by R.M. Baker
Have a friend who tries to help but just makes things worse? This is for you!
|Homer Simpson Syndrome and You:
A Rant by R.M. Baker
Everyone has that one friend. You know, the one you’ve been friends with for years, the one you tell everything to. The one who always “means well”, but always ends up screwing you over in her efforts to help you have your proverbial cake and eat it, too. Yup, you know exactly who I’m talking about because you know her, and most likely love her to death. She’s the one who borrowed your favourite sweater eight months ago and hasn’t given it back. Those new shoes you lent her to wear to her cousin’s wedding came back with vomit and chardonnay on them, didn’t they? Of course they did. And yet, you’d lend her your favourite Minolo-Blohniks the next week without a second thought. Why? Because that time in grade eight when you got dumped with a typed letter, she was there to comfort you. Because when your dog hot hit by the Lexus that time in college she sat with you for four consecutive nights as you cried yourself to sleep. Because when you went drinking on prom night she loved you enough to hold back your hair and dress as you projectile-vomited about nine bottles worth of Molson into the hotel bathroom toilet. That’s right. You owe her. Hugely. Thing is, she owes you, too. You were there when her high school boyfriend came out of the closet—while still dating her. When her crazy ex was giving her threatening phone calls in the dead of night, you showed up on his doorstep the next morning with a baseball bat and a horrible urge to maim, didn’t you? Well, obviously you did, because if you didn’t, she wouldn’t feel indebted enough to you to try and “help” you out wherever she could, and I use that term loosely. Very loosely.
These friends will stop at nothing to pay you back for the years of kindness, even if it kills them, and possibly, a busload of nuns.
These friends are the people who want so desperately to see you happy, they would enslave a legion of penguins if they thought it would somehow help their cause.
Problem is, they’re not good at what they do. Knowing them, the nuns they killed would probably be from the church of Satan and their spirits would plague you until your day of death. Exorcisms are not cheap, nor are the therapy sessions that are almost always necessary afterward. The penguins they captured would turn feral and carnivorous and begin consuming human flesh. Fun FOX special, but the trauma associated with a penguin attack can’t be easily sustained.
You’ve probably had trouble classifying this type of friend. “Back-stabbing” is not a good term, because any harm the penguins might have done to your soft tissue was completely unintentional. Besides, knowing her, she’d probably be at your bedside in the hospital feeding you jell-o until your throat wounds healed over, making you indebted to her again. She unleashes penguins and suddenly you owe her. Funny how she does that. She’s certainly not a “bad friend” either, because for every one bride of Lucifer that haunts your dreams she’s done like… twenty nice things for you. She’s just… counterproductive sometimes.
There’s a reason she’s so hard to classify. The sad truth of it is, this is not a personality trait, or a psychological tendency. It is a disease. A horrible, crippling, debilitating disease. Your friend is not dumb—Well, she might be, but she also has Homer Simpson Syndrome: The cause of all of your friend’s failed attempts at making your life better.
HSS is a chronic and lifelong disease that affects a huge number of women aged 12 and over. Named after the cartoony, well-meaning idiot Homer Simpson, this illness attacks the impulse zone of a woman’s brain, causing them to do things that most people would label “stupid” or “indescribably idiotic” in order to further a friend’s love or social life. Sufferers of HSS often do not understand the extent to which their actions completely screw up their friend’s lives. Unfortunately, HSS is often misdiagnosed as DBD—Dumb Blonde Disease, and is therefore left untreated. Sad, really. There is no cure for Homer Simpson Syndrome. That fact is usually more upsetting to the friend than the actual victim.
Now that you know that the time she called the guy you finally had a date with and re-asked him out for you, making an idiot out of you was really just a disease of the brain, don’t you feel better? Me either. Unfortunately, another symptom of HSS is an endearing personality and the ability to be a wonderful friend—between the sudden bouts of stupidity, of course—thus, attaching you emotionally to the friend in question. This is actually a bodily defence mechanism against the disease. You need to be pretty nice to be that horribly clueless. But of course, you probably knew that loving this person was not a conscious act. That would be stupid.
Remember, you are not alone. I was serious when I said everyone has that one friend. Studies have proven it. I have one. Her name is Laura. She’s gotten me turned down more times than a bedsheet. She meant well though. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway…
But what if you’ve been reading this article and cannot think of a friend who acts in this manner? Simply ask yourself the following questions:
• Do you often wonder why the people around you are swearing, spitting and physically attacking you?
• Have you noticed that your close friend’s lives have been in a downward spiral since you’ve met them?
• When you tell your friends you are going to do something nice for them, do they smile weakly, cry or have seizures?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, you have HSS. My condolences. Now please. Get away from me.