy article or anything with a headline such as “faith in humanity restored”? You’ve pushed your poor cynic over the edge, and he is doomed to live the life of a sensitive man. Have your best friend ask him out; he’ll make a great boyfriend.
Defenestration-Madeline PopelkaMadeline Popelka is a graduate of Yale University, where she studied physics. She currently lives in Wisconsin.

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