- Ask your friend how they're feeling.
- Ask them if they've tried exercising. Remind them how important endorphins are and that getting up and moving around can make a big difference.
- Ask them if they've tried that pencil trick to help them smile their way out of sadness. Put a pencil in their mouth and say, “See? When you smile, the muscles send a message to your brain so it thinks you're happy.”
- Ask if they've tried laughing, as it's the best medicine. Don't choke on that pencil, though!
- Ask your friend if they've thought about taking a vacation. If they say that travel is too expensive, suggest they look into changing jobs or creating a time machine that sends them back to college where they can switch their major from American Studies to something more lucrative, like Business. Then they can enter into a higher-paying profession right away after graduation.
- Ask if they've tried faking it 'til they make it. Kind of like the pencil trick! Press five more №2 pencils into their mouth. Tell them they need to use authentic, wooden, №2 pencils because mechanical pencils or pens or, god forbid, kebab skewers, are shaped differently and won't work the muscles that teach the brain that it's actually really, very, happy.
- Ask them if they've looked into therapy. Remind them that if they made more money, they would be able to afford both therapy and that vacation you mentioned earlier.
- Ask if they've tried cleaning their room. Suggest that they might find solace in Marie Kondo-ing their life. No more stuff equals no more sadness!
- Ask if they discovered any more writing utensils while tidying up. Shove them in their mouth. Really get them down their throat. Follow up by asking if they can feel the muscles transmitting happiness to their brain. If they don't reply, try asking louder, and maybe get closer to their face. Say, “Can you feel it? I bet you can feel it. Sometimes all it takes is a pencil and a smile!”
- Ask them if they're choking on one of those pesky pencils. Fail to properly give them the Heimlich and rush them to the hospital where your friend will undergo emergency surgery to remove the writing utensils from their digestive tract. While you wait, call your friend's mother, explain what happened, and comfort her while her distant sobs sneak through the open spaces in your own emotional picket fence. Come back into your friend's room. Watch the heart monitor, or what you think is the heart monitor, and put your head in your hands. See your friend's eyes flicker open. Watch them take in their surroundings: the fluorescent lighting, the tubes coming in and out of their body, and you, their loyal and concerned friend, sitting helplessly in the corner. Slowly emerge from the uncomfortable hospital chair and, hand on heart, whisper, “I was so worried.” Stand by the side of the bed and remind your friend how our time on earth is fleeting, and how it's on us - all of us - to grab life by the proverbial horns and make our own happiness. Ask your friend how they're feeling. Ask them if they've tried exercising.