INKSTER, MI–Pathetic local man Edwin Horton's hope of becoming slightly less pathetic came one step closer to reality Wednesday, in a way, depending on how you look at it, when the part-time mailroom clerk and fern enthusiast achieved his pathetic goal of coming up with one "positive daily affirmation of selfhood" for seven consecutive days.
The pathetic goal, Horton said, was achieved with the help of the "Tom Vanderbilt Personality Power For Growing, Learning & Living Your Dream" audiotape series, which he bought in May 1999.
"Thanks to the Tom Vanderbilt self-help system, I was able to gain the confidence I needed to conceptualize, concretize, and actualize my pathetic goal and live my dream for the future," the 32-year-old Horton said. "Thank you, Tom Vanderbilt. Because of you, I've sort of managed to make a tiny, tiny difference in my life."
Horton's seven pathetic positive self-affirmations included his ability to be a responsible provider of fish food for his three goldfish; his love of the TV program King Of Queens, which he "always manage[s] to make time for"; the fact that his ferns like him a lot; and the bravery he recently displayed when he was written up by his supervisor for "gross incompetence in completing the duties assigned to him" but didn't cry until he made it to the employee restroom, preserving his dignity.
Horton, who had been trying to reach the seven-day affirmation mark for nearly nine months, attributes his success to his refusal to give up.
"Sure, it was tough to do. I mean, I'm such a weak-willed, sad-sack, milquetoasty person that finding seven things I like about myself wasn't easy," Horton told reporters at a press conference in his fourth-floor walk-up efficiency. "About six months ago, I got as far as Wednesday before I ran out of ideas and was unable to continue. But I didn't let adversity stop me. Every time I met with failure, I kept trying. Finally, on the 34th try, I did it."
"Through sheer perseverance, I completed the pathetic task I set out to accomplish nine months ago," Horton said. "And now that I've done it, I can honestly say, at least in terms of this one specific aspect of my life, I actually do feel somewhat better about myself."
"Kind of," he added.
According to his coworkers in the mailroom of Andersen & Associates Actuarial, Horton has reached numerous pathetic goals since purchasing "Personality Power," beginning with the initial decision to spend $119.99 on the audiotape series itself.
"That took him about half a year," mailroom manager Bob Boyer said. "It wasn't that he didn't have the money to buy it. He was able to get that in a few months after his mom agreed to pay some of his rent. The major hurdle was convincing himself that he could stick to such a program, which, for a long time, because of his self-doubt, he was unable to do."
Among the other pathetic goals Horton has reached since buying "Personality Power": working three four-hour shifts a week instead of two; acquiring a miniature refrigerator and hot plate, enabling him to store and heat food in his own room instead of "having to walk all the way downstairs to where the communal kitchen for the building is"; and deciding to limit his pornography rentals to just two per week.
Having reached his pathetic goal, Horton says he is not content to rest on his laurels.
"I'm now at the point where something Tom Vanderbilt calls 'The Big Momentum' is about to kick in, and I start building on my past successes," Horton said. "My next pathetic goal is to force myself, no matter how depressed or listless I may feel, to tackle the pathetically huge pile of laundry that's been accumulating in my room for months now. I'm giving myself one month to get it done. After that, my next goal will be to get some sort of shelf or something to put the clean clothes on instead of just piling them next to my mattress like I've always done."
"After all," Horton continued, "if I don't have clothes that are presentable, I send a 'Not-Okay' Personality Impression Message to those I meet throughout my day, rather than a 'Maximum Power' Personality Impression Message that lets others see the dynamic, confident, power personality I truly am. Inside, I mean. Under the pathetic shell of a man I am on the outside."
"Or, rather, that I eventually would like to be," he added. "Hopefully. Someday."