7. Rejection Proof: 100 Days of Rejection, or How to Ask Anything of Anyone at Any Time by Jia Jiang
Who among us is content with how rejection is handled? You could read a book on stoicism or you can read the entertaining 100 days of adventures by Jia Jiang. You are going to love this guy. A reserved, neurotic guy who took it upon himself to change his personality. The things he does to conquer a fear of rejection are amazing. The stories are better than the descriptions of lessons learned. But don’t let this detract you. Jia can spin quite a yarn. Breezy, entertaining, life-affirming read.
I’m not going to lie, I love Simon Rich’s books. He is the master of short stories from the lens of strange narrators. Spoiled Brats has a fantastic story from the perspective of a hamster dealing with the delinquent kids in a kindergarten classroom. Ant Farm has an equally witty tale titled, “what goes through my mind when I’m home alone (from my mom’s perspective)” which I read aloud to my kids and we all cried from laughing so hard.
And yet, The Last Girlfriend on Earth is, in my opinion, the strangest and funniest collection. You might have heard of the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes and his myth of the missing half. In short, humans were born as circles and Zeus split them in half causing a crisis as everyone circling the earth yearning for their other half to form a perfect shape again. Well, check out Simon Rich’s version:
ACCORDING TO ARISTOPHANES, there were originally three sexes: the Children of the Moon (who were half male and half female), the Children of the Sun (who were fully male), and the Children of the Earth (who were fully female). Everyone had four legs, four arms, and two heads and spent their days in blissful contentment.
Zeus became jealous of the humans’ joy, so he decided to split them all in two. Aristophanes called this punishment the Origin of Love. Because ever since, the Children of the Earth, Moon, and Sun have been searching the globe in a desperate bid to find their other halves. Aristophanes’s story, though, is incomplete. Because there was also a fourth sex: the Children of the Dirt. Unlike the other three sexes, the Children of the Dirt consisted of just one half. Some were male and some were female and each had just two arms, two legs, and one head.
The Children of the Dirt found the Children of the Earth, Moon, and Sun to be completely insufferable. Whenever they saw a two-headed creature walking by, talking to itself in baby-talk voices, it made them want to vomit. They hated going to parties and when there was no way to get out of one they sat in the corner, too bitter and depressed to talk to anybody. The Children of the Dirt were so miserable that they invented wine and art to dull their pain. It helped a little, but not really. When Zeus went on his rampage, he decided to leave the Children of the Dirt alone. “They’re already fucked,” he explained.
Happy gay couples descend from the Children of the Sun, happy lesbian couples descend from the Children of the Earth, and happy straight couples descend from the Children of the Moon. But the vast majority of humans are descendants of the Children of the Dirt. And no matter how long they search the Earth, they’ll never find what they’re looking for. Because there’s nobody for them, not anybody in the world.
If you can appreciate a bit of vulgarity and dark humor, this is going to be a treat. If you are easily offended, move on to the next recommendation.