pre-election angst
Image: Andrew Mason / CC BY 2.0

Who are you voting for? Who cares? We’re boned either way. Here’s the real question: What are you doing to cope with pre-election angst?

You know what I’m talking about. Loss of appetite. Lethargy. An all-encompassing sense of utter hopelessness and despair. I mean, like a greater all-encompassing sense of utter hopelessness and despair than usual.

Pre-election angst happens every four years, but it seems particularly bad in 2016 since we’re collectively racing directly towards one of two portals directly to Hell. Here are some tips for turning that pre-election angst into pre-election … damnit. Nothing really rhymes with “angst.”

Bake cookies

Baking cookies is a great way to deal with any life crisis. Dead dog? Cookies. Legs eaten by sharks? Cookies. Caught your wife making porn again? Cookies. Kids voted for Hillary Clinton? Cookies. Parents voted for Donald Trump? Cookies.

Note that it is the baking of cookies that is therapeutic, not the consumption. Eating all of the cookies you bake will only make things worse — unless you’ve baked weed cookies. In Colorado, they are referred to as “edibles,” but I never saw an inedible cookie.

Eating weed cookies may deliver some form of relief from pre-election angst. Alternatively, you can strategically send them to your enemies either as a consolation or congratulation for their candidate having won or lost. Bishops, grandmas, elected officials, and the unemployed are all good candidates whatever your intentions may be.

Briefly sort of listen to Jimmy Buffett

Normally, this is something I would never advise. I have played enough Jimmy Buffett in my years of gigging to know firsthand the deleterious effect that even a single Jimmy Buffett song can have on the psyche. If your pre-election angst symptoms include nausea or dizziness, this may be one to steer clear from.

pre-election angst
Photo: Samantha Evans Photography / CC BY-ND 2.0

But if you are brave and have an empty stomach, try putting on “Margaritaville” if you have heard it fewer than nine trillion times (most people have not), and for the particularly stout of heart, try “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Whew, just typing that triggered the gag reflex.

Now try not to focus directly on the music. You may want a friend wearing earplugs to accompany you and turn off the music if you begin foaming at the mouth, bleeding from the ears, singing along, etc. Rather than listening directly to the music itself (never, ever do this), try to picture the teeming, zombiesque masses who actually like this. Try to envision the countless thousands of rednecks in bars throughout the South who are likely at this very moment so zonked out on painkillers, pre-election angst marijuana cookies, and Jack Daniels that they are actually enjoying it.

Just let that soak into your brain. Look in the mirror and notice that you are not one of them. (It only works if you’re not one of them.)

Feel better?

Try adult coloring books

Because American IQs are sinking more quickly than voter confidence, adult coloring books are now a thing. I buy them for my 5-year-old daughter.

These can be particularly effective for people who are plagued by incessant thoughts that they can’t shut off but are too lazy for yoga or meditation. The idea is to just kind of zone out and “be one” with the coloring. Don’t “be one” with the markers, though, unless you are sure they contain nontoxic ink.

Most adult coloring books feature either mandalas — ornate, symmetrical patterns that represent the universe to Tibetan Buddhists and just look like doilies to the rest of us — or illustrations of flora and fauna that are so overly complex as to actually induce an anxiety attack. Steer clear of those and go with the doily pictures.

pre-election angstWhile you are coloring, keep your mind on the repetitive, calming motion of your hand rather than the relentless repetition of “goddamnit, goddamnit, goddamnit,” scenes wherein you decapitate a presidential candidate, or whatever negative thought patterns accompany your pre-election angst.

Also, do this in the privacy of your home so that no one makes fun of you.

Sing in the shower

It’s probably the only place you should ever sing, and you should wait until you are home alone. And then really belt it out. That “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage” tune by Smashing Pumpkins is a good one. Other suggestions are “Dancing Queen” by ABBA and any Weird Al polka medley.

Join ISIS

I am pretty sure that you can easily join ISIS online. I’m scared to actually look myself because I’m also pretty sure that the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, and both Google and Microsoft are all watching everything we do down to the keystroke. (I personally have taken to regularly farting into the built-in webcam on my computer to dissuade them from monitoring me.) But I’ve gotten the impression that recruitment standards are fairly lax. I’ve also gotten the impression that they are looking for hipper, sexier terrorists these days to try to dispel the “stodgy bearded guy who explodes” stereotype.

If you are asked about your feelings about America, just think about the 2016 presidential election and say whatever comes to mind. That should get you in. Congratulations! You’re on your way to making new friends and traveling the world until you are torn to shreds by a maelstrom of shrapnel or a hail of bullets.

Seven tips for dealing with pre-election angstForce a cow to wear rollerskates

I’m just assuming there’s some kind of therapeutic value there.

Pray

Prayer works … as long as by “works” you mean that it gives you a reason to give credit to your deity of choice whenever something good happens. Because I pray regularly, I’m justified in publicly exclaiming “Thank you, Baphomet!” whenever I find a nickel.

Our species has been going down the rabbit hole of religious thought for some time now, so there’s a long list of deities to choose from. Specifically to help cope with pre-election angst, I suggest praying to any of the following deities:

—Shiva, destroyer of worlds and god of standing on one foot for a long time

—Ganesh, god of practical jokes

—Odin, god of rugged yet well-groomed beards

—Aphrodite, goddess of online pornography

—Dionysus, god of getting wasted and binge-eating

—Jack Daniels, god of getting totally black-out wasted and patron deity of poor decision-making

—Donkey Kong, god of getting pissed and throwing barrels

—Honky Kong, god of disenfranchised yet overprivileged white people

Note that Hillary Clinton’s patron deity is Apate, the Greek goddess of deception, and that Donald Trump’s patron deity is Andrew Dice Clay, patron deity of offensive New Yorkers. Steer clear of those two.

Form a suicide pact

Find a friend who is also suffering from pre-election angst, and dictate the terms of the pact. Perhaps if Hillary Clinton wins, you will both drink hemlock. Perhaps if Donald Trump wins, you will burn yourselves alive at the next Darryl Worley concert. Have your pact drawn up by a lawyer to ensure that it will be legally binding. Burning alive is always more fun with a friend!

Hopefully, these techniques will help you deal with the crippling pre-election angst that no doubt grips the testacles of this country in its clammy forepaws. I know it’s gripping mine. Sorry for that mental image.

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Widely regarded as the greatest writer of all time, copy editor and staff writer Jason Gottfried is a freelance editor, writer, multi-instrumental musician, and composer transplanted to Utah from Nashville by way of Gainesville, Florida. He was formerly opinion editor of The Independent and wrote album reviews, opinion pieces, and satire news. Before that, he was editor of SOKY Happenings magazine and wrote a column, The Vociferous Vegan. He was also general manager of Nashville’s fabled The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant and briefly co-owner of Gainesville's longtime staple vegetarian restaurant, Book Lover's Cafe. When he is away from the computer, he plays between Colorado and California as a live and session musician. His albums with Sean McDonald as ambient electroacoustic duo Vesica Piscis are streaming online: indolerecords.bandcamp.com/album/twin-yang mmmsound.bandcamp.com/album/optical-mystic He sexually identifies as an Apache AH-64 attack helicopter and his pronouns are "zap," "quack," and "boing."