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This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in hard to say (154)

Wednesday
Mar222017

In Which There Are A Variety Of Simple Ways To Fly

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

At the company I work for, new employees are brought into the flow in groups. My group had a lot of people around the same age and we all bonded and became friends quickly. (My company allows relationships in the workforce as long as they two people aren't in the same section.) In those early months I became close to Becca and we started to go out. After around a year, we decided to break up.

Recently Becca has started dating another employee who I work closely with. I have tried not to let this bother me but I think my true feelings are starting to show. In the end, it seems difficult to see her every day and I feel that I have not really gotten over the relationship even though I pretend otherwise. Do you have solutions to this issue?

Craig A.

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Dear Craig,

The idea of someone we were with being with someone else is always a traumatic situation. When Becca's new relationship turns into a steaming pile of garbage, you will perhaps be somewhat reassured, but the pain will never fully go away. That fact that Becca is moving on in front of you is what John Ashbery termed a blessing in disguise.

Moving on is difficult, but until you have accomplished that long term goal, there are some things you can do to alleviate this present pain. Conventional wisdom would have it that the less you know about the situation the better, but considering your circumstances, that is never going to be possible. Take things in the entirely opposite direction: be incredibly supportive of your co-worker's relationship and try to establish a friendship with Becca, if possible. This will take the edge off until the pain eventually just fades away.

Hey,

Lately I find that I am really quick to anger. When passengers were very slow to disembark a recent plane I was on, I felt myself wanting to lash out at them. This is balanced against a deep desire not to enter into open conflict with others, especially strangers I do not know.

I'm starting to think that there must be something wrong with me, to be made so angry but such routine and common frustrations.

Jackie R.

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Dear Jackie,

Such anger feels like the fancy of a negative moment, but it is in reality a product of prolonged frustration, bubbling to the surface. If you travel a lot, you can see how people let off their frustrations in various ways. Recently, I watched a man who missed his flight throw a temper tantrum by stomping and crying in front of the flight agent. A security guard covertly approached from the rear, sensing that a further breakdown was perhaps in the making. Eventually the guy settled down - his feelings were completely out of his system, and he had moved on to the next way he made other people's lives as unhappy as his own.

I am not saying you should throw a tantrum, but it is important to let people know if they have annoyed you in a specific way. You might as well start becoming the kind of person who frequently tells other people how the world should be, and it is better that you make this change in the company of people who you will never see again in your life rather than your close friends and relatives.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

Wednesday
Mar152017

In Which We Appear Every Wednesday In Our Hearts

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

In three months, I will be getting married to a woman I truly believe is the love of my life. As we have planned the wedding, I have been gripped by the desire to tell my fiancee about a weekend I cheated on her when she was on vacation with her family.

This mistake happened about eight months in our relationship. An ex-girlfriend named Delia was in town and we slept together one night. Delia and I have talked since, but only as friends.

I hate the idea that I would be going into the rest of my life without being completely honest with the woman who will be my wife. What should I do?

Omar B.

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Dear Omar,

I honestly can't think of a worse idea, but as with all situations, I try and see the other side of things. There is the possibility you will be forgiven for your behavior, but what is the point of ruining this poor woman's big day?

Perhaps on some level you wish to sabotage your wedding and your life. Many people believe that they do not really deserve happiness, and work to those ends in order to prevent themselves from achieving their desires. Having suffered sufficiently, you will no doubt have to attempt to gain some other woman's trust by behaving better.

Why not just have this with the woman who already wants to be your wife? One mistake is no big deal. We have all done something we regret. Making a habit out of it is the true sin, and maybe you wanted to stray once to see that it really isn't as much fun as it looks.

Hey,

I am in a bit of a precarious situation and I'm looking for a way out. I know that I should not have done a lot of this, but I am trying to make the best of what I do have.

I developed an online relationship with a guy who I will call Terence. I think at first I just liked the attention, and then our connection grew. At the same time, I was dating, but not very seriously, a guy named Gary who lives in my small city. We were not exclusive but I never told him about Terence still neither relationship was exclusive in my eyes.

Well, Terence is moving here and I want to pursue this relationship. We have met once in real life and I think there is a strong possibility he's the one. I wasn't sure this would ever happen, so I did not think of how Gary would take this.

I need to get Gary out of the picture, but I know if he finds out the real story he will be very angry and try to sabotage what I have with Terence. Also, I would prefer if Terence did not know about my relationship with Gary, but I can accept I may have to tell one of them more of the truth to make this work. What is my best course of action?

Sandra R.

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Dear Sandra,

I believe a similar situation occurred in a little book I like to call The Bible. As I recall, everyone died at the end of this sordid tale. We would not want this to happen to you, since you are the rare kind of person who can make two men happy without basically even trying.

Fortunately, there seems to be a variety of simple ways out here. You should tell Terence a heavily edited version of the truth, since he will most certainly find out something. Leave out the parts with penetration. After all, you did nothing really wrong here.

In order to confuse Gary as much as possible before he suddenly starts seeing you around with another men, find something you can identify in his behavior that you can use to make him ashamed of contacting you again. If he thinks you are the villain, he is probably going to want to broadcast it. You want to make him at least equally culpable in what is sure to be a difficult breakup. Wait for him to say something slightly inflammatory and then blow it up out of proportion. If he tries to apologize, advise him that your therapist told you it is best you not talk for awhile.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

Wednesday
Mar082017

In Which There Might Be A Simpler Explanation

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

My husband Grant and I have done a lot to help his brother, who I will call Martin. Grant deeply loves his brother, and is very forgiving of his flaws. In the past few years, he has given him money, a place to stay, enrolled him in a drug program and organized an intervention. Martin pretends to want to change his ways, but I have never felt him to be really sincere in those statements.

At some point tough love has to enter the picture. I worry for Grant regarding how much his brother's situation weighs on him and I believe it affects him negatively at work and home. I don't want to say this outright, but I think he would be a lot better off if this problem did not exist.

I would hate to be the cause of a falling out between the two of them, so I have come to you. Is there any way to accomplish my goal without being seen as the bad guy?

Tina G.

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Dear Tina,

Usually momentum propels any destructive relationship to become more destructive over time. It's kind of how my allergy to pollen is currently a hot nightmare, whereas when I was a kid it was no big deal. In all likelihood, your husband will eventually discover the truth about his brother, or Martin will die of an overdose.

Since the latter outcome does not seem entirely a worst case scenario from your perspective, a darker advice column would sanguinely have you introduce Martin to the theoretical work of Zoe Lund. Then again, there is no guarantee you could beat a manslaughter rap after that, and crime doesn't pay.

It is best practice to preserve all the lives you can. Martin does not want to reform himself, and until he does, Grant will be no use to him. This important moral distinction has been reflected in a number of cinematic endeavors. As I recall, Requiem for a Dream did not end well onscreen or in real life. Permanent Midnight was also decent in this regard.

Hey,

Lately my boyfriend Roy spends a lot of time in front of the television. He did not used to be this sedentary. I worry that this behavior is bad for his health. He says that when he comes from work, he does have the energy to go out. We used to be more social, and we also used to do various cultural things just the two of us. Now it seems like all he is interested in is marathoning some new TV show.

Is there any way to change these habits?

Angela R.

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Dear Angela,

Your boyfriend Roy was probably waiting to spring this on you for awhile. His subconscious (or perhaps even conscious plan) was to wait until you believed you were on the verge of the life you wanted for yourself, and then force you into accepting a substantially worse existence through episode after episode of Person of Interest.

By all rights Roy should be in jail for what he has done, and in fact, he is in jail. This prison is of his own making, and involves a substantial amount of Sarah Shahi.

Some people never get addicted to behaviors of any kind, and others fiercely hold to their routines. You may want to consider the possibility that there is something wrong health-wise with Roy, and this is his way of managing his condition. There is still an outside possibility Roy is not a lazy bum.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

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