Colony of Losers- Fuck Stigma and Mental Illness, I'm like 25

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MOMENTOUS BULLSHIT: CHAPTER 1: RFP

Posted on | July 10, 2017 | No Comments

We pride ourselves on the idea that a handful of reactions in the right moments will prove our humanity.

I unfortunately have been living on planet bullshit too long.

My immediate response is to explain the silver lining.

“So we can enjoy sunny days without worrying about skin cancer,” I hear myself say.” I don’t have to worry about what I eat. I don’t have to eat handfuls of vitamins or do crossword puzzles under the naïve hope that I won’t develop Alzheimers. I don’t have to look both ways when I cross the street.  I don’t have to wonder if my shrivelled ovaries can produce a child. I don’t have to worry about finding true love.

My  mouth continues to move, “Humanity didn’t destroy itself. Isn’t that….. something?”

The clients stare at me like I’ve lost my mind.

I should have known something was wrong. They didn’t touch their muffins. They haven’t taken a sip of their coffee. They don’t give a shit that we’re offering them fully distilled water.

This isn’t a joke.

The clients work for a secret part of the UN related to outerspace research.  Somehow connected to the UN security council.

“Yeah, so that’s not exactly what we’re looking for,” says Ted. At the beginning of this conversation Ted explained that his coworker Edward was a professional torturer and that he had a list of everyone I loved.

Everyone they assume I love to be more accurate.

“We don’t need help breaking the news, “ says Ted. “In fact you aren’t going to be allowed to tell anyone not working on the project. And they’ll have to talk to Edward. To makes sure they understand the consequences.”

You might not be familiar with the term RFP or Request for Proposal.

In the last days of humanity we created this horrible thing called Capitalism. The idea was that your efforts would be rewarded and wealth would be distributed based on merit. Instead 85 people owned the rest of the world. To justify this insanity we created this thing called advertising. Its purpose was to make everyone stupid and sort of crazy so they could be manipulated into following a system that made them slaves.  Which is why we called the companies driving this system brands. Like the brands we once used to tattoo slaves to identify the slaves as our properties.

These brands were large companies people like me created personalities for.

When a brand or much more likely an advertising agency was seeking out ideas for a campaign they sent out a request for proposal from all of their vendors.

Advertising agencies are more like the Mafia than Mad Men. They don’t come up with ideas. They sell their taste and haggling ability rather than creative talent. They’re usually a real pain in the ass.

This particular deal was client direct and included a rather extensive Non Disclosure Agreement.

Ed turns to Ted in frustration. “Explain one more time. She’s in shock. ”

The anger comes surging forward but doesn’t pass my lips. The only physical clue is my shaking hands. Which they probably put down to nervous fear. Not years of arrogance that makes me ignore the dire consequences of this meeting and focus exclusively on the fact that I’m being Mansplained.

“I think I understand.”

“Of course you do, “says Edward. Edward grins accommodatingly. You’d think the diplomat, not the torturer would be the one playing good cop. “Tell her one more time, Ted.”

“Ok, Ed. C16000 is going to collide with the earth’s surface in little less than nine months,” Ted reiterates. “It’s now 99.9% going to hit earth and kill every living thing. There is no hope.”

A small thought niggles in the back of my brain.

I know I shouldn’t ask because someone much more qualified than me must have watched this movie as a child and suggested this as a possible solution to the problem.

“Have we mobilized NASA to maybe land on the Asteroid and nuke it?”

In case you happen to be reading this far in the future the movie I’m referencing is called Armaggedon. In it two actors, Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis, saved the world by using their mining skills to drive into an asteroid, place a bomb and made the asteroid split into to two pieces. For some reason another movie called Deep Impact came out the same year and they had an almost identical plan. I can’t imagine that is a coincidence.

Ed looks at Ted.

“Again?” asks Ted.

“It apparently was a culturally important movie,” says Ed.

“So…?” I ask.

Ted glares at me for a second.

“Remember how I said there was no hope?” says Ted.  “None. I’m not even going to go into how the idea of splitting an asteroid can’t happen. Ok I will. In order to blow up an asteroid you have to make a weapon that would create more energy than the sun. The SUN! Do you know how that would have to be?” he asks. I am about to Google it. I don’t.  “You detonate an atomic weapon on an asteroid you now have a radioactive asteroid.  Do you know how much worse that is? Much, much, much worse. And why we would go to looking for some sort of plan to destroy the asteroid? Don’t you think we would consult astrophysicist, military experts, NASA astronauts if we thought there was a possible solution where we could intervene and save humanity?? Why would I look for help from someone in advertising of all things?”

I nod. That does sound hopeless.

“So the world is going to end?” I ask.

Ted and Ed nod simultaneously.

There is awkward silence where I try to let this feeling hit me. There is a warmth in my chest. A slightly heaviness underneath my eyes. No tears are coming. And there’s the anger again.

I’m not a good satellite for the signals my heart is sending to my brain. All I feel is overstimulated and hot. Thankfully I don’t care about these people. They can’t be too disappointed by my lack of a reaction.

“I’m not some person in advertising.” I say. I don’t need to point to the awards on my wall, the bags under my eyes or the title under my door. “You want something big. Bigger than anyone else can do. What do you want me to do?”

Ed grins. It’s paternal and admiring. The psycho is proud.

“We want you to distract people from what’s happening,” says Ted.

“Like a sex scandal?” I ask.

“Bigger. There is the small chance this asteroid goes right past us and the human race gets to live on,” says Ed.  “So not so much no hope. But no reasonable hope. We don’t trust people to react reasonably to this news.  Rioting, genocide, mass suicide. We’d like to avoid it. So we want you to assemble a team to make them think about something else.”

I nod my head.

I feel laughter forming in the center of my chest. Little hands tickling me from the inside. I push that laughter into a tiny box that I’ll open when I’m alone.

“Tell her the other part,” says Edward.

“We want you to create a happy ending for the human race.”

I close my eyes.

For some reason all I can think about are joyous polar bears drinking Coke as the polar ice caps melt.  A billion hands holding an IPHONE reaching up towards the sky to get one last selfie. The Kardashians finally silent. God taking his thumbs out of his bleeding ears.

“So you want me to find the meaning of human life?”

“We don’t need you to get that deep,” says Ted. “We just need you to make a great advertising campaign. Do you think you can do that?”

I stare at the windows.

I can see them tensing.

I stand up and pace.

Ed looks embittered. They’re watching me very carefully. Like I’m not the first person they offered this job too. Like the last person got to this point and flung themselves out a window.

“I’ll think about it.”

“It’s still a request for proposal. So you need to put something together.”

I’d ask or what but I know the answer. If my idea didn’t get picked I’d be killed.

“What’s the deadline?” I ask.

“EOD Tuesday,” replies Ted. “We’re looking for emotional resonance. Something people can really connect with.

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    Michael Kimber is a 26-year-old journalist who suffered a nervous breakdown on November 3rd, 2009. On March 28th, 2010 when he recovered from mental illness, he began writing a blog called Colony-of-losers. About falling on your face to figure out who you are and the hilarious antics of a blond jew. What began with a few friends and his mother reading has become a cult phenomenon, averaging 10,000 views a week, receiving praise from Commonwealth Award Winner Shandi Mitchell and many others. On, November 3rd, 2010, the one year anniversary of his mental breakdown he signed with Anne McDermid and Associates, the largest literary agency in Canada. In a year he went from wearing pajamas, making his couch depression HQ to leaving his hometown for the Toronto, where he exclusively wears business suits and the armor of ancient Greeks. Don't worry, he's still choking on the feet he contently sticks in his mouth and making moments awkward just by being part of them. During these struggles he met other talented bastards and drew them into his circle. Peter Diamond became his illustrator. Patrick Campbell his video editor and part time photographer. He recently added the incredibly talented John Packman as Colony of Losers Toronto photographer. Without the support of the Colony of Losers, Michael Kimber would be nothing. Welcome to the losers and the success that comes from utter and complete failure. You aren’t alone. Follow him on twitter.com/colonyoflosersand twitter.com/quimbo. If you’d like to hire him for a public speaking engagement for mental health events in Toronto, like to arrange an interview, offer millions to publish his book or for another reason contact Michael please email him. And join his facebook Colony of Losers.

    Really obvious disclaimer:
    I’m not a trained psychologist. Just a fellow traveler. If you need help seek it from the professionals. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides a help locator. You can find crisis resources provided by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. If you are in the states check here. It will give you services by zip code. I’d also recommend checking out Mindyourmind.ca. I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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