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Elegant Coping Devices

Grieving is easy 

with these royal treatments

by Paul Bacon

Featured reading at the Little Gray Book Lecture Series No. 6,

Galapagos Art Space, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, December 5, 2001


Leave your analyst and put away the Prozac. Get off your knees and say good-bye to the church. Those things won't cure your problems, so you might as well suffer in style. Whatever your income level, turn your life into a rich pageant with these helpful tips.


THERAPY: A Plethora of Pillows

If you've lost a job, a loved one, or a limb, recovery depends on a newfound sense of abundance. New York's Benjamin Hotel can fill that emptiness overnight with its world-famous Pillow Menu. Guests are treated to a selection of 11 different pillows, including the mixed-grain Buckwheat Makura, known for its miraculous curative properties, and the Swedish Memory Pillow, co-engineered by NASA scientists to remember the exact shape of your reeling head.

-- Reservations:

2) CONDITION: Poverty
THERAPY: Wearing a Monocle

You may be struggling to make ends meet, but you don't have to look like it. Wearing a monocle adds a touch of class that says, "I don't work for a living." While these relics of a more civilized era are only available in pricey antique shops, they're a snap to make. Buy an inexpensive pair of reading glasses at the drug store, twist them apart and make *two* monocles. Share the other with your friend on the unemployment line!

-- CVS/pharmacy:

3) CONDITION: Chronic Physical Pain
THERAPY: Etiquette Lessons

Nothing takes one's mind off debilitating pain like fussing over etiquette. Creating impossibly high social standards is the surest relief for everything from migraines to an irritable bowel. How do you politely let a dinner guest know the evening is over? Where do you send condolences to someone if you only know their e-mail address? Agonizing over questions like these, you'll find the agonies of your body seem to melt away.

-- Emily Post Institute:

4) CONDITION: Apocalyptic Dread
THERAPY: Cigarette Holder

Worried you'll be left behind when the Lord delivers the righteous unto Heaven? Envision yourself as an evil despot of the aftermath with a cigarette holder. A favorite of cartoon villains like Cruella DeVille and real-life malefactors like the Nazis, a cigarette holder is *the* accessory for refined tyrants. Holders come in a variety of lengths to fit any post-apocalyptic activity, whether you're beating your servants or just relaxing by the fire.

-- Allenbey's Smoking Accessories:


5) CONDITION: Prison Conviction
THERAPY: Oscar Wildisms

Guilty as charged? Time to brush up on your Oscar Wilde! America's prisons are filled with remorseful convicts just waiting to be delighted by quotes from this flamboyant 19th-century author. Wilde, an Irishman, lived among London's social elite and never missed a chance to mock their empty, pathetic values. His eloquent wit and disdain for the status quo are sure to be appreciated by your new friends in the penal system.


-- Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde:

6) CONDITION: Poor Body Image
THERAPY: Little Black Dress

Nine out of 10 American women say they're not satisfied with their bodies. If you're one of them, toss out all your negative-image outfits and replace them with little black dresses. When you have nothing else to wear, you'll find yourself taking all the necessary steps to slim down your buttocks and midriff, plump up your breasts, and fix your ungainly posture. Nothing is harder to fit into than this sleek and elegant classic!

-- That Perfect Little Black Dress:

7) CONDITION: Fear of Flying
THERAPY: Big Fancy Hat

Of the many anxieties that contribute to a fear of flying, the most overwhelming is powerlessness. You can regain your sense of control even when your fate is in someone else's hands by wearing a big fancy hat. Making you look taller and seem more important, a hat can do more for your ego than a lifetime of accomplishment. Men will feel at ease flying in a high-crown felt topper, and ladies can relax in a wide-brimmed Victorian decorated with ostrich feathers, silk flowers and a delicate chiffon trim.

-- Top Hats from Mike the Hatter:
-- Lady Cynthia:

8) CONDITION: Destructive Anger
THERAPY: Opera Gloves

Venting your frustration on inanimate objects is better than physically abusing your loved ones, but it can be an expensive habit. The next time you feel like punching a hole in the wall or toppling a cabinet full of fine china, slip on a pair of opera gloves. For less than $50, you can envelop your hands in plush velvet, satin, or silk--putting a protective layer between your destructive urges and your cherished belongings.

-- Finale Gloves:

9) CONDITION: Stalled Romance
THERAPY: Ice Sculpture

If you can't get your lover to make a commitment, frighten them into submission by sending an ice sculpture to their home. Graceful and ephemeral, ice sculptures not only dazzle the eye, they also serve as metaphors for fleeting youth and physical beauty. When your spouse-to-be first receives the piece, they'll be touched by your thoughtful gesture. After it melts, they'll find your companionship an irresistible hedge against the ravages of time.

-- National Ice Carving Association:

10) CONDITION: Hopelessness
THERAPY: Stained Glass Urn

When all else fails, there's always suicide. If you've been delaying the inevitable for fear of upsetting family and friends, shopping for an attractive cremation urn can help push you over the edge. Order a pre-need vessel made of beautiful iridated opalescent glass to ensure your legacy will be a family heirloom treasured forever.

-- Rays of Joy: 

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