29 – The Tommy Rule

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Cindy: “I don’t know how you deal with your son Tommy. It must be so hard.”

Sandy: “Yes. Having a mentally ill son is certainly a challenge at times.” 

Cindy: “It must affect your own mental health. The constant hospitalizations, his refusal to have medical check-ups, his unwillingness to live anywhere but on a park bench, his alcohol and drug use, his being preyed on by strangers, the list is endless! And the way he speaks to his own mother! Such foul language, when all you’re trying to do is help him! How do you keep yourself sane?”

Sandy: “Well, I use the Tommy Rule.” 

Cindy: “The Tommy Rule? What’s that?”

Sandy: “I constantly remind myself that he lives in a fantasy world. A world with conspiracies swirling around him, unsafe apartments with poison gas secretly pumped into them by government agents, and crazy doctors who refuse to accept that he is perfectly sane.”

Cindy: “And that helps?”

Sandy: “Yes, because that world doesn’t exist. So, I don’t take it seriously. I take his illness seriously, but I don’t take his fantasies seriously.”

Cindy: “Hmm.. I wonder if that would work on my husband?”

Sandy: “Oh, it works great on husbands! Bosses, too. Co-workers, mother-in-laws, friends giving unwanted advice, lots of people!” 

Cindy: “Wow, I can’t wait to try it out!”

Sandy: “It helps to keep my own mind sane and balanced. So many people these days live in their own reality, which often has little to do with objective reality. By understanding this, I’ve learned not to take their opinions too seriously, so they don’t bother me anymore.”

Cindy: “Nice. But, how do you know what objective reality really is?”

Sandy: “Simple! That’s my reality.” 

Cindy: “Oh. But how do I know that your reality is objective?”

Sandy: “You don’t.” 

Cindy: “So, then what should I do?”

Sandy: “Simple. Just use the Tommy Rule on me. You’ll be much happier that way.” 

Cindy: “So, I should use the Tommy Rule on everybody?” 

Sandy: “Sure. Why not? At least use it on everyone who doesn’t agree with you. It keeps life much simpler. And less aggravating, too! No need to deal with other people’s realities. Just stick to your own. 

Cindy: “But isn’t that what Tommy does? He ignores everybody else’s reality and chooses his own?” 

Sandy: “Yes indeed.” 

Cindy: “So, there isn’t any real reality? Tommy’s view is just as good as anyone else’s? I dunno. It seems like something’s missing here. 

Sandy: “Nah. You’re overthinking it. Just keep it simple. Stick to your own reality and don’t worry about anybody else. Trust me, dear, you’ll be much happier that way. 

Cindy: “Well, I suppose you’re right. The Real Reality can be pretty stressful at times. Better to focus on my own, I guess.” 

Sandy: “That’s the spirit! Well, gotta go! Have a nice reality!” 

Cindy: “Thanks. You too!”

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