The Road To Hell Is Paved

The problem with life is bad decisions almost always make the best stories.  This is a fact that nobody feels all that comfortable with.  For example, the difference between “We made some tea and watched To Have and Have Not on PBS” and “We decided to open another bottle of wine” is massive.  One story ends with “We brushed our teeth and went to bed,’ and the other one gets lost somewhere around “After Tom passed out, we painted his ass orange and locked him in a row of grocery carts.”  See what I mean?

Both stories are actually true, BTW.  Obviously, nobody remembers the first one — like — who cares?  However, the second one is the stuff of legend.  It’s the kind of tale we tell at dinner parties.  It’s the one that is our public face.  The one that defines us as interesting.  And we all want to be interesting.

It’s not difficult to recognize the road to salvation.  It generally runs through tea, Netflix and conscientious oral hygiene.  However, the other road — the road to Hell — is paved.  It’s lined with ice cream shops and cheap alcohol, pretty girls and naughty boys.  It has hundreds of distracted side streets, secluded alleys and boisterous cafes, but never any toilets — anywhere.  It’s the perfect sexual moment interrupted by somebody’s mother, the wild ride to the wrong funeral and the time you passed out fell asleep behind Beverly Jenkins’ sofa.  In fact, the road to Hell is limited only by our innate ability to make mistakes.

Yet it is the road to Hell that protects us from being just another frump on the trudge to the grave.  It gives our lives curves, dents, depth and colour and lifts us above the relentless bureaucracy of everyday living.  And although the road to Hell doesn’t give life any true meaning, our adventures on it tell the world we showed up and got in the game.  And when we are old and gray and full of sleep, nodding by the fire, it’s the road to Hell we’ll remember, not the dental floss.

The trick is striking a balance between collecting enough uber-cool life stories to wow them in the Old Folks’ Home and staying out of jail.  (I’m still surprised Tom didn’t just call the cops!)

Originally written in 2015 (Yeah, I’ve been doing this for over 6 years!)

On Being An Adult

Being an adult is hard work.  It’s a lot more than just alcohol and porno privileges.  That’s why a lot of us try to remain kids for as long as possible.  However, for good or for evil, it’s inevitable — and nobody wants to be a considered a petulant teenager all their life.  (We all know that person, don’t we?)  So, here are some tips to let you know when you have, indeed, finally become an adult.

When you realize you’re never going to win another argument with the over-the-shoulder shout “I didn’t ask to be born!”

When you bring your lunch to work to save money and somebody eats it and it dawns on you that some people are just assholes and there’s nothing you can do about it.

When you understand taking a nap in the afternoon is a secret pleasure — not a punishment.

When having an adventure means finding something decent to wear on laundry day.

When you spend a lot of time, energy and (sometimes) money to get dressed up for a special occasion, and five minutes into it you realize it’s crap and you’ve missed Two-For-One Taco Tuesday – again.

When it takes more time to get over sex than it did to have it.

When you spend less time talking about the party and more time talking about the hangover you got from it.

When farts are no longer funny and have become a serious matter of trust.

When there’s only one person who knows exactly where to scratch in the middle of your back, and if you divorce them – you’re screwed.

When you discover some people actually believe the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are real and there’s nothing you can do or say that will change their mind.

When that bone you broke in 3rd grade comes back to haunt you.

When you buy two extra doughnuts and eat them in the car on the way home because you don’t want to share.

When you realize your interest in Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest Goop device or Meghan Markle’s opinion of the Royal Family is entirely dependent on whether or not your toilet is flushing properly.

When you finally comprehend that you’re the one who has to figure out what to eat for dinner – from now on – every night – until you die.

When it becomes obvious that algebra was a scam.

When you discover mean people don’t get punished for calling you nasty names.

When suddenly, for no apparent reason, all the cops are younger than you are.

When you realize there’s no law that says you have to clean behind the refrigerator.

And finally, two of the best:

When the age inside your head is lower than the one on the calendar.

When you completely grasp the fact that the essentials of a happy life have nothing to do with your job, your apartment or your car but are actually intimately connected to warm socks, good sex and Tupperware.

You, Too, Can Avoid Burnout!

It’s getting close to a year since the world was ambushed by Covid-19 — and that dirty little bastard has disrupted all of our lives.  We’ve been kicked around, lied to, promised, herded, poked, prodded, lied to again, locked down, locked up, looked over, overlooked and generally screwed around.  And that all happened last summer!  Since then, most of us have learned how to cope.  Congratulations, us!  But there’s still a long way to go, so here are a few guidelines that may help us all survive the psychological strain we’re under.  And, once again — pulling together, we can make this the best pandemic ever

If you see the woman down the street walking with her husband more than twice a day, you should intervene.  In firm but kindly tones, explain that two walks a day is sufficient for any adult male.  It’s also a good idea to offer some positive alternatives — such as, perhaps, letting him off the leash so he can have a run in the park with the other husbands.

If the guy next door is in his front yard, shouting at the crows to “Just mind your own business!” it’s time to be a good neighbour and, at a safe social distance, enter into a conversation, empathize and calmly suggest that, smart as crows are, they probably don’t understand English.

If you’re having erotic thoughts about the Amazon delivery people, that’s perfectly normal.  They’re possibly the only human contact you’re getting these days.  However, you should confine your fantasies to just one or maybe two of the semi-regulars.  Being promiscuous can seriously damage your self-esteem.  And we all know how harmful slut shaming is — especially if you’re doing it to yourself.

If you’re starting to remember those godawful family gatherings at Christmas and Thanksgiving fondly, you need to take immediate action.  Open a bottle of wine and drink at least half of it.  Then set up a Zoom call with your sister-in-law (the bitchy one) your aunt (the religious one) Uncle Terry (who’s been stoned since 2005) and your cousin (who sells Mexican Time Share Condominiums.)  Tell them you’re thinking of having an affair with the Amazon delivery girl, and see how long it takes for your mother to join the conversation. 

If you look forward to Garbage Day, that’s a healthy way to break up the monotony of locked-in life.  However, you need to remember not everyone shares your commitment to the challenges of regular municipal sanitation.  Texting your neighbours – every week — to remind them what day it is can be annoying.  Also measuring, photographing and suggesting a detailed realignment of their bins — every week – can upset some people.  It’s best to consider garbage day a personal accomplishment, celebrated with a quiet glass of wine at the end of the day.

If you’ve forgotten where you put your pants, that’s okay. (Who hasn’t?)  However, if you’ve forgotten how to put them on, you need to stop, take three deep breaths and try to figure that shit out – it’s important.  Go to YouTube if you have to.

If, at some point, you just lose it and confront the clothes dryer, demanding the return of all the socks it’s stolen over the years, you need to take a step back.  The dryer is not going to respond to those hostile tones.  You need to think about this: perhaps the stolen socks were just a cry for help.  Is the lint filter clogged?  Perhaps, blowing hot air is not as fulfilling as it once was?  We all spin at a different speed, folks!  Maybe it’s time for you to take a time out, think about it, apologize and initiate a more meaningful dialogue.   

And finally:

If you’re discussing these issues with the refrigerator, do so openly and honestly.  Remember, we’re all in this together, and it’s up to you to let the things that are important to you know they’re not alone