Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The five stages of grief – revised for normal people

According to Wikipedia, “the Kübler-Ross model, commonly known as the five stages of grief, is a theory first introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. 

The theory describes in five discrete stages a controversial, but well-known process by which people deal with grief and tragedy. Events triggering grief might include being diagnosed with a terminal illness or enduring a catastrophic loss. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.”

After close and objective scrutiny of my own feelings about my recent thyroid surgery, my brain tumor and prior melanoma, I feel that I’m an expert on this subject and, therefore, am postulating a new and improved version of the five stages.

1. Rage at the system – This is when you decide that you’ve been a tool of the military-industrial complex all your life and you decide that you’re not going to take this any longer!

Key symptoms: Victims are seen opening up their windows and screaming “'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' Style points are given for doing the best imitation of Howard Beale as played by Peter Finch.

2. The Dionysus Diversion – Dionysus was the Greek god of wine. He was also known as the “Liberator”, freeing one from one's normal self, by madness, ecstasy, wine or some interesting combination of the three.

Key symptoms: Victims are often seen playing “beer pong” to excess, running up unbelievably bar tags and having mind-bending hangovers.

3. Old boyfriend/girlfriend phone calls – Tied to the Dionysus Diversion, victims get plastered and then have what they think is an epiphany about that old boyfriend or girlfriend, and decided to share it with them.

Key symptoms: Somebody you haven’t heard from in ten to twenty years calls you in the middle of the night; claims that you were the best thing they ever had and wants to get back together for their (potentially) few remaining days on this earth. I mean, really, who’s going to refuse a visit from an old friend with a brain tumor?

4. Bucket List Fulfillment Frenzy – Often started during the “Dionysus Diversion”, the “Bucket List Fulfillment Frenzy” starts with the victim’s decision that he/she is not going to die until they cross off at least five more items on their bucket list.

Key symptoms: The victim has just stuffed themselves into a pair of skin-tight jeans and bought a one-way plane ticket for Las Vegas, Paris or Bangkok.

5. Dream Day At Work – When the victim shows up at work after a night of beer ponging and tells everybody, and I mean everybody, what they really think of them. 

Key symptom:  The victim marches into the center of the office and articulately explains a) who’s been sleeping with whom to get ahead, b) who’s been forging their expense reports and c) who’s been stabbing whom in the back. 

While this list feels reasonably comprehensive, please let me know if I've missed anything.

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