Perpetual Disappointments Diary

Nick Asbury, Chronicle Books.

Perpetual Disappointments Diary

When the initially self-published “Disappointments Diary” went on sale in the U.K., it was promoted via a minute-long YouTube video that featured the gloom-and-doom Morrissey hit, “Every Day is Like Sunday.” If the same video had been produced in the U.S., the author might have chosen the Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There for You” (Theme from Friends). 

Recall the first verse: 

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, you’re love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year

Well, if you don’t anticipate this year—or any particular year—being kind to you, get yourself a copy of the “Perpetual Disappointments Diary” (Chronicle Books), an amusingly depressing diary and engagement calendar for folks who are half-expecting to experience a lot of dreary days filled with disappointment.       

The tone is set early on, with diary entries that prompt answers to questions like:
“Which parts of your body are you most uncomfortable with?”
“Do you ever wonder what people think of your speaking voice?”
“Why do dogs look at you like that?” 

Naturally, the author expects the book’s buyers to dwell on the negative, which explains why most of the space for self-reflection is reserved for “weaknesses” and “threats,” with just a few lines available to highlight strengths and opportunities. 

As for the calendar pages, most entries recall a notable celebrity death, and each week features a demotivational phrase like, “a friend is just a stranger you haven’t fallen out with yet.” 

The author doesn’t anticipate much hope for the future, either. The “next year planner” is subtitled “the gaping void ahead.” 

There’s also a section for “people who never call” and “people who owe you money,” as well as space for making notes about the novel (or screenplay) you plan to write, the next boring blog post you will write, and all the ideas you’ll never follow up on. Of course, plenty of space is provided for pointless doodles.  

Naturally, the “Perpetual Disappointments Diary” also assumes a certain amount of misfortune is coming the buyer’s way, hence the reference guide that features translations (English to French, Spanish, German and Mandarin) of phrases like “I have lost my passport,” “I do not have health insurance,” and “Do you have any very cheap wine?” 

Last but not least, it should be noted that the last page of the book includes a year’s worth of “Monday” stickers. For the owner of the “Perpetual Disappointments Diary,” every day is like a Monday.

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