Tag Archives: affluenza

Affluenza

I was 14, and my friend and I were in Barkers on Ken High Street. We were there because we wanted to try on Miss Sixty jeans, which we had coveted for months, and at £75 we were very far from getting. A gentleman walked up to us. We had become distracted, and were now simply wandering around stroking clothes we couldn’t afford. ‘Are you a model?’ I spun round, thrilled. He was talking to my friend. ‘You should be a model. I’m only in town for a few days, but I’d love you to head up the new Ralph Lauren campaign. Oh sorry, I’m the MD of Storm Models. Here’s my card.’ My friend quietly took his card and wandered off, embarrassed. I thought about running away from her in a strop but I was having a sleepover at her house that evening.

‘Let me see!’ She handed me the card. ‘Are you going to call him?’ ‘Of course not. Ooh look- there’s new Hello Kitty t-shirts.’ She strode purposely towards them. ‘Wait. You’re not going to call him? You’re not going to make millions of pounds and get free food and to meet Leonardo DiCaprio?’ (Looking back on it, I am impressed with my prescient awareness of Leo’s penchant for models). My friend was utterly unfazed. ‘Shall we ask to be picked up? We can rent a video because it’s Friday.’ Unless it was a video in which we could go back in time and make sure I never ever went shopping and was ignored and not asked to be a model while my friend was, I wasn’t that fussed.

Yesterday, I politely asked another friend how her day was going. ‘Oh my goodness. Guess what happened to me today?’ I should have stopped replying to my emails at this point. It’s as if the last 11 years hadn’t happened. ‘What?’ ‘A famous actor mistook me for an actress! He said I couldn’t possibly be an assistant, I had to be an actress because I was so pretty. Isn’t that ridiculous? People are hilarious’  People are not hilarious. I’m changing all my friends.

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I’m becoming a therapist

‘People are leaving their stuff in storage for longer than ever.’ (I stole that sentence, and all its punchy impact, from the BBC website). The BBC is perplexed. ‘Why are people paying to store stuff they rarely use?’ They even have a psychologist offering his insights:

“Oliver James, psychologist and author of Affluenza, says that the self-storage phenomenon can be explained by consumerism’s effect on how we view ourselves.”

I don’t mean to be rude, but I know a psychologist, and she’s nice enough, but I don’t think I would ask her for any great insights into why people do things. (Someone has pointed out to me that in fact, that is exactly what therapy is). What an awesome racket.

I might become a therapist. One of those old-school ones, where my patients have to lie down and not look at me. Because I’ll be quietly watching TV behind them, and occasionally murmuring something soothing. Perhaps I will have a sofa to lie down on too. I will tell my patient that this is because I do not like to stand on ceremony. If they laugh at my excellent pun, I will give them a small discount. Not a big one though, as I plan on being a very rich therapist. In fact, I don’t think I will give them a discount. I will smile at them though. Which is pretty much priceless. Until I get my toothpaste advert commission. I will get this from one of my patients, naturally. I will protest that I do not want to leave the world of therapists, but will quietly accept that by raising my profile (and personal wealth) I will merely be in a position to help more people.

(I know it is unlikely I will be filming this exact advert, but I hope for something similar)

I will enjoy filming my toothpaste advert immensely, mostly because of the excellent tables filled with free food. The producer will smile knowingly when I make the same gag about needing to ‘test the toothpaste’ all day. I will diagnose him with anxiety and suggest he comes to see me and lie on my sofa. I will encourage him to bring some excellent free food.

My client roster will grow exponentially after my toothpaste advert launches. (I will start calling my crazy patients ‘clients’ to encourage them to recommend me to their equally crazy friends). I imagine it won’t take long til the BBC are ringing to ask me to explain why ‘people are brushing their teeth exclusively with toothpaste’. They will be perplexed. Fear not, I will help them. I will be a therapist. I will have enormous insight:

“New psychologist and face of Colgate says that the toothpaste phenomenon can be explained by consumerism’s effect on how we view ourselves.”

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