So often we hear about a person of supreme talent who squanders a golden opportunity because of a problem with opioids, steroids or Sigmund Freud’s slip. They wind up in jail, or living under a highway overpass or borrowing $14 million from their father to start a business.
We are fascinated with the failure of those supposedly more fortunate than us. Why? Because we are certain in our hearts that if we had been presented the same chances for success we would have simultaneously thrown up and filled our pants and by the time we got cleaned up, all the shelled edamame beans would be gone.
Which is why we are suckers for books and TV shows and movies that try to discover just what went wrong with this or that failed genius or celebrity or Pokemon Gonad. How many times have we seen or read that the loser in question lost his way, fell in with some bad cholesterol and ignored the many wise rules-of-thumb that have been passed down for years by the all-powerful thumb lobby.
Eons back, when men were just beginning to evolve from apes into idiots, there were rules-of-thumb, but also rules of fingers, toes, noses and ear lobes. The thumb’s powerful one-two combination of not only having plenty of rules, but being quite amenable to sucking, soon eclipsed all others.
Our long documented need of thumb-sucking is eclipsed only by our ironic insistence on shouting suckful things at others, like “You suck.” “No, you suck.” “Hey, suck my toe. The big one.” And, of course, the illiterate existentialist’s battle cry of “Life sucks.” It goes without saying that
Anyway, as a dutiful sucking observer, I maintain a list of rules-of-thumb gleaned over the years by a bonded gleaning service. So, glean this:
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Try to have them do unto you first so you can see if their unto has damaged your unto, giving you time to call in an adjuster and a lawyer and maybe some lobotomized muscle.
- Don’t have sex while driving. The logical corollary to this rule is don’t drive while having sex. This goes back to the philosopher panda twins, Yingo and Yango.
- If you can’t say something nice about someone, be frank and ask them for suggestions. Example: “Excuse me, my name is Frank. What would you say about you if you were me and thought you were a moron?”
- Don’t moon people. (Not the same as the environmentalist’s interstellar whine “Don’t people the moon.”)
- Don’t, um, use the bathroom where you eat. (If you’re bagging my groceries.)
- Never order the chicken salad. Like a pigeon on a statue, you don’t know how long it’s been sitting there.
- Don’t have sex in the bathtub.
- It’s rude to eat the last gawumpie.
- Don’t borrow or steal your neighbor’s wife/husband/dog/morning paper.
- Don’t have sex in separate bathtubs.
- Don’t be found dead in unclean underwear. (Ditto for being found alive.)
- Don’t bite the hand that feeds you unless it’s made of milk chocolate or pepperoni.
- You can’t always get what you want. If you try sometimes you just might find it’s true.
- Don’t have sex.
- If you can’t be a god-fearing man, be a god-fearing woman. If you can’t be a god-fearing woman, be a god-fearing mollusk. If you can’t be any of those, try fearing banjo players. That seems to work for just about everybody.
- Never say “I wash my underwear whether it needs it or not.” Dude, it always needs it.
- Don’t have sex. Am I repeating myself?
- Don’t repeat yourself in a bathtub.
- The Golden Rule of Thumb: Never get caught with your thumb up the old sigmoid colon.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2016, all rights reserved.