Advice For Life

Life does not come with a set of instructions.  Around the time we learn to crawl, we’re taught what bites, what burns, what tickles and which farts just can’t be trusted — but after that, it’s all on-the-job training with live ammunition.  Unfortunately, without any guidelines we really never know how we’re doing.  Essentially, if life were a parlour game, we’d have no way to keep score or even know where we are on the board.  C’est le vie!

There are, however, a few tricks one learns along the way.  Since I’m a good guy who’s been wandering this world for a few years now, I’m going to pass a random sample along to you.  They’re in no particular order — because if I actually knew what was important in life, I’d write the book.

1 — A low-cut sweater will fix a bad hair day.

2 — Nobody is ever going to look at you the way women in yogurt commercials look at yogurt — get over it.

3 — You know you’re fat when people start saying “Have you lost weight?” Nobody ever says that to skinny people.

4 —  After high school you’re never going to use algebra again — ever.

5 — You know the relationship isn’t love when, during sex, you fantasize that your partner is someone else and, after sex, you fantasize you are.

6 — You’ve become an adult when your towels match.

7 — Eventually, every parent secretly eats a candy bar in the car, or the closet, or just around the corner so they don’t have to share it with their kids.  (So you aren’t a selfish bastard, after all.)

8 — You know you’re old when younger people talk to you in that tone of voice we all reserve for children and pets.

9 — Later on in life, nobody but you is going to give a rat’s ass how hot you were in college, so you might as well take the four years and actually learn something.

10 — If you’re over 26 and your job still involves extra pickles, you’re doing something wrong.

11 — The biggest lie you’re ever going to tell yourself is “I’ll remember that.”

12 — You know you’re rich when you don’t have to look at the prices on a menu.  You know you’re wealthy when you can do that at the car dealership.

13 — The difference between tragic hero/heroine and perpetual loser is five years.

14 — As you get older, Christmas comes faster and faster.

15 – There’s never going to be anything quite as cool as the other side of the pillow on a warm night.

And finally:

16 — The real secret to a happy and successful life is comfortable underwear.  But you need to have enough money to afford it and the good sense to buy it.

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.