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THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE

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Fun Times with Schopenhauer

“Kant is so great,” said Schopenhauer. I asked him which Kant he was talking about; Loretta Kant from down the street, of course.

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“Vanity finds expression in the whole way in which things exist,” says Schopenhauer, whenever he’s turned down for a date.

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Schopenhauer says, “all things in our hands become as nothing, and lose any real value they possess.” Mostly after wrecking my DVDs.

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Schopenhauer says, “Time is that in which all things pass away.” He mostly says it when he’s late or he owes me money.

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“If you cut up a large diamond into little bits, it will entirely lose the value it had as a whole,” said Schopenhauer. It was an “off” day.

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“Noise is a torture to intellectual people,” said Schopenhauer. He was always a dick like that when it was my turn to choose the station.

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Schopenhauer once said that “our existence is so miserable, and … its end is death.” Then they revoked his Mickey Mouse Club membership.

The Annual Report

OVERVIEW

“Jonathan Ball” is getting out of the writing business. To this end, the company has developed a Five Year Plan.

SUMMARY OF THE FIVE YEAR PLAN

Year One will be a year of frantic work, as the bills mount and with desperate fervour “Jonathan Ball” attempts to complete and sell as many pieces of writing as possible, in a last-ditch attempt to save this company. Year Two will see this activity slow and finally stop, and “Jonathan Ball” will dabble part-time in another industry just to “make ends meet.” Something very blue collar — some form of unskilled labour, like law enforcement. Year Three will focus on heavy drinking. In Year Four “Jonathan Ball” will cultivate a hollow stare, which will be perfected by Year Five, in which “Jonathan Ball” will complete the transition towards non-artistic industry — something harmless, like squirrel breeding.

PURPOSE OF REPORT

This report is informational in nature, and concerns important developments in the recent fiscal year, and explains some of the decisions leading to this change. The report consists primarily of a cost-benefit analysis of this shift in focus, and how it shall prove beneficial to you, the stakeholders.

WHO WE ARE

But first, a little bit about who we are, for those new to the company. “Jonathan Ball,” began in 1979 but was only incorporated around the year 2000, when the world failed to end as poor mathematicians predicted and writing began “seriously.” Since that point, the company has failed to turn a profit.

COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS

Numerous costs are associated with continuing operations, which fall generally into two large categories: “Life” costs and “Financial” costs. “Life” costs include, but are not limited to, back pain, night terrors, and paleness. “Financial” costs appear minimal at a superficial glance. However, the opportunity costs associated with running “Jonathan Ball” are substantial.

Over the past fiscal year, costs of “existential angst” have grown to all-time highs. Stakeholders, reviewing the annual report of the previous year, had suggested that “Jonathan Ball” might consider “getting out of the writing game” and perhaps into another “game.” While “the rap game” was offered as a possibility, it was ultimately discarded. Other “games” have been considered and discarded, as the company CEO developed the Five Year Plan.

The Five Year Plan has its own additional costs. It will entail increased anxiety and, in Year Three, liver damage. Existential angst, the cost of which is the driving focus for this change, is expected to triple in the short term — but drop to minimal levels in the long term.

The primary benefits of running “Jonathan Ball” include, and are limited to, a sense of self. This is not to be confused with a sense of self-worth. This sense of self is another cost of ceasing operations. However, the ceasing of operations has one large, primary benefit, which compensates for many of the aforementioned costs: not having to deal with “it” anymore.

In conclusion, you, the stakeholders, stand to benefit from increased, even desperate, bids for attention and validation from Jonathan Ball (current-president and CEO of “Jonathan Ball,” and future tipsy squirrel-breeding officer of the law).

CONCLUSION

It has been a bad year for “Jonathan Ball,” but the future looks bright! However, we should resist the urge to begin writing a story about this future, or a poem expressing hopeful sentiments using metaphors of brightness and shade.

Holiday Buying Guide: Best Gifts for Your Enemies

Christmas is forthcoming, and because you’ve got to start thinking about these things early, I present my handy holiday shopping guide:

Christmas is a great time to crush your enemies. They may get caught up in the season and let down their guard. Even if they remain vigilant, the last thing your enemies expect is for you to send them a present. Use the element of surprise to your advantage this holiday season with these malicious gift ideas.

The Ben Affleck Collection

Yes, there is a Ben Affleck Collection. This is a great gift for somebody you act friendly toward but secretly hate.

Not only do you get the pleasure of an awkward “Oh… thanks” when you present the gift, but the words “Ben Affleck Collection” are on the box in big bright letters. This DVD set will sit in your enemy’s home and invisibly ruin their life.

Imagine: your hated foe brings a date home, and at some point this would-be paramour decides to browse the shelves—and sees the Ben Affleck Collection. Date over. The down side of this gift is that its purchase will benefit Ben Affleck, who may be another of your enemies.

Contraband

In your enemy’s household, a very large gift appears under the tree, from “Santa.” Everyone thinks the other person is responsible and just being cute by pretending not to know its origins.

Flash-forward to Christmas morning, when your enemy opens the package to discover illegal drugs, guns, etc. The windows burst open and police raid the house, acting on an “anonymous” tip.

This has the additional benefit of dismantling the family unit and freeing up the husband or wife of your enemy for consolation/seduction—an extra kick-in-the-face if you can pull it off.

The Cursed Videotape

Ever see The Ring? Track that haunted videotape down and pop it in your enemy’s stocking. The tape was last seen in the possession of Amy Winehouse—and we all know how that turned out.

A Marriage Proposal

Hear me out on this one. Out of the blue, you propose marriage on Christmas day. She turns you down, confused and disgusted. But you persist. You use every trick in the romantic-comedy handbook to wear her down.

Then you show up drunk to the wedding ceremony, throw a bottle of whiskey at the priest, and vomit on everything expensive. The wedding is cancelled, everyone is embarrassed, and it costs her family a ton of money. Meanwhile, you take the shower gifts and her credit cards and vacation in the Bahamas until it all blows over.

If your enemy is male this still works. For a bonus, regardless of gender, make sure you also sleep with the best man/bridesmaid, destroying their friendship.

Their Two Front Teeth

Chances are your enemies are the kind of people liable to say things like “my two front teeth” when you ask them what they want for Christmas. If this happens, immediately punch out these teeth and present them to your bleeding foe.

Remember, they asked for it: my team of shady, disbarred lawyers considers this a defensible legal position.

My Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

A Nobel Prize, for me? You’re too kind. It’s a great honour to accept this award, and the ten million kronor that comes with it. It’s all there? I’m afraid I can’t stay for the rest of the evening, but before I go I’d like to talk a little bit about my novel, the one which earned me this award. I am speaking of my debut novel, Unless I Am Awarded the Nobel Prize.

The research for this book was painstaking. I spent months in libraries, in newspaper archives, in idling cars, preparing to write this book. The novel, as many of you know, concerns a group of intellectuals, all at the top of their respective fields, who are selected as the judges of the Nobel Prize in Literature. As they prepare to carry out their duties, strange occurrences take place, and it becomes apparent that a mysterious writer has targeted them and intends to destroy their lives, in horrible ways, unless he is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

When I began writing this novel, people told me I was crazy. They continued to tell me this even after the novel was published. But I didn’t pay attention, and I credit my success to my stubborn belief in this book, which gave me the inner strength to conduct the meticulous research it required.

I wasn’t satisfied learning the names of this year’s jurors, names carefully guarded—no. I also discovered where they lived, profiled their family members, and tracked their movements and activities to the hour. I quit my job in order to dedicate myself full-time to this important research, because I knew it would help me develop my characters and was integral to the book’s success.

I even used my savings to hire professional investigators, and a few mercenaries—a gamble, but it paid off. The money I lost during the course of my research is more than repaid now, given the hefty cash prize—and I mean hefty, I can barely lift these briefcases!

But it’s not about the money, it’s about literature. However, I should thank The Nobel Foundation for presenting me with the money. In unmarked bills.

I know that my novel has many critics, and that the decision to grant me this award sparked a good deal of controversy. In fact, I am not aware of the book receiving a single positive review. All the more stunning your—may I say it?—wise decision to honour my achievement.

Most critics point to the book’s ending as flawed—the ending in which the judges simply give in to the demands of the writer-terrorist, and award him the Nobel Prize in Literature—calling it “unrealistic” and “an insane fantasy.” Tonight, you have proven those critics wrong.