Tom Chapter 4— Tragedy Turned Comedy

“Comedy is tragedy plus timing. Your life is a tragedy. Just add some timing, and you’ll turn it into a comedy. Trust me, girls like funny guys.”

It had been 6 months and this piece of advice from Tom’s alter-ego (or whatever the heck it was) kept ringing in his head. This “other Tom” was bizarre because he didn’t seem like a different person than Tom. It felt like he was Tom.

At times, he internalized with Tom as if they were two sides of the same coin. He didn’t say anything to give that away, but that’s how it felt. Other times, he had a strong, confident, omniscient, calm, sassy, knowing, yet humble personality that was far different from timid Tom’s.

Since he was a child, Tom had been hoping for some supernatural miracle to come down and help him through his life. Part of him was kind of disappointed that it actually happened because he partially wanted to succeed on his own. But part of him was really excited to learn how to improve from Tom 2.0.

Sometimes, Tom 2.0 would disappear when Tom needed him most. Other times, when Tom least expected it, he would pop up as a voice in his head. His discerning personality pierced through with occasional advice or just commentary.

The last 6 months felt like ages to Tom and at this point, he had gotten used to this bizarre phenomenon. He didn’t consult a psychiatrist. It was just too amazing for it to be some mental illness. This guy was helping him out a lot.

For example, he finally started going to the gym consistently, pushing himself, watching his nutrition, and seeing results. Tom had the building blocks already, since he had spent hundreds of hours watching free fitness advice online. But T2 (that’s what we’ll call him from now on) acted like a guiding coach, giving him small nudges and tactics to move towards the next step.

One thing T2 told him was to just start small. He was getting too overwhelmed with trying to commit to a massive gym routine from nothing. It intimidated him from starting. Rather, start with a small daily goal of 5 minutes at the gym.

For his career, T2 told him that he had to drop his drive for promotions, raises, or money. He could get that eventually, but he had to focus on learning, growth, and developing the skills to drive greater results. He was too young to be expecting too much. And that’s what Tom did.

As for what Tom cared about most, his dating life, it was plodding along, like a tragedy. Tom had gone on a few more dates with Helga, which was a time sink because it took him 45 minutes to drive to her and back (she lived fairly far away).

He always tried to keep an upbeat mood while around her, but he kept seeing her as a friend more than as a lover. She was a portly girl who was quite lovely and warm deep down past her stern exterior. Tom, like it or not, admitted that he was superficial. He cared about looks.

One of the dates went fairly well. They ate weird, new Japanese food together for the first time.

Another date went poorly. Helga wanted to hunt deer, but Tom had never shot a rifle before (or a gun for that matter). He tried to be tough the whole time driving to the farm, but was relieved to death when they told them it was closed when they arrived. The traffic had delayed them too long.

When Tom needed help most, which was usually in the dating realm, T2 was not there to give advice. Sometimes, he would appear just to give a snide remark about the situation, but that didn’t even occur when he was on dates.

It had been a couple weeks since he had last seen Helga when T2 made his appearance again. He made the remark about his life being a tragedy and it rung in Tom’s head for next few days. When Tom thought about it, those words revealed a lot.

It showed that T2 knew a lot about Tom’s life. He knew about his whole childhood of tragedy, from the bullying to being left out to working really hard in school yet still getting poor grades. Yep, that’s right, T2 chimed in right after he finished the thought.

T2 was right there in his mind listening to his thoughts.

You need to have a better attitude. Look at things from a humorous perspective. You tried so hard in school and still failed. That’s hilarious. Life is humor. Laugh a little. It lightens the mood and makes you happier!, T2 said.

“I guess you’re right,” Tom said. Tom tried to laugh at the fact that his life had been a hilarious goonfest. He partially succeeded in making himself laugh.

For the last few weeks, Tom had been taking a different approach with dating. He called it the “relax” approach. He was fed up with getting no responses on online dating. He was fed up with approaching women and getting turned down, even if politely.

He decided to just go to social events that improved himself, like fitness classes. He would not go out of his way to talk to any of the girls there. He would just be there for the fun of the classes. His idea was that he could improve himself in the process by becoming more attract, and at the same time, maybe meet a girl. That way, the girl wouldn’t have the icky feeling of being hit on.

Tom’s reasoning was that girl’s were hit on too often, and if he could just be the cool guy there, he would slip under the radar with her defenses down. There would be no attempts to get with her whatsoever.

This was Tom’s idea because T2 did not show up to help even when Tom asked.

While Tom’s idea was good in theory, in practice, things turned out differently … at least so far.

Most of the people in Tom’s classes were men, which already cut down the chances he’d see a girl. Then, Tom was super shy in the class. He didn’t speak unless spoken to. Initially, Tom reacted against this, but then, he remembered his commitment to just be there to learn about fitness. He reasoned that girls can talk to him if they wanted to.

Maybe the girls were shy too or found him invisible (probably both), because Tom rarely spoke to any girls, despite going to dozens of different types of fitness classes. If he did speak to them, it would be a quick exchange or question answered.

Nonetheless, he was progressing with his fitness and he did make a couple guy friends.

T2 was nowhere to be seen in Tom’s mind when these dilemmas came up, so Tom had to make use of what he had and keep reading his motivational self-help books.

Like what you read? Give Will Chou a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.