Note: This is part 2 of a series in which someone gets too successful. The stories are fictitious, but possibly prophetic. Proceed with caution.
Note 2: In reality, Cathy is actually a very sweet person. Her smiles are mostly genuine.
Cathy is young. But Cathy isn’t happy. Cathy goes through her life everyday, pretending to smile, just like the picture.
Cathy thinks that when she graduates high school, all the annoying idiots around her are gonna evaporate. Everyone after high school is mature and thoughtful, at least in Cathy’s mind. She can stop being mad at the world, and just be successful and run a small coffee shop like she’s always wanted to, making short films as a side hobby. She thinks wealth is in your heart, not your wallet. Cathy doesn’t want money; she just wants “to live, man”.
Cathy graduates high school, and she’s away from the idiots. She goes through college, and gets a BA in business and even studies some film making along the way. Cathy is ready to live.
It starts off well. For the first 5 years of Cathy’s life away from dumb teenagers, restrictive religious parents, and deadlines, she’s flourishing. Her coffee shop is artsy and smells amazing. It attracts every brain-dead hipster in north Hollywood. It’s right down the street from the MET theater, so the aforementioned hipsters can revel in some sacrilegious work of art and then inhale Cathy’s wonderful coffee (that is the name of the shop, after all). The coffee shop appears on some useless Buzzfeed facebook video where they use the word “adulting” approximately 43 times. Guy Fieri even stops by and declares Cathy the ambassador of coffee making flavor town. Cathy is really proud of herself.
Her short films are doing really well too. Vimeo’s hand-picked favorites curated by the staff feature one of Cathy’s films every single time they’re available. It’s something in the way she captures the ambivalence of the scenery or some crap like that. She even parties with Johnny Bernardin sometimes, who you may remember from last week’s installment of “The Bends”. As you can tell, Cathy has The Bends.
Everything she touches turns to gold. But in this success, Cathy notices she isn’t satisfied despite all of her accomplishments. Her wealth goes beyond what she ever imagined for herself. She has all these friends that constantly tell her what a great person she is. She makes the best coffee this side of whatever. But something is missing. The Bends is in full force. Its high school all over again; idiots surrounding her and restrictions on what she can do for others’ approval. In this case, the hipsters that drink her coffee. Thankfully for her, the end of this Trompe L’Oeil is near.
Alone on an airplane to one of her trips to New York (for artistic inspiration), falling asleep against the window pane, Cathy looks down plain expanse of Kansas, and begins to scream. She looks at nothing below her and screams. The screaming continues until a flight attendant calms her down, and sedates her to sleep. This is the end.
A shocking revelation is made about Cathy’s Wonderful Coffee; Cathy uses 100% organic arabica coffee beans, instead of the 100% organic armenian coffee beans which cost $1000 more to import and would surely make any business owner bankrupt, but are much better for your dihydrogen monoxide levels (that’s what Buzzeed says anyway). An uproar is raised in North Hollywood.
Cathy’s shop is ransacked by peace-loving coffee nuts, leaving everything unusable. The tables are smashed, the bean grinders clogged. They even burned Cathy’s arabica beans and certificate of business in a bonfire, which was symbolic for something.
Even before that, Cathy started to use a slightly different film style in her movies in an attempt to shake things up. This prompted movie experts to declare her a “sell-out” who “completely disrespects the art in which she abuses”. Couple this tragedy with the destruction of her coffee shop, and Cathy is broken.
She is forced to move back in with her parents at the age of 27. She’s back where she was 10 years before. Surrounded by idiots and restrictions, Cathy has never pretended to smile so much.