Thursday, October 15, 2015

How to Get Away With Fainting

6:47 AM

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A tried-and-tested method that will get you out of almost anything, including that dreaded morning assembly.

There is a way of getting people to let you sit out from communal suffering – be it particularly sadistic drills or hellish assemblies under an unforgiving sun. It is underhanded and shameless, an art of studenthood that senpais don’t bother passing down to their kouhais. It is an instinct, born from desperation and oppression, that emerges and is perfected through practice and reinvention.

This is the ultimate weapon of the ultimate showdown to determine your ultimate (immediate) future. This is Ariadne’s thread out of the labyrinth created by the Institution Willing You to Suffer as a Collective. This is the oldest and dirtiest trick in the most ancient book you can think of.

It is the art of pretending to faint. Or pretending to be on the verge of it, anyway.

The mark of a master is one where there appears to be no mark present. Knowledge is very much power in busting out of figurative prison: the big word for fainting is syncope (say it with me: SING-kuh-pee), which literally means “to cut off.” In this case, the thing being cut off is the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Fainting doesn’t typically happen at the drop of a hat, so you shouldn’t just drop in the middle of your ain’t-nobody-got-time-for-that scenario.

The lead-up to your dramatic exit is far more important than the drop. Because your brain supposedly isn’t getting enough oxygen, you’re supposed to be feeling very lightheaded. Some people go very pale, their skin becoming clammy, as the dizziness hikes to a full-blown nausea.

Light can suddenly become blindingly bright and noises can fade into the background, just like in a particularly intense psychological thriller. It’s like you’ve lost all your strength and control over yourself before everything goes black.

If you do actually feel any of that, then you’d best skip pretending and just haul ass. Take care of yourself. Jeez. Real fainting can be caused by a huge number of Not Good things, including fear and trauma, stress, severe pain, or a sudden drop in blood pressure.

You can also get yourself like this by going too long without eating or drinking anything, exerting yourself too much in the heat, or just standing around in the same position for too long. Even standing up too quickly or coughing too hard and too much can cause you to black out.

This isn’t even to mention fainting from things like gastrointestinal problems, seizures, and medications. Some people can faint from simply turning their head to the side because the bones in their neck pinch a blood vessel.

But if you’re going for the grand rouse, you work at it like a good horror movie: freak people out slowly. Squinting is a good start, or just particularly quick or slow blinks. From there, you can start closing your eyes tightly, massaging your temples – turn yourself away, sway a little or stagger: you want to subtly attract attention and tell people you’re not okay without actually telling people you’re not okay.

Breathing is the clincher that determines whether or not anyone will believe you. You can go the hyperventilation route (quick, shallow breaths) or the inhale-all-oxygen-in-the-universe route (slow, deep breaths). What makes it all convincing, however, are (a) the subtle rise in volume and (b) the shakiness of the sound.

If your companions are indeed good people possessing human compassion, seeing someone act like this should be enough to get them to at least ask if you’re okay and see if you want to sit down for a minute, regardless of whether or not you might actually be faking it. The risk of you being serious isn’t something that can be ignored.

The rookie mistake is to ask to be excused right away. You continue developing an environment of genuine (terror) concern by continuing as before, moving sluggishly. You’ll be called stubborn, and it increases the likelihood of a friend telling another friend, going down a chain until the eventual combo breaker: a teacher or authority who most definitely will not take no for an answer and send you on your way.

If that doesn’t happen, go for the crumble: hunch over, lean heavily on a wall, or do the classic oh-god-everything-hurts upright fetal position squat.

If you must go for the collapse (like the overkill ham you are), mind your head. Don’t want to fake unconsciousness by actually knocking yourself out and giving yourself a concussion. The best way to keep safe is to have your knees buckle and go where gravity takes you along your side, so a cushioning arm is a little less questionable.

When you’re “out,” stay limp and don’t stay out for too long. Fainting spells last between a few seconds to a few minutes – and when folks who’ve actually passed out come to, they normally don’t remember it happening. Stay under too long, and you’ll be sent to an emergency room.

Pretending to faint more than once a month is also a no-no – not only do you miss out on building ~friendship~ by suffering with your comrades, but you also draw suspicion to yourself as either a serial escapee or someone with a serious condition. Said conditions can include heart disease, diabetes, anxiety or panic attacks, chronic lung disease, and other scary things.

And that’s how you safely end up in the beautiful air-conditioned realm of the clinic, either lying on a bed with your feet slightly elevated or sitting with your head between your knees. Your shirt collar should be loosened and a cup of cold water should be nearby. The free candy is optional.

Ah, the temporary good life.

Article by PaCho
Art by Brin
PaCho is the nickname of a full-time fangirl who wants an infinite amount of money with which to travel the world and buy merchandise. This girl is currently amassing the skills to achieve these goals, and collecting stories and perspectives along the way (to consequently be the best that no one ever was) at a university. She will smile in satisfaction at the fall of the patriarchy and Western domination of international affairs. She is only half-joking about this (which means that she's completely serious).
Brin is a writer/illustrator who enjoys listening to piano covers of video game music and reciting spoken word poetry in her bedroom. Greatly influenced by Sir Ken Robinson and a few wunderkinds, she enjoys intellectual conversations and people would commonly mistake her as a 19-year old. She loves sans serif and art that has a strong aesthetic appeal. She runs a WordPress blog: and is a huge Jane Austen fan.


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