Now, before you break out in a sweat about the who, what, when, where and how’s of being a wet blanket, let me calm any fear that you might have about being a bad discourager. It’s easy! Yielding to the voice of hopelessness and letting hell spill out of your mouth to others can be learned in a week. Please believe that you, too, can effectively spew depressing sputum—through words and body language—and be an effective crippler of the creative around you. If the people you are trying to deflate do not run away from you immediately, you will, in short order, see them lay down their dreams and adopt the mediocrity you have come to embrace.
So let’s get down to the practics of Being a Wet Blanket©. The following will help you be el Capitan of the Cold Water Bucket Brigade. These devices are great at grating away any chance of greatness that your friends, siblings, spouse and workmates might be entertaining. It’s beautiful!
This is how you do it:
When people begin to verbalize and physically move towards their hopes and dreams, begin immediately to cleverly fill their minds with doubts and fears as to why what they’re contemplating will probably never come true [Here’s a caveat: Successful people try to avoid discouragers, so please . . . be subtle, and you’ll increase your chances of destroying others’ dreams more readily].
Bring up all the reasons why they cannot do what they desire. Tell them they’re not smart enough, that they’re going to need a lot of money, that they’re not the right sex, that they’re not old enough or they’re too old, that the economy is bad, that others have attempted what they’re contemplating and have failed, etc. This kind of stuff works well with those who’re waffling with their desires for greatness. You should see them quickly settle back into a dreary rut, much like the one you’re in.
Another wonderful passive aggressive way of weighing people down is this: when people bring up their hopes and dreams, just change the subject. It doesn’t matter what you change the subject to—just change it. Or go silent. Or . . . or . . . make up something and say you’ve got to go right after they have unloaded their hearts. Understand that you must only be part of a conversation when it doesn’t revolve around someone getting on with life.
Now, if the people you’re hanging around still see a silver lining around every cloud, suggest to them, as one man said, that the silver lining is the product of high levels of mercury that will eventually fall to the earth in the form of rain and slowly kill us all.
In addition, always deviously talk about being safe versus being a risk taker. Make mediocrity and the mundane look and sound appealing. Embellish your tedious and taxing life so that it appears charming. Point out people who have lost money on a risky venture, suffered setbacks, etc., but never, ever, talk about how those people are now kicking butt and taking names while doing what they love. [Make sure you leave that part of the story out.]
Lastly, if the above efforts roll off the visionary’s back like sanity does off Dick Durbin’s soul, then switch immediately to outright criticism. If the wannabe player is still persisting in his path then pound him with your wicked words. Bring up his past failures. Never mind that people who succeed have usually had many failures before they’ve finally scored.
Bring up their weaknesses versus their strengths in such a way that they lay trembling before their faults and lack. You must pound them with discouragement. You’ve got to get them to believe the worst-case scenario. And remember—it worked on you, so it’ll probably work on them. Oh yeah, I almost forgot: don’t forget to gossip about them and try to poison their circle of influence. Remember, sometimes you need the assistance from others when you’re trying to clip people’s wings.
While trying to slay others’ dreams with your words, don’t forget the effective use of non-verbal communication like rolling your eyes, frowning, blank thousand yard stares, dead silence and low chuckling in a condescending tone. It slays ‘em . . . slays ‘em!
And one last tip to be one bad wet blanket: try to work your voodoo on the young and naïve. Faulty parents and jaded teachers know how well undue criticism works on their young charges. The sooner you can disparage hope in others, the better. As soon as people start showing any desire to get out of their furrows, move away from mediocrity and run from the routine, hose ‘em down.
Why the need to start early with this process of discouragement? Well, most young people and green dreamers have yet to learn to defy the vision terminators. They have yet to learn that the wet blanket critics . . .
1 Are like eunuchs in a harem: They’re there every night. They see it done every night. They see how it should be done every night. But they can’t do it themselves.
2 Are fools. . . . and that any fool can criticize, and most of them do.
3 Are a dissembling, contemptible race of men, and that one should view critics like a lamppost views a dog.
Habit six to follow. . . .