The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Gremlins

Fellow Mind Gremlins! Now, during the peak plaguing season, you may be wondering how to improve your professional skills. There is much doubt to sow, unease to rouse, and people to be kept needlessly awake. Follow these tips and you’re sure to succeed. Learn from your forebears!


1. 3 AM is party time.

  • At 10:30 in the morning, your person is getting ready for meetings or studying for their next class. It’s going to be hard to get their attention. 3 to 4:30, you have their undivided brain. Your person is asleep, relaxed, suggestible, and easy to tip over into despair. This is Gremlin Disco Time. Get them half awake and have at it! (Double points if you get them to wake their partner up for solace.)

2. Always carry a hammer.

  • The bigger your person‘s achievement, the thinner the glass it’s made out of. One good tap and suddenly the big publisher buying their manuscript that day is gone and they’re dwelling for an hour on how they once chipped a Hello Kitty mug their mother gave them.

3. Use success as a fulcrum.

  • When things are bad, your person is on guard and fighting to get better. But when things are good, their guard is down. Then it’s easy to tip them into a tailspin. And the higher they are, the farther they will fall. (Gremlins live for that little puff of dust when the coyote hits the desert floor!)

4. Use their natural cycles against them.

  • People – especially women people – have chemistry that varies on a fairly predictable basis for much of their lives. Watch for the right week. If they are already feeling like their face is puffy and their ankles are fat, you’re halfway to getting them to believe that nothing about their life is any good anyway.

5. Winter is the hap-happiest time of the year.

  • Gremlins do their best work in the dark. That back half of the year, between the equinoxes? Extra dark, extra opportunities for mayhem. And if your person has eaten half a box of holiday peppermint bark? See number 4.

6. Nothing’s right until everything’s wrong.

  • Sure, you could get them to obsess about whether they misspelled their client’s name in the day’s last email. But why waste a perfectly good gaslighting opportunity on little stuff? Go for their looks, their competence, their self-worth, their parents’ health, whether The Ellen Show is going to be renewed for another season. Never settle for the airline-bottle -sized despair when a Costco pallet is available.

7. Never acknowledge the truth.

  • Sure, some gremlins will get assigned to people who are smart, attractive, all kinds of competent. In fact, the more skilled a gremlin you are, the more likely it is you’ll get someone like that. If they took a moment to look at themselves objectively, they would realize that you are making all this bad stuff up. So don’t give them that opportunity. After all, if you can get them to deny everything that’s good about themselves, you can take the rest of the night off – your work is done! So lie, lie, lie — and watch them believe you.

Now go forth, fellow gremlins, and lead humanity to unsubstantiated despair!

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