Welcome to the ‘Competitive Hardship’ Exercise
This is open to absolutely everyone, so please join in.
I’m sure most people have an acquaintance that tends to get a little competitive about any personal illness or injury that you tell them about. You know the type: you mention your headache and they’ll tell you about their migraine which turned into a borderline aneurysm resulting in a three month hospitalisation; or perhaps you stub your toe and they’ll tell you about the time their foot fell off while in a pedalo five miles out to sea. Don’t have one of those friends? Well perhaps you should consider that the competitive illness person is, in fact, you; and if this is the case it makes you the perfect candidate to join in with this exercise!
Competitive hardship is very similar to competitive illness; it not only covers health problems but also living conditions and day to day life. This exercise is all about one-upmanship and trying to make your own story about childhood hardship sound more awful than everyone else’s.
The guidelines are very simple.
- I will start us off below with a description of how things were tough in ‘my’ fictional childhood.
- Based on the previous post(s) write a chapter describing how much worse your own fictional experience was. Tell the other authors that what they went through was nothing compared to your experience.
- You are encouraged to exaggerate, to be very silly, use your imagination, make mountains out of mole hills, develop hypochondria and go to any lengths to ensure that the hardship described in your chapter thoroughly trounces anything anyone else has written.
- You are allowed to (politely) belittle other writer’s chapters: tell them how their hardship was luxurious compared to what you went through, how you dreamed of living in their circumstances.
- If you need any more inspiration check out the wonderful ‘Four Yorkshire men’ skit.
- I will label this as mature just in case anyone wants to go down that route.
When I was a kid, things were tough.
We had nothing back then, nothing at all, used to live in a tiny house with all three of us children in one bedroom, the heating was only switched on once a week so in the winter we had to break the ice in the toilet every morning and be careful that we didn’t get stuck to the frozen seat.
We had to get up at 6.30 everyday and walk half a mile to school, in the snow. The teachers were strict and if we misbehaved they would put us in detention, where we had to scrub the school floors with toothbrushes and scrape the chewing gum from under the desks with just our fingernails. For lunch we would have a slice of bread and if we were lucky a raw potato.
When we got home we had to do two hours of homework before doing our chores. We rarely got to bed before midnight. We didn’t have a TV and the only toys we had were a half a brick and a dead woodlouse named Susan.
Yes, things were tough when I was young. Kids these days don’t know how lucky they’ve got it!