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Last year I wrote an advice piece on realistic ways to break anyone down. I asked readers to come on a new journey with me, one that veered from the traditional path of demoralization and lead us onto ground that wove between embarrassment, vulnerability, and endearment. It was an exercise in nuance. Because it’s not life’s extremes that allow us to properly humanize people, it’s life’s equalizers. Nature. Travel. Air mattresses.
With Angela Bassett in mind as the powerful, beautiful, and intimidating presence I was meant to break down, I crafted 17 stunning examples from which readers could build upon and use at their discretion. Obviously, many people’s lives were changed forever. I want to continue to change lives.
So, with that in mind, and on this one year anniversary, rather than imagining someone naked as a means of taking things to zero, instead, imagine them:
1. Doing that duck and dodge from the path of wasp.
2. Casually easing into a jacuzzi but then underestimating how low the seat is and then sort of buoying up knees first.
3. At the exact moment they realize they’ve gone too far in a split.
4. Overhand throwing something with their non-dominant hand.
5. Doing that tip toe dance-walk down an aisle when a bus lunges forward.
6. Going to check the mail but then seeing the postal worker pull up, and so then just stopping next to and half-face looking out the window until they’re gone.
7. Slowly spinning their rolling desk chair to its lowest possible seat level in a private moment.
8. Sticking their head out the window of a moving car to let the wind hit their face but taking on too much wind and having to quickly bail.
9. Doing a pencil dive.
10. Holding their breath for the entire length of a bridge but not telling anybody.
11. Concentrating on opening their miniature peanuts packet and biscotti on an airplane for snack time.
12. Sitting down for a peaceful moment in the sun with their eyes closed and as soon as they go to take in a big breath having a car blow past them while honking the horn.
13. Shaking out their comforter while making their bed and in doing so launching their phone at the wall.
14. Making a wish at 11:11 while whispering, “Eleven-eleven.”
15. Being made to say the phrase, “Hey guys, I’m here at fashion week” into a camera.
16. Singing along to “Life is a Highway” in its entirety without realizing it.
17. Having a child’s giant backpack hit them the moment they feel moved by a painting.
Like last time, as we proceed in the comments, remember the severity or levity of your hypotheticals might feed the power a person has over you. Tread carefully, and let’s have fun. Until next year, friends.