We will take you through a case study below, including the steps to do it properly:
1. Objectively cite the facts. Just the facts. No opinion-y adjectives of judgement.
- This weekend there was a funeral in the husband's family
- Big Boy was in town the past 4 days and Poker Chick did not see him
- Poker Chick spent the last two days in jury duty
- The mini is sick
- All her assignments just got put on hold at work
- Poker Chick is a dumbass*
2. Proceed to explain how said facts are negatively impacting life (a.k.a. making the status quo so intolerable there is no way out other than whining!)
3. Link facts to each other to illustrate just how sucky connected to suckier makes things suckiest.
- Bad enough that we had a funeral. It was coming for a long while but it still sucked. Of course, that suggests Poker Chick was actually at a funeral, rather than serving as glorified babysitter to a screaming child outside the whole time with a room full of 300 people that couldn't help. We're told there were some nice speeches. We wouldn't know. The only thing we heard was the guard out front repeatedly asking who he thought was the "babysitter" for some aspirin. He asked several times, even though the answer was clearly not changing. We know what you're thinking. A screaming kid at a funeral. How did our girl not think to bring aspirin. Dumbass. Hey, she is a dumbass! Let's add it to the list of facts above! Now admittedly the aspirin is a small part of this history and probably not worth mentioning. But if you're thinking that, you have a lot to learn about a pity party, so keep reading....
- The mini was sick, though it was at the tail end of a week-long virus. (Note we did not state "very sick" in step 1. While it was tempting, adding "very" would be a judgement). It started with the throwing up, then fever, and a week later it appeared the runny nose and cough was slowly going away. Tail-end? Ha! Poor Poker Chick. She was so gullible but soon learned her lesson. The diarrhea first appeared Saturday morning, in time for the ride out of town. It was quickly followed by toxic gas which was always followed by screams and cries*. The former then re-appeared, though (of course) mostly at night. For some reason, it was not until the second sleepless night that Poker Chick finally connected the dots to Rotavirus***. Which had the poor kid in the hospital two years prior. It was also weird because once you have it you're supposed to be immune to it. But once she thought of Rota and took a whiff around her she realized that's exactly what she was dealing with. And she remembered the last time was in the spring as well. Of course, by the third night Poker Chick felt things were finally turning around and that's when (already tired) the family pulled the all-nighter. Two-to-three times an hour, every hour. ALL NIGHT LONG. Let's repeat. ALL NIGHT LONG. (Let's also throw in a pity part for the husband, who was buying baby wipes at 3am. I mean, who'd have thought we'd have gone through a whole jumbo package in one night!) Needless to say, Poker Chick was talking to the pediatrician during every break in Jury Duty. Or she thinks she was. She was too tired. Or maybe scared. The kid was miserable and seriously dehydrated. And also terrified of what was coming out of her. She kept hysterically screaming "get it out, Mommy!". So sad! Now you'll notice we used the word "sad", which when used in conjunction with a reference to children tends to evoke empathetic emotions, one of which is pity.
- Seeing Big Boy did not happen. This was unfortunate. But what was not necessary was the criticism of Poker Chick for it. Doesn't anyone else out there think that during this difficult time it would be nice to get some support from family? Or, at the very least, not get criticism? That was a rhetorical question, peeps. It's for effect. Are you starting to see how this thing works?
- Jury duty. Okay, so technically there is no complaint here. It was actually quite interesting, Poker Chick got a change of pace, a change of scenery and met some nice people. But that doesn't help our story peeps! So let's throw in jury duty here and pretend it just made everything worse. You'll see when you try this exercise yourself. We guarantee, it really does make for a better story.
*This fact was added later on (see case study section #3)
**The first screams came from the mini, poor kid was in pain. The next came from her parents, who were blown away and trying to breathe.