Stage 1: Denial
When the presidential candidates take the stage and you think to yourself this might be ok, maybe these guys will be ok. Just because they’re politicians doesn’t mean they can’t be reasonable, logical people… right? Just because every experience in your entire life indicates otherwise this time could be different… right? Right?
Then they start talking and the first couple things out of their mouths aren’t terrible. Political rhetoric that doesn’t mean anything yes, but it’s not SO bad, and you’re getting more and more convinced that this time, for the first time in memorable history, this debate is going to be an exchange of ideas between two reasonable people with the good of the American people at heart.
Stage 2: Anger
With each passing word you realize it didn’t sound that bad because they were just setting the metaphorical table, now that the forks, knives, and plates are down they can get onto the main course; a nonsense burrito smothered in crazy sauce and served with a side of WTF.
Stage two is when you start getting pissed. Screaming at the TV, throwing things across the room, until eventually you’re so upset and flustered you’re mixing your profanities around until what you’re saying makes as little sense as what they’re saying.
That’s when stage 3 sets in.
Stage 3: Bargaining
“I can deal with economic policies that screw us all over in the long run, as long as you keep half heartedly attempting to fight for civil rights I’ll still vote for you.” “On a 1-10 scale of awful, as long as your main talking points are a 6 or below I promise I won’t move to Canada.” “God as long as you don’t let that jag win I swear I will… oh I don’t know just please don’t let it happen.”
If any of the above phrases sound familiar you’re in stage 3.
Stage 4: Depression
Despair sets in. All the swearing has worn you out and all you can do is melt into the couch and groan while occasionally muttering things like “We’re all so screwed.”, “Why do we even try?”, and mumble a sentence nobody can decipher with the word “hopeless” in the middle of it.
You remain a semi-catatonic lump of anguish on the couch, broken pieces of hope scattering the floor around you, occasionally punctuating the TV noise with a dejected cry of “Ugh, no!” followed by burying your head further in the pillow until…
Stage 5: Acceptance
You remember these are just a couple political chimps throwing bumper sticker slogan feces at each other, and while it does impact your life this is also something that you have to go though every four years and something that they and a couple hundred other poo-flinging mamals we elected do every single day in Washington. And the world hasn’t come crumbling around you yet, so it’s probably ok to peel yourself off the couch now.
Moral of the story: You should never watch political debates unless you’re going to turn it into a drinking game, the stress isn’t good for you.