What would a pragmatist recommend to a romantic in the grocery store?

München                                                                                                                                                 (c) Sarah Hampelmann
 The other day I dropped by huge package of toilet paper on the conveyor belt and joked with the quite familiar cashier that I had something other than water for a change (I almost only purchase water in this grocery store). She smiled and asked how I was, but when I asked her, she looked down and sighed. Since I see her quite often, I bluntly stated that her response did not sound good, and when she tried to assure me that everything was okay, I refused to listen and promised her a list of recommendations. She looked at me a little surprised and probably doesn't believe that I'm actually going to show up with a list.

Since I don't exactly know what her problem is, I have to cover a range of possibilities. Below is a list of potential problems and solutions that a pragmatist (like myself) would propose. If you think of any other problems or some interesting solutions, please enter them in the comment section. For your information, she is a pretty, female romantic between the age of 25 and 40 (I'm a man and a pragmatist and can't tell these things). She is nice, speaks English decently, is a good, reliable employee. She got along quite well with another cashier there. That's about all I know.
 vii) Happiness

- There is no such thing as a state of happiness. This I (a pragmatist) have learned from you romantics. Nonetheless, we live in a society (America) with media controlled by pragmatists. This makes it easy to forget that a permanent state of happiness is impossible. Some days are good; some are bad. Don't worry about it.

iii) Relationship problems - you are losing interest in partner, having affair

- Have fun, don't think about it too much. This is a problem for pragmatists. Morality prevents fun.

iv) Financial problems (various solutions; not all necessary)

-Eliminate unnecessary expenses, especially things like expensive nights out. Meet with your friends at somebody's house, or go have a picnic in the park in the summer (put the alcohol in different containers so the police don't realize it). One bottle of wine from the store costs $8-15 and is enough for two people for an evening. Drinks in a bar + food for two people costs around $80.

- If you don't live in social housing (the so-called "projects" - I don't like this word, but it is what they are generally called), then absolutely apply so your cost of rent falls.

- If you have debts, pay them off as soon and as quickly as possible. Burn your credit card.

- Enroll in City College (in Manhattan), but don't take too many courses or try to go too fast. Plan to complete the degree over many, many years.

- Money does not buy happiness

i) Relationship problems - partner cheating on you

- Cheat back, find some friend and have an affair with him.

ii) Relationship problems - partner losing interest in you

- Ignore it. This is normal as men get older and the initial excitement levels off to a more sustainable relationship. With contemporary men, it is best to ignore this development, act condescendingly toward them, be obnoxious, cold, indifferent, etc., but no matter what, do not be nice or attempt to win his interest back or, worst of all, think that you are at fault. 

v) Domestic problems (health, children, parents)

 - Three walks a day, one in the morning, one at lunch and one in the evening will help anyone's health immeasurably.
- If you sit a lot, then take a break from it (sitting) every couple of hours and do what your doing on your stomach (not on your back, but on your stomach) for ten-fifteen minutes (until your arms get tired and you can't concentrate).
- Don't look at any screens before the first walk or after the last walk in a day.
- In the case of problematic children, tell them that the best thing in life is to do something normal or decent and think about how ill or even sick "successful" people must be.
- Parents are sometimes annoying because we are all very similar to our parents. Laugh about it and make fun of them for it. Tell them they are 99% responsible for you.

vi) Can't have children

- Don't worry. You are freer as a result and can have friends instead.

Henry Whittlesey
March 2015

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