‘Tiiiis the season to get nasty. Falalalala-lala-lala.

There are certain words and phrases that automatically lend credence to the sentences they appear in, for example, credence.  The phrase it turns out makes its user sound like they have a special laboratory where they go to form all their smart, respectable opinions. E.g. As it turns out, the sky is yellow.

Anything that comes after the human condition seems common to everybody, doesn’t it? For example: Loneliness is the human condition. Greed is the human condition. Blue eyelashes are the human condition.

The desire to name flaws and shame their owners is also the human condition. We all, at some point, feel we know precisely how somebody else should alter themselves and we’re very vocal about it. Sometimes, like when we want to win arguments, we even name imaginary flaws. Because it’s the end of the year, many families are going to be stuck in the same place for the first time in months and this means that insults are going to fly.

Here’s a guide to guarantee that you always sound like you have a nice flavor of brain and reduce your opponent to a trembling, floor-hugging pile of annoyingness.

Listen carefully to your adversary’s insult and then throw it back at them word for word. Be sure to keep your face straight while you do this, or else you won’t be capitalizing on the irritating-ness of your act. You can go as far as copying their body language, making sure to add muchuzi. Like, if they’re waving their hands around, wave your entire body.

Who says your quarrel-mate has to understand you? Be the Twista of insults. Loudly fire three hot ones and then start making random noises. For example: you look like a spinster goat with two humps and three legs, buh buh black sheep, kanankanyi, giraffe fool!!

Vulgarity, unless skillfully used, will water down your insult. It is the last refuge of the loser. When you’re winning a fight, you don’t need the shock value that expletives offer. You can just finish your opponent off with witty and insightful invective. Also, very few people are thrown off by bad language nowadays. Someone can easily sneer and say something like “your head is so big, you look like a question mark” and just like that, you’ll have lost.

Have you read those novels where the writer goes, “He unleashed his dangerously quiet voice and Assumptah found herself caught between trembling and wincing”? Speaking quietly, apart from freaking your foe out, is a very effective way of expressing maturity and therefore, dominance. Remember how Batman in The Dark Knight sounded? Like an upside down tortoise being dragged slowly over one of Komamboga’s roads. So the next time you find yourself about to say, “I will eat your lower intestine if you don’t shut your cavernous trap” remember to not shout.

Speaking in a low voice also frustrates your foe by making them strain to hear you. It’s the most annoying thing to be quarreling with somebody who makes you go “pardon? Eh? What was that? Increase volume naawe!”

Don’t be crushingly lonely. Catch a mate.

I make a lot of noise, all the time about my match making ways. I’m very good at making people fancy the pants off each other. When I enter a room, heavy breathing abounds and people start releasing pheromones twice as fast. I’m like cupid, only not as fat and much taller.

Everybody needs sambaaady to love all the time but especially in December because it’s the month of heavy rains (babies) and discounts (gifts). Tis’ the season to be jolly, not crushingly lonely so here’s a guide to catching a mate (you don’t have to keep them afterwards, that is not a must, but it would be nice if you didn’t unceremoniously dump them fwaaa after fulfilling your need for a date to all those parties between December 15th and January).

Go to coffee shops like Soho and Javas with a laptop and a book. Pretend to be there for the wifi, piped jazz and coffee flavored air but really be trying to catch the eye of every promising person who walks in. As you bang away at your keyboard, wear your hottest face. Meanwhile, contrary to what fashion TV says, hot face doesn’t mean duck face. It doesn’t mean dark and brooding either. It means looking generally pleasant, whatever that means. If you start to feel bad about yourself, order something sugary and expensive. The sugar will give you a serotonin boost and you’ll be good to go again.

But wait. Aren’t these tips kind of just fake? Won’t they, at best, make you seem endearingly unhinged to potential mates?  Ah well. That can also work. Seeming unhinged. If you catch a cool person’s attention by doing something ridiculous and making them feel sorry for you, that’s foundation enough for a rom-com type romance.

Wear Christmas colors. People always wear dull colors when they’re sad which only makes them even more miserable and lonesome. It’s the festive season, man. Get some color into your closet. And nylon. Heck, just throw all of your sensible clothes away and replace them with hammer pants and brightly colored nylon shirts. I know only two people who would look fantastic in such clothes, because they’re super hot and would look great in anything, but don’t let that deter you. When you start being able to make yourself laugh by passing by reflective surfaces, stick with the look.

Be weird. Eccentricity, even the annoying pseudo type sells. I swear. Go around dressed in overalls and boots see if some stranger doesn’t call you avant garde. People will give you appreciative side eye. You can also break into song and dance in the taxi but this only works if you can carry a tune; or else the hot chick at the front won’t be craning her neck to identify and fall in love with you. She’ll be trying to ensure that the bullet hits you square between the eyes and no where else.

Date yourself. This is fun because it means you get to spend lots of cash on self-gifting without any of the guilt. In fact, this is the only real piece of advice on this page. Spend more time doing things that make you happy and less feeling awkward about being alone.  Cham Karama maber.

WHO RUNS THE WORLD? Not mucus. Hopefully.

Who run the world? Noses! Who run the world? Noses! Who don’t run the world? Colds! A cold has found its way into the Plan B office which is why we feel it essential to assert the dominance of our noses over everything in the world (including blasted, bastardly colds) by spontaneously bursting into chant. Who run the world? Noses! Who run the world? Noses! Who don’t run the world? Colds! Like that.

This serves the purpose of boosting nasal moral and preventing noses from bursting open as a result of the violent blowing that we’ve been doing all week. It also frightens the cold which is important because if you don’t fight a cold medicinally as well as psychologically, it starts to feel invincible. Once that happens, there’s no end to the kinds of horrors that it can loose on you.

If you didn’t know before, be informed that it’s very possible to drown in your own mucus.  Google says so.

Here are two ways that you can flush that nasty cold out of your system and scare it so firmly that it’ll slither away, warbling for its mother. It’s fat, cushy, greenish blob of smelly motherly goo; smelly because mothers always smell like something and we cannot expect mucus’ mother to smell like Yardley. She has to smell like old flu.

Eat disgusting things: scientists don’t know this yet but gross as flu might be, it loves good food; stuff that tastes good. When you drink honey lemon tea, your cold rejoices because this tea is delicious. When you make ginger juice, the cold invites its boyfriend over and engages in sweaty celebratory activities in your nose and throat. You need to show it that your hatred and determination to be rid of it surpasses your need for happy taste buds. Violently pound garlic and ginger together until the stuff in the spice mortar looks like a chick that has been pummeled to death. Spoon this pulpy mix into half a cup of honey. Stir and eat. Don’t stop till you’re crying from disgustedness.

Watch wrestling: Wrestling is a really annoying sport, mostly when the guy you like is obsessed with it. The intensity of your cold is affected by the amount of feeling that you infuse into the things that you do. Note this. So when he comes over to your house to make you feel better and brings a DVD featuring John Cena trying to beat big show by hanging off his back like a koala, instead of your favorite Boney M CD, start shouting. Quarrel a lot. Be very dramatic in your disappointment. Flash him a little. All that shouting will get the mucus moving and you’ll feel some relief.

Beatrice says, an expert in these matters says, “All I know all about mucus there is no beating it. I’ve been trying for the past 24 years! Head steaming, avoiding sleeping in the homes of people who fear brooms, all that hasn’t worked. Waking up in the morning and blowing and bloowing and bloooooooowing is useless as it just stimulates more mucus production. What you need to do is pray. That is all.”

Hear that, oh ye mucus laden? Pray.

Meetings kill people. Act like you know.

Meetings have a special way of sucking. They have the ability to induce in you an extraordinary hatred for your life and everything in it. The biggest advantage that funemployed people have over we cubicle rats is that they don’t have to burn huge chucks of their lives sitting in uncomfortable swivel chairs, wising poxes on their workmates for repeating the same point five times over.

Most of the time, a meeting is only productive for the first five minutes. During this time ideas are propelling themselves out of people’s mouths like rockets. The room is on faya! And then everybody burns out all of a sudden, at the same time, and the meeting degenerates into a miserable, alcohol-less party.

One of the most annoying is the one on Monday morning that ends with everybody describing, in detail, how they spent their weekend. This is supposed to help workmates bond and feel a part of each other’s lives but really it only makes them hate each other’s guts. Just how much are you allowed to reveal and for how long? Can you describe in detail how you spent the whole of Saturday afternoon lancing the boils on your brother’s buttocks or is that too much? Are these meetings protected by a rule of non disclosure? What if one of your workmates is a spy? Then there is the issue of eyes. Where are you supposed to fix them?  Only psychopaths can look people in the eye as they narrate their banal weekend activities.

The absolute worst are the ones that morph into presentations. One minute, you’re doodling peacefully, nodding at intervals to avoid being picked on and the next, you’re being called upon to present a document. The last time this happened I stuttered, bled sweat, shot copious amount of saliva on the person seated closet to me and finally, exploded in a sad little firework of expletives. Not cool.

Meetings don’t always trigger feelings of anger and sorrow though. Take last week for example when my face was attacked by pimples so immense; they’d bob when I’d move my head.  Because I knew that my meeting with the dermatologist was going to put an end to me resembling a greasy chap from Chicken Tonight, I went willingly, without complaint. The point of this lie is that if a meeting has a discernible purpose and benefit, and promises not to drag on long after productivity has left the room, people will be happy to attend it.

There’s only one formula for meeting-rage that I know which doesn’t involve earphones. Baby ninjas (Thanks, Baz).  Close your eyes, take a deep breath and then snap them open (if the lids don’t make a chwa! sound, you haven’t snapped violently enough). Scan the room. Watch in awe and delight as baby ninjas reveal themselves to you. Try not to laugh when they start performing kwasa kwasa around the sugar bowl.

One day your body will rebel because of all the despair, boredom and heartburn that meetings cause it and refuse to transport you to the boardroom. This will annoy your boss so much that he’ll shoot you in the face and you’ll die (which is not a bad thing because the earth will be rid of your snarky, uncooperative meeting-hating self).

Don’t smile while you’re bleeding.

Smile is a good song; one of K’naan’s best. It advocates plastering a huge smile on your face whenever you feel about as cheerful as a wet rag and not allowing people (stupid enemy haters) to see your pain*.  This sounds reasonable when K’naan is spitting verses in that attractive way of his through your earphones, but it doesn’t translate very well in real life.

First, before we continue, quick question to all of you who drink hot beverages on a regular. Do you or do you know anybody who knows how to go about this drinking business without messing up the sides of their cup?

Like this

I Bring my cup to my lips, sip, not slurp, gently and still, still a thin line of coffee cuts through the lipstick stain at the top, rolls down and pools in a gross ring on my desk. By the time the coffee has worked its magic and made me fit for human society, I’m too disgusted by the mess to be productive (we all know how easy it is for cubicle workers to get demotivated). Is there a less disgusting way of consuming hot beverages that doesn’t include straws?

Here are 3 ways to deal with your crushing feelings of misery that don’t involve smiling like a clown on gunpoint:

Hold babies: Lucky for me, I have the cutest one in the world at my house so when sorrow and its relatives come to visit, I wave her in the air like I just don’t care and they leave. Bastards. If you don’t have a baby at hand, make one. That’s always fun.

Ride your bicycle over the worst road you can find. If you live in one of those up market pothole-less neighborhoods, come over to Komamboga. Here, we don’t even have the tarmac for potholes. We have upturned caves in the middle of the road. The discomfort you’ll feel during that ride will leave you no room for misery. Ha. Jokes. A bruised butt has never been a way good of solving problems. Find something to distract you from the pointlessness of existence, preferably not a bullet to the head. Good luck.

Go hunting: Its grasshopper season isn’t it? Great! Take every grasshopper sighting as your cue to let the inner hunter/ huntress out. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of an important board meeting. Leave it to the P.R chick to explain your behavior to the client. Isn’t wolokoso P.R’s job description? Take the insect’s presence in the boardroom as a dare, a challenge. If it tries to jump away, jump with it. Keep your mind on the job and not on the likelihood that you’ll be dismissed/ demoted. Pretend not to remember anything when you next see your workmates.

If life is being insanely hurtful and uncomfortable, why not be a little bit unpredictable (not mad) back?

These are only half serious, obviously**, but if you continue smiling while you’re bleeding, glossing problems over by grinning like a drunken hyena and not taking time to acknowledge and deal with the ugliness of your situation, smiling will become just another way to wail and before you know it, you’ll go mad.

* To be fair, the message here is more “don’t wallow, move on, be strong and survive” than “smile like your cheeks have been possessed by demons.

**Totally serious