Failure in the Era of Flawlessness

writer, improvisation, comedy, life lessons

“It’s times like these,” Teresa said, “when we need to take ourselves less seriously.”

Her face had the expression that a parent might use with a child who had dropped his lollipop on the sidewalk: empathy mixed with buck-up-kiddo. This was a few months ago. I was dejected and over-analytical about the slow demise of a romantic relationship. Over brunch omelets, I related these measly woes. Teresa — a middle-aged friend with an honours degree from the School of Hard Knocks — gazed at me over a fork full of eggs.

“Dude, you need to take an improv class.”

I smiled politely. This was not the advice I needed, thank you very much. I wanted to hear what everyone with a broken heart wants to hear: you’re loveable, you’re not a failure. Instead she suggested that I engage in role-play activities with a bunch of unskilled strangers.

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(Illustration: Chelsea O’Bryne)

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