Originally published on McSweeney’s (July 2018)
A 36-year-old woman was admitted to the emergency room this afternoon after several attempts at an “effortless lifestyle.” Symptoms include exhaustion, depletion of savings, paranoia, and inadequate space to store cosmetics.
Patient reports attempting effortless lifestyle after a friend of friend claimed she was heading to Tuscany for two weeks with “four simple essentials,” one of which included a sundress that converted to a tablecloth for “last minute picnics near Lucignano d’Arbia.” Patient reported initiating her effortless lifestyle with classic gateway forays — using only tinted moisturizer and Vaseline to look fresh, rested, and ready for anything, then “throwing together” an impromptu eleven-person dinner party featuring a charming éclade de moules, followed by champagne sorbet in mismatched gold leaf goblets from her fiancé’s grandmother. “I shopped for all the ingredients at the Farmer’s Market on the way home from work, then showered, jumped into a paisley caftan and entertained until 3 AM without ever going to the bathroom. It was all soooo easy.”
Discussion of disease
Effortless Lifestyle Syndrome was first reported in the early 2000s and reached epidemic proportions a few years later with spikes in New York, Los Angeles, London and affluent suburbs where there is more than one Michael’s craft store within a 15-mile radius. The disease is highly contagious. The best-known vectors are websites that create biweekly content such as “Contour While You Drive” or “Breastfeeding and Barbequing,” any magazine cover featuring Gigi Hadid on the beach with a puppy or people without umbrellas laughing during a rainstorm. Earliest reported cases usually involve Facetuned selfies: #smiledduringsurgery, #lost13poundsin13minutes.
The prognosis is poor in this case since patient states she is planning on renovating her kitchen overnight using only a coconut shell, six empty bottles of Pellegrino and a Shenzhen Nongke orchid she grew in her garden. “I cultivate rare plants at night after my six-simple-moves-for-the-perfect-butt workout.”
A full-time job, needy friends, a dirty bathroom.
The patient returned for evaluation and is doing well. She reports considerable relief after complaining to her friends about the need to touch up her gray roots every six weeks and then doing nothing about it. She also says that she feels absolutely no shame in taking seven to eight hours to order a cappuccino or respond to a text.