A Wishlist From The Pit of Despair
by Jessie Lochrie
Have you ever heard of “the pit of despair?” It’s the device noted psychologist/monkey sadist Harry Harlow invented; he put baby rhesus macaques in said pit of despair as an attempt to manufacture clinical depression. They were dark, isolated chambers, and after a few days inside, the monkeys stopped moving. Monkeys removed from the pit of despair after one month were deeply disturbed and anti-social.
Ever since learning about the pit of despair, that’s what I’ve called the worst of my depression. I am basically an immobile baby monkey alone in the dark. Simple, forward progress, like going outside or calling my mother, seems impossible. Instead, I spend my time in the pit thinking of new solutions to my inertia, sadness, and disdain for hygiene. To wit:
1. Self-washing hair.
2. A cabana boy to screen my calls and give me backrubs.
3. For the nerds to make Soylent into gummy bears, because I can’t summon the energy to eat. If they can make vitamin gummy bears, they can make Soylent gummy bears, and that will fulfill all my nutritional needs.
4. $5,000 to spend on Seamless because, on second thought, the only thing that can possibly fill this gaping hole of sadness is 60 burritos.
5. Technology to project Twitter on my ceiling, so I can passively watch other’s lives scrolling by while I lie in bed in the dark.
6. Benevolent drones to run my errands for me. They will return and float gently through my open window, depositing my Zoloft prescription in my lap.
7. A Rube Goldberg machine that will bring me effortlessly out of bed and to my feet.
8. Alternatively, a Rube Goldberg machine that will painlessly exercise for me, perhaps simply by strapping all my limbs in and moving them in an approximation of running while I sleep or think about what Beyonce is doing right now.
9. A gentle outpatient procedure, perhaps achieved with magnets or lasers, to install a SadBlocker in my brain. No spinning rainbow wheel during conversations, where I reach for empathy, or a particular word, and can’t quite get there. A clean brain. A battalion of functioning serotonin receptors. Not a single pill on my nightstand.
Jessie Lochrie is a Boston-born, Brooklyn-based writer who tweets @jessieflux.