Nathaniel Davis

Five ways to make sure you’re taken seriously

Being taken seriously is an important part of life. But just like moving a futon, it’s needlessly difficult. So here are five easy routes to get there fast. Seriously.

 

 

#1) Be violent: Take me seriously or you die

Be like those guys who wear full camouflage to the mall food court, or the alt-right, or Isis. All groups who might as well go around carrying signs that read “we demand to be taken seriously”. They love posing for serious group photos. Like that football team in the amateur league that no one wants to play with because they treat every game way too seriously, like it’s 8 Mile and they only got one shot to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime, so you better behead a journalist. And then fuck around for 45 minutes arguing about theological justifications for who gets to take a selfie with the decapitated head first.

Also, it’s way easier to threaten violence as a group. A delusional justification for violence always feels more solid when randomly agreed upon by committee, rather than randomly agreed upon by the voices inside the head of a single member. If you want the best of both worlds, be the one in the group who threatens the most violence against the people outside the group, and then threatens those within who don’t support your policy of “threats threats threats, they’re so fun, threats threats threats, for everyone.” That’s also how I imagine you win a Republican Party primary.

What you’ll need:

– a soft centre to outflank with extreme violence threats
– demands
– a camera
– a desire to constantly make demands using said camera

 

#2) Be epic: Take me seriously or we’re all gonna die

Also known as the Manbearpig strategy. Choose an existential threat only you can see. Like Al Gore trying to warn the town of South Park about the incoming danger of Manbearpig, be the Cassandra of your own precarious universe. You will not engage in play or levity because it makes you feel like the string quartet on the deck of the Titanic, playing while the people are unaware of what’s coming. But you are aware, and that’s why you don’t play.

What everyone else is doing is frivolous and part of the problem. They are wasting precious time with their not understanding you.

And it’s not just you they’re failing to take seriously, it’s the pain and suffering of all the people affected by this tragedy. Consider using their suffering to make your seriousness completely invulnerable.

What you’ll need:

– a cause
– an audience
– the ability to respond to every minor challenge with President Whitmore’s speech from Independence Day

 

#3) Be utopian: Take me seriously and no one will ever die again

Not only do you seem to be the only person with the requisite awareness of the stakes, you are also the only person with any awareness of the solution. The solution will be perfect, from top to bottom. So every detail is serious; every detail has high stakes. Everything must have high stakes! The high stakes all depend on you. And anyone within reach. The music swells. You are handing out stakes like a mad chef.

This way, you get to make every detail of your and everyone’s daily life the subject of the utmost seriousness. Like a true fundamentalist utopian. One day you will be the head of an arcadian clockwork society like North Korea or Uber.

And when people still refuse to take you seriously, just look past them. At your ideals. Your ideals are on the horizon. A shining city on a hill, only you can see, somewhere in the distance, just behind the Taco Bell.

What you’ll need:

– an infinite supply of stakes
– eyes
– a Taco Bell

 

#4) Be aesthetic: Did somebody die?

Dress like you don’t do small talk. Usually in black, or whatever palette you feel screams “this is not a game”. Treat yourself like you are dressing for a never-ending personal injury lawyer commercial. They cross their arms and they don’t fool around. Actually, just become the commercial. You know those silver flare reality TV effects the camera does as it spins around your be-jeweled, be-suited and be-briefcased figure? Have that effect follow you around everywhere.

Don’t smile. Not at jokes, or children, or bittersweet moments of life that reveal the commonality of shared human experience. Or silent film comedy gods. Like Buster Keaton, who also didn’t smile. And that is part of why posterity takes him so seriously.

What you’ll need:

– a black and white camera
– a steamboat or a house with a detachable facade
– a briefcase full paperwork for all those steamboat and facade related injuries

 

#5) Be urgent: Take me seriously or someone’s gonna die

When everything is framed as an emergency, no one questions the need. So make sure to frame it accordingly. So be that “always in a rush” person everyone loves, maybe even that “talking into their phone at angle like they’re about to eat it” person (presumably it was one of those guys who named Uber “Uber”), and…

Walk briskly. Like you wish you had 28 hour days. You live at a higher tempo. You are on a mission like a Navy SEAL or Super Mario or like when your music is on shuffle and that song comes on and you want to jog manically across city rooftops towards no destination in particular. So yeah…

Run a lot. Like Tom Cruise. So by “run” I mean “sue everyone who doesn’t take you seriously”. At least some of them. I think. Am I defaming Tom Cruise when there’s an actual wealth of reprehensible stuff that he’s really done and is sufficiently icky?

What you’ll need:

– a smartphone
– an appetite for smartphones
– deep seated fears you will never publicly admit to running away from

 

Use any of these techniques, and all the annoying contradictions of your complex existence will just sort of iron themselves out into a smooth trajectory that everyone will appear to make way for. Remember, other people are just the bricks paving the way for your big journey, and if you are convinced, seriousness can be the mortar.

 

 

Nathaniel Davis

Nathaniel Davis is a hairy, neurotic writer based in Toronto. He has recently turned 30 and abandoned his dreams of world domination. He now focuses on analysing the people who won't. He writes weekly on medium.com/@nathanieledwardavis

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