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!)

Internet Philosophers

I don’t surf the Net very much.  I don’t have a problem with spending hours wandering through cyberspace – actually, I think it’s kinda cool – I just don’t have the time.  Basically, I stick to my favourite sites every day, and that works for me.  However, every once in a while, I go nuts and get tangled up in the web of The Web — and I’m lost in space for a couple of hours.  I never think of these Cyber adventures as time wasted.  I learned way back in the dialup days that the Internet is an enchanted garden, and once you weed out the idiots, the place is blooming with beautiful flowers.  Here’s just a small bouquet of some front porch philosophers I found the other day.

Taxation is just the yearly subscription fee you pay to live in your country; your childhood was the free trial.

Don’t ask me what’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever done: I haven’t peaked yet.

I just hate it when I accidently step on my dog’s tail because I feel so guilty that I can’t properly explain that it was an accident and I’m really, really sorry.

It’s never a good sign when your fitness watch starts flashing stress warnings and you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.

You know you were right all along when they name a hurricane after your ex.

It’s definitely love when your girlfriend comes home totally drunk, stands by the bed, starts taking off her clothes, stops and says, “I’m sure you’re awfully nice, but I have a boyfriend.”  And then walks out and goes to sleep on the sofa.

The other day I thought it would be cool if someone invented a hot veggie smoothie; then I remembered — it’s called soup.

Cargo pants are just cleverly disguised purses.

If you eat probiotic yogurt when you’re taking antibiotics, does that mean you’re coming out about even?

When I was young, I fell off my bike and fractured my ankle.  I rode my bike home.  Last week, I stubbed my toe– and I haven’t left the sofa since.

When I was young, I wanted to spend a year backpacking across Asia.  These days, I’m pissed when the bum warmer in my car isn’t warm enough.

When I was young, I thought I’d have a great career, a wild social life, a cool apartment and a retirement plan.  I ended up with mismatched wineglasses and a toilet that won’t quit flushing unless you jiggle the handle.

I hate being the parent because I always have to say no to all the same things I loved doing as a kid.

Every morning, men leave the house with nothing but their phone, their wallet and their keys.  How do they make it through the day?

That awkward moment when you ask a girl out for the first time — and then, five years later you ask her to marry you — and she says no – both times.

Finally realizing that the reason you clean the house before people come over is you don’t want them to think you actually live this way.

When you accidently fart in a meeting and it sounds like somebody’s stretching the neck of a balloon.

Telling all your friends you have a twin so you don’t have to talk to them in public.

The secret to a successful marriage is never hating each other – on the same day.

With all the crap that’s going on in the world, these days I watch The Shining to relax.

The only thing in the universe that’s worse than a Man Cold is being married to someone who has a Man Cold.

Realizing you’re excited about Valentine’s Day because you know chocolate’s going to go on sale the morning of the 15th.

“Ignore this text.  I’m pretending to add some jerk’s telephone number to my contacts.”

It’s always difficult when you find out your wife eats spaghetti with a spoon and divorce lawyers are outrageously expensive — on the same day.

You know you’ve been in lockdown too long when the kids start referring to the Amazon delivery guy as Uncle Freddie.

Single people don’t know there’s a wrong way to load the dishwasher.

The best thing about working from home is you don’t have to fight through all the lunch purses in the company refrigerator — and, sometimes, a pigeon sits on the balcony.

When coworkers, doctors and boyfriends say “we,” they usually mean “you.”

And a couple of my favourites:

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat the people who work in restaurants.

People who add a “but” when they apologize aren’t actually apologizing.

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