Whenever I was feeling gloomy as a child my mother would tell me to go and do something nice for someone else. It was this advice and several other bits, that made me secure in the knowledge that she was completely barmy. At that time I was unaware of 'displacement' activities, and 'self therapy' was an alien concept. I think of my barmy old mum as I receive an international telephone call from my chum, the one with the charmed and perfect life:-
“Come on Maddy, tell me all your woes so that I can feel less mopey.”
“Ooo where to start! Shall I tell you about my ghastly gum remodeling escape or the root canal that I had instead accidentally?”
Later in the day, when the painkillers start to wear off and I become more mopey, I telephone my American pal, the one with more woes than is fair for any one person to shoulder. Hers are the kind of woes that can't be fixed, ameliorated or obliterated. Perfect teeth so no need for dental insurance. Her expenses aren't for autism therapies but for health issues. A perfect family and yet a life time of unwarranted misery.
“Hello there! I haven't spoken to you for ages. How are you doing?”
“Oh you know me, nothing to complain about apart from funeral pyre of medical bills.”
“Shall I nip round with a box of matches?”
“No house insurance dearie. That's the kind of help I could do without.”
Who do you need to phone?