Between these pages, Lorna Tollison, the irrepressible character from The O Line Mysteries, ushers dejected reality programming personalities back to the fictional world by reintroducing civil discourse and social disobedience to their own character like a Pied Piper to villains and heroes alike.
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From the creator of The O Line Mysteries, a self-help guide for the rejected characters of reality television. Nobody, really, Likes You gives away the tools and empowering techniques for dynamic change in their interior odyssey to personal transformation that will reach a range of potential for success using fictional cues! Or at least teaches them to use these superfluous words effectively.
Each chapter is divided into 3 sections. An inspiring vignette, following Margaret and her grandmother relating the situational viewpoints from two generations. Eye popping reality advisories and detailed character rebuilding exercises.
￼Nobody, really, likes you. ____________________________
A Guide to Insouciance.
Lorna Tollison with
M. Saylor Billings ~~~~
This is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictiously, including the other authors. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, businesses, organizations, events or locales is purely coincidental. So back off.
And another thing. This is a satirical self help book meant for entertainment. So if the voices are telling you that by reading this book everything is going to be okay then seek professional mental help.
Nobody, really, Likes You. A guide to insouciance.
Copyright © 2009 Billibatt Productions
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2012911957
Coming Soon from M. Saylor Billings
Red, White, and Scotch: Book 4 of The O Line Mystery Series
Writing as Lorna Tollison:
Nobody, really, Reads You A Guide to Self-Publishing.
For Claude LaFayette
In Memoriam ~~~~
Table of contents
Chapter 1 There Will Always Be
Chapter 2 Nice People Suck
Chapter 3 Your Pet Does Not Love You Chapter 4 We All Lie to Ourselves
Chapter 5 Nothing Ever Changes
Chapter 6 Do Unto Others first
Chapter 7 You Control Nothing
Chapter 8 Nobody wants you to Succeed Chapter 9 You're Doing Everything Wrong Chapter 10 Eat Enough Shit
Chapter 11 Why Bother?
Chapter 12 Circling The Drain
This book is not dedicated to Sally, and she knows exactly why. So this dedication must
be shared by backup dedicatees, two great stars in the insouciant galaxy, Queen Elizabeth of England and Tina Turner of Earth.
ABOVE ALL ELSE...
“Nobody, really, Likes You” is a publication of fiction written in a fictional author’s voice. No living person should ever replace the professional mental health services with the reading of any book, self-help or otherwise. This publication is designed to provide entertainment and is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor publisher is engaged in rendering mental health, legal, accounting, or other professional advice. This publication is intended as a work of art and like all art reflects the worldview of the observer-narrator. The fictional author, Lorna Tollison, exists in that reflected world of fiction.
For some time, Lorna has witnessed commerce from the fictional world become personalities in “reality” based entertainment only to return humorless, confused, and dejected. Now homeless and plot-less, these unfortunates need resuscitation and guidance to ease themselves back into the action-packed, thought-provoking, and clever world of
fiction. this publication should not be used as a basis for new religions, for financial advice, nor for the purpose of inciting peasants to riot.
“In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.”
~ George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant
If you have been touched by randomness and left with the gift of desperation then perhaps we can work something out here. You may not know exactly what is wrong with you but clearly you are looking for some kind of solace if you picked up a book called “Nobody, really, Likes You.” Solace can be found in these pages; misery likes company. That said, humor, the oft-overlooked accomplice to healing and understanding, is featured in this book. We can use this humor to voice our rage at the ridiculousness of our humanity so that we might move through our narratives moving our plot forward.
Welcome to OFUCA!
You are FUCA and this, the Orientation for Fictional Unfortunates Cast Aside, is your reentry guide to the fictional world. Your conclusion that no one is cheering in your corner, no person has “got your back,” and certainly nobody, really, likes you, is correct. This book is designed to recapture and to rebuild your character. By reading it, you will strengthen your ability to identify entertaining plots and to develop characters. Despite the satirical nature of the text, some of the content may be enlightening and useful, and some of it might even be true. If you were looking for OSHTA—Orientation for Self Help for Terminal Allegories—you’re in the wrong book.
Several familiar devices have been created to help you recognize what you will want to take away from the experience. Every chapter explores a theme such as humility, absurdity, isolation, or control that supports your conclusion. Chapters begin with a vignette portraying Margaret, a young financial analyst, and her grandmother, a woman from “the greatest generation.” Fictional research shows that readers are more receptive to vignettes, which provide flexible and comfortable metaphors for life lessons.
“Theme exploration” under the chapter subheadings lay out helpful information, ridiculous concepts, or benign pondering.
The Character Enhancement concludes each chapter with “Chapter Pearls” recalling the chapter’s finer points; along with "Character Rebuilding Exercises" to inspire confidence; and "Character Enrichment Reading" lists that highlight the chapter themes.
There will always be someone smarter, bigger, faster, or better looking than you.
THE WISDOM OF OUR ELDERS
Margaret carefully pulled the straw from it’s wrapper, slid the straw into the red translucent tumbler filled with soda and flattened the wrapper. As she began folding the wrapper over and over into little triangles she listened to the slightly choking sounds of the gulping next to her.
“Aaahhhh, first one of the day.” The woman next to Margaret slammed the mug down on the table and slipped her teeth back into her gape.
Margaret looked at the oversized clock, hanging on the red brick wall, which read eleven am. She unraveled the straw wrapper and flattened it against the condensation on the tumbler and watched it absorb the moisture.
“Grandma, you were telling me about how you first met Grandad.” Margaret said to the woman next to her and smiled reluctantly.
“Oh, he was such a pip-squeak, but all muscle, not an ounce of fat on him. Not like these fat kids today. Look at that.” Grandma gestured to the teens eating pizza across from them and against the brick wall. Margaret didn’t look over but smiled again at her Grandmother.
“Disgusting,” Grandma continued, “We met him at a USO dance, just as the war was breaking out.”
“Your Aunt Max and I. Who did you think I meant? Who else would I have gone to a dance with back then?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”
“Do you want to hear the story or not?”
“Look at that, that kid just ate that whole slice in three bites. Didn’t even chew. Look
Margaret glanced over her shoulder and smiled nervously in case the boys were
watching them as well, but none of the boys looked up.
“If they had to hunt their own food they wouldn’t be that fat,” Grandma said.
“Well, that’s probably very true.” Margaret agreed hoping to end Grandma’s current
obsession. “So you met Grandad when you went to a USO dance with Aunt Max.” “Where the hell are our slices?” Grandma looked at the pizza counter.
“Grandma,” Margaret jumped, “They said they had to make fresh, so the pizza’s are
cooking. Do you want some water?”
“I’ll take another beer. If that waitress ever gets around to us.” Grandma rolled her
“It’s self serve; I’ll get it.” Margaret jumped up and moved to the counter before
Grandma finished her eye roll.
When Margaret sat back down she changed her seat and tried to block her Grandma’s
view of the teenage boys. Adjusting the placemats around as if she were making room for their plates, Margaret asked, “Was it love at first sight, you and Grandad?”
“Maybe, but not with me!” Grandma hurled herself into her hyena's laugh slapping the table.
Margaret joined in the old woman’s laugh and began tearing the straw wrapper to small bits.
“I had my eye on a tall dark fella over by the punch bowl,” Grandma gave a wink and a head nod as if the tall dark fella was in the pizza parlor with them, “and your Granddad was asking every girl to dance, like a fool. He thought he was being charming, I’m sure. Then I made my way over to the punch bowl and your Aunt Max was dancing with your Granddad.”
“So what happened? How did you end up with Granddad?”
“I tried to dance with that fella, but he was all left feet, so we went outside for a smoke, the dance was breaking up and your Aunt Max came outside with your Granddad. They said they were going out to get something to eat and asked us if we wanted to go along. So we all went out to a diner and ate.”
Margaret stared at her Grandma for a moment longer. The old woman seemed to have floated off into her memory. Margaret looked behind her Grandma to see a pizza being pulled from the oven. The teenage boys behind her let out a series of long belches to announce their departure, bringing Grandma back into the moment.
“Just look at them.” She sneered. “Like little Pillsbury dough boys.”
“Here comes the pizza.” Margaret felt relief prematurely. The pizza was boxed up and sent out with a driver. She looked down at the pile of torn paper and began rolling it tightly together between her finger and thumb.
“Where’s the pizza? I thought you said it was coming?” Grandma stared at Margaret accusingly and pulled her teeth out to take another long pull on her beer. Margaret calmly pushed her seat back, rose from her chair, and walked over to the pizza counter.
“How much longer?” She asked the pizza maker.
“It’s coming right now, sorry about the wait.” He said and opened the oven, plopped the slices on the plates and handed them over to her.
“Here Grandma, be careful they just came out of the oven.” Margaret put a pizza plate in front of her grandma and sat herself back down.
Steam rose and fogged the bottom of Grandma’s glasses. “That’s too hot to eat.” “Just let it cool.”
“He ate spaghetti.”
Margaret looked up from her plate to see her Grandma digging deep for the memory,
staring at the salt and pepper shaker’s on the table. She continued, “Your Aunt Max and I split a pork chop and the tall fella, Marvin, had eggs. Your Granddad didn’t know Marvin so they talked for a while and we left and they took us home.”
“So Granddad dated Aunt Max first?”
“Let me finish the story!”
Margaret gave Grandma a closed lipped smile.
“The next night your Granddad comes to the door. And wants to see your Aunt Max,
but she had run out to the store and I told him she was working tonight so it was me or nothing.”
“What about Marvin?”
Grandma stabbed the air with her index finger and raised an eyebrow, “Marvin couldn’t dance. It was your Granddad who paid for our pork chop the night before. So I decided I would go out with him.”
“Was Aunt Max mad?”
“She didn’t know, see I was dressed and ready when your Granddad had come to the door so I just left with him. And I told your Aunt Max when I got home that he had asked for me.”
“Grandma! You tricked them both?” Margaret took a bite of the pizza and sucked in air to cool her mouth.
“Your Aunt Max didn’t have annnny problems finding dates back then, she had the face of an angel, but I had to use my smarts. And I – got – the - boy.” Grandma made a clicking sound with her mouth and winked at Margaret.
“But what happened to the tall dark fella, Marvin?”
“Oh, he went off to war and got shot.”
“Well,” Margaret shrugged, “so did Granddad.”
“Marvin got shot in the ass.” Grandma nodded knowingly.
“So you kept up with Marvin too?” Margaret was somewhat astounded at her
“No. But I found out about it on the T.V. He came back from the war and became an
actor. Lee Marvin.”
Margaret started laughing. “Grandma, you dated Lee Marvin? You’ve never even
“Because I dated Marvin Lee, that was his real name, and he was too cheap to pay for
a pork chop.”
Margaret looked at her pizza and smiled.
Conflict drives plot like a rabid squirrel driving a Panzer tank. Conflict is hungry, looking to satiate its appetite with your character, the Self, folding it into an ironic origami lap cat leaving you plot-less and de-clawed.
Learning about conflict’s role in your Self’s narrative strengthens your character so that you can shoot the rabid squirrel, and take back your plot. Okay not shoot, per se, but take it in, give it a rabies antidote, and teach it to make martinis. This text intends to teach you to attack the vice and folly of your antagonists (herein named Predators).
So, before trying to resolve any other conflicts in your narrative you must resolve the conflict within your Self by establishing your truth and motivation.
If you've never read a self-help book, then this will save you some time. The outline below is the model most self-help books use to help guide a person to a goal. If you've read more than two of these guides then you probably know the drill:
A. You are given a morality tale (the self-help parable) of someone who overcame the odds against them and “made something of themselves,"
B. You are then given “new” rules to live by based on the morality tale so that you might have the hope of overcoming the odds against you,
C. You are then asked to do nonsensical exercises made up to make you feel better and improve a “skill,"
D. Finally you are given a new narrative to tell yourself over and over. "I am not a loser. I am not a loser!"
Generally the goal that you are so desperate to attain falls into one of three categories: money, beauty, or love. That goal is a prized “something” on which all your dreams are pinned, the one “something” which will set you free and answer all of your problems. If you could just find the “secret” written down in some book then your life will be livable again, no longer the grimy bunghole of despair in which you have wallowed for so long. You won’t be lazy anymore; you will be healthy, funny, smart, organized, and beautiful. And then, since you are smarter, funnier, healthier and more beautiful than the rest of us, you can write a book to tell the rest of us chumps how to be like you.
Okay, let’s be honest – the above model of self help, as described, probably won’t work for a variety of reasons. The time, money, and resources the model involves are simply unreasonable for most people. Most people are very busy, and they couldn’t put themselves first even if they wanted. Most people are so brainwashed by predatory industries that they don’t believe their own narratives, and they couldn’t possibly invent one to which they could aspire. But the self-help books tell people to come up with an actual plan they can stick to in the hopes of improving themselves? Come on. You’d get farther by singing “High Hopes” over and over in the shower every morning.
So let’s do something different. Something counter-cultural. Something wholly anti- social, selfish, and common sensical: Let’s sing! Just what makes that little ol’ ant, think he can move a rubber tree plant. When everyone knows an ant. can’t. move a rubber tree plant...
We have all, at some point in our lives, been talked out of our own good sound practical judgments. And that is because the sole goal of the Predators is to chip away at each person’s common sense. Slowly and over time, using repeated methods and a small but effective vocabulary – a person’s common sense can be eroded. This is just like brainwashing.
There are man bags (nee purses), man caves (nee studies), and man cosmetics (nee cosmetics) so why aren’t there some man heels? Not the shoe lifts or bulky 2 inch construction boots - we’re talking knee-crunching, hip displacing, ankle breaking, 5 inch spiky heels. They could be made with titanium spikes and braces and be marketed as “Death Heels For Urban Warriors”. They could have T.V. commercials with hairy men karate kicking a heel into another mans ocular hole. A marketing movie could be made about a terrorist cell that get their hands on this titanium secret weapon and the only defense we have against them is a group of half starved runway models. It could happen, given the right marketing campaign.
Every industry has a subset category of Predators. The Predators don’t want you to be healthy or accepting of who you are. They need you to feel bad about everything you are, and bad about your life, and less than everyone else so they can sell you their crap. The Predators are not out to better your life. They are not out to “help you, help yourself.” They don’t see people as people, you are not Jennifer or Tony or Pearl. They see targets like their “target” audience or their “target” consumers. You are 25-32 years old with a
possible income level of $xyz and can be sold the following types of items using these key phrases. Predators mass-produce their products the cheapest way they can to keep their costs down but to move their profits higher. You are not their “guest,” “client," or “patron”; you are their chattel, prey, or sucker.
The fashion and beauty industry have the most shining examples – the toupee, the girdle, the wrinkle “reducers”, and soon the man heels. But you are still bald, fat, and old. House cleaning is made easier by buying some new and improved mop that’s easier, cleaner, eco-friendlier, or cheaper. But the truth is you’re still mopping. Are you a horrible gardener? Can’t get your garden to grow flowers? Buy this easy, convenient, and “cheap” roll out plant bed and just water...you’re still gardening. Unemployment now has a predatory industry even – they have job fairs and places on the Internet where you can pay to have your resume listed.
Even the book industry has self-help books you can buy. Eh hmmm...
The point is a fool and his money are easily parted. Absolutely without fail, none of the products the Predators peddle are going to make you funnier, smarter, faster or better looking. And you can be $59.95 or as low as $19.95 plus shipping and handling richer if you don’t buy into these predatory markets.
Let’s establish some reality for ourselves, let’s just get it out in the open and deal with it. There really will always, without exception, be someone better than you at whatever it is you are good at doing. Even if you do at some point become the world’s greatest secretary, dad, grain researcher or whatever is stamped on your plastic trophy, someone will certainly replace you.
Are you a small, dumb, ugly, slow poke? If so, then all you can do is throw yourself on the mercy of others. Be content with the mercy and charity given and know that you are the inspiration to every comic in the world and prey to the Predatory sub industries. Know that, in humanity, your very existence irritates people. Every person that you come in contact with wants nothing more than to be as far away from you as possible. You are the pity of the animal kingdom. Apes look to you and murmur, “There but for grace go I”, as they nosh bananas in their comfy gated communities. And if so, so what? Why should you care?
Why should you care if you’re bald? Because some fool is selling fake hair or painful replacement hair? Why would you let someone take away your reality or even tell you your reality is bad? Why would you give someone that power over you? That goes for being smaller or slower or whatever ‘lesser than’ feelings you are having.
There are no great “secrets” to change. There is only love for the self and action based upon that love which brings about change. You know the old saying from flying in commercial air carriers, put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others. Aristotle, in his teachings and writings came up with: happiness is an action. Grant you that is boiling it down a bit, but that’s the general gist of what he was saying. So, are you overweight, poor, or lonely? Are you lazy or a fool? And do you hide from your truth by wearing a toupee or girdle or whatever you think makes you appear in a more positive light to others all the while the worry of your truth lurks in your unconscious mind making you behave like the fodder for predatory industries? Well, wake up because
everyone knows your dirty little secrets and they are making a mint off them! Leeching from you the money you’ve worked so hard to earn. Allowing predators to impose their “improvements” on you is giving up on your own character.
Now that we’ve established some base of reality, mainly that you are a slow, dumb, ugly slowpoke, let’s look at why on earth you’d want to give up your character and change. If your motivation for self-improvement is to be in a better relationship, get a better job, and get more money or if you use any external force as your motivator for self- improvement - it won’t work. Motivation based on someone else’s assessment of your life won’t work. Motivation based on restlessness, boredom, or sheer laziness won’t work.
Because motivation is a fickle mistress and you must base your motivation on one of two things: love or fear. And a motivation based in fear will never work. Ultimately bad things happen when you use fear as a motivator. It works until the fear subsides, like running away from a snake. Using fear as a motivator impedes your practical judgments and causes a person to make rash decisions, like crash dieting or spending beyond your means. But you have the same reaction to perceived dangers as well. If you cheat on your taxes you might get caught. While that "might" does not keep some people from cheating on their taxes but for most people and especially those who have been audited before the perceived danger and consequence of getting caught keeps them on the straight and narrow with the Internal Revenue Service.
Arnold vs. Lou: A Self-Help Parable
Here is a perfect example of all this: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. What? Oh yeah, listen up: both men have an Achilles heel; Mr. Schwarzenegger was not born in this country, this becomes important later. And Lou Ferrigno’s father was so disapproving toward his son that despite only having 20% of his hearing the fear of his father’s disapproval drove him to become one of this countries best body builders.
Both of them started out as body builders and competed regularly against one another in the body building competition world and often switched off the titles. During this time they became friendly competitors sharing the body butter or whatever they used to make themselves so glossy in the competitions. Schwarzenegger finally came to realize that Mr. Ferrigno truly had an edge over him, Mr. Ferrigno was, according to Mr. Schwarzenegger, bigger and he would surely loose this title to Mr. Ferrigno.
So before the competition Mr. Schwarzenegger struck up a conversation with his competitor and mentioned that it was too bad Mr. Ferrigno’s biceps were a fraction smaller than his and now that he looks at it closer it does look kind of odd maybe the biceps were not even equal in size. Thus planting a seed of doubt in Mr. Ferrigno’s mind. The old haunting of his father’s disapproval began to stir in him. Which is all Mr. Schwarzenegger really needed to do since he knew that Mr. Ferrigno’s father had been quite difficult toward his son and nothing that Mr. Ferrigno could do or ever do would please his father. Mr. Schwarzenegger went on to win that title from Mr. Ferrigno. I
doubt it was Mr. Ferrigno’s most prized something in life but it was something he had worked his whole life for.
But wait there’s more.
Now that Mr. Schwarzenegger was the biggest and best he started his true pursuit, which was to become an actor. So then he started acting in films and television. But when the television series The Incredible Hulk was being cast Arnold Schwarzenegger was turned away because he was not tall enough. Guess who was. That’s right, Lou Ferrigno got the part. He snatched away from Schwarzenegger his prized something and with only 20% of his hearing he became an actor.
WAIT! We haven’t gotten to Schwarzenegger’s Achilles heel.
So many years later “Ahnold,” as he was called, is now the most sought after action star of his time but he’s aging, so what does he do? He makes new goals. Just like other actors before him, Clint Eastwood and Ronald Reagan, he goes into politics. He becomes the Governor of California. With rumblings of wanting to move on to the White House, the press pundits answer this rumbling with his Achilles heel. Mr. Schwarzenegger was not born on American soil so he can’t run for president. But should his old nemesis, the man he snatched a life-long pursuit from, Mr. Ferrigno decide to run for president it would be okay since Mr. Ferrigno was born in Brooklyn. That’s the rub, right there.
Life in Third Person
Even after you reach your goal, there will always be someone trying to knock you down, take away your prized something or to make himself or herself appear better looking, faster, smarter, or bigger than yourself. And in all likelihood they probably aren’t any of those things. So what can you do to protect yourself? Nothing really obvious:
You could throw yourself on the mercy of others. (Feckless.) You could try to make alliances with others. (Disappointing.) You could buy a bunch of self-help books. (False
You could blog about it so that others might laugh at you. After all, there’s nothing funnier than a self-aggrandizing, bitter failure.
Then again, you can fight back. Don’t buy into it. Undermine your competition. Start thinking differently. Reinventing like Mr. Schwarzenegger. Take some responsibility for your own failings and move on like Mr. Ferrigno. So just stop, right now and say aloud your truth. Not too loud so that anyone might hear, but murmur it – like to yourself. “I’m a narcissist.” “Everyone knows.” And while you’re murmuring in a paranoid manner go ahead and add, “Life is out to get me.” Because it is. Other people, places, and things really anything that falls into that noun category needs you to fit into their plot, their agenda, and their sales figures. The real question is what are you going to do about that?
Character Rebuilding Exercise:
So now it’s time for the exercise that is going to “change” your life.
*Write your own obituary in 200 words or less.
Most likely less. It should, of course, begin with your name and date of birth then move to any notable achievements and end with your pastimes and hobbies. Please note that watching television is never mentioned as a hobby in the obits.
Finished so soon? Shocking, isn’t it?
The Pearls from Chapter 1:
The truth I am hiding from is: (ex. I am short.)
And everyone knows my truth but me.
Despite losing the 1974 Mr. Olympia title to Arnold Schwarznegger, Lou Ferrigno
could be President of the United States and Arnold can’t even run.
My obituary, the outlined memo of my life, reads like a recyclable waste experiment
The only way to change is through internal motivation based on love for myself and
then action towards change.
I have to decide whether I want to be the lazy fool prey for predatory industries or
live this forsaken existence on my own terms. Character Enrichment Reading:
1. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
2. Lush Life by Richard Price
3. Le Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac