You Are Worthless is a dark little book in the vein of Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts, Matt Groening's Life in Hell and, within the Dikkers landscape, raw Onion lectures on stain removal and marital health. Writing as Dr. Oswald T. Pratt ("best-selling author of Just Give Up!"), a sad-sack psychiatrist who sends every patient he sees into fits of further despair, Dikkers takes everything that Hallmark holds dear -- love, family, work, friendship, self-esteem, spirituality, pets -- and efficiently uglifies it.
But the advice (presented in boilerplate self-help format with large type, italics and curlicues) comes in several flavors. Some of the dictums are pure elementary-school meanness: "You're fat." "Nobody likes you." Others tend toward the preachy: "Our world is nothing but 95 percent poverty-stricken, bloated-stomached babies and 5 percent money-grubbing pricks. In your lifetime, you've only met people from the latter category." Many more would scorch the glaze off Kathie Lee Gifford: "Mask the pain with drugs." "Let's sit down and actually count the genuine, true friends you have. It's not that many, is it?" "Oh, except Jesus. He's your friend. Why don't you call him and see if he wants to hang out?"
Many of Dr. Pratt's nuggets are sick in the best way -- but you need to start off in a pretty good mood to chew the harsher ones without wincing. If you rush, you'll miss out on the bizarre, the paranoid and the wonderful: "When they try to give you pills, fight them with all your strength." "If your cat were just a little bit bigger, it would kill and eat you." And my favorite: "Are you in love? Sucker."