Have you ever tried to walk a mile in somebody’s shoes and then got arrested for shoe theft?
Have you ever tried to follow the guidelines to life in the Good Book, like killing the fatted calf when your prodigal son spends your fortune drinking, dallying with different women every night and flunking out of college, only to come back home to live? Did the neighbors call the cops when you tried to kill the fatted calf in your backyard?
Did Dr. Phil’s advice that you’d better get your crap together backfire when thieves broke into your house and stole your crap? The good crap!
Have you ever noticed that you can barely walk fifteen feet without someone giving you advice on how to walk the next fifteen? Have you ever gone to the dentist and sat there in the chair as he drilled into your pain center with glee because he is a happy dentist. Only thing to take your mind off that glee was a large banner hanging from the wall right in front of you. It burbled with little bits of homey, corney advice and wisdom like “Stop blaming others,” and “Marry only for love,” and “Leave the toilet seat in the down position.”
Eyeing that list while someone’s hand is in your mouth and a voice says “You’ll feel a little pinch,” just before the voice says “Uh oh,” can make one a tad cynical about all the jolly good advice hanging on the dentist’s wall.
The last time I was there, with a pain in my neck, I mentally adjusted the rules to make them more realistic.*
- Keep your promises (no matter what) Example: “No matter what I promised I promise I will forget it.”
- Count your blessings. Don’t forget being out of prison.
- Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s a hard one.
- Compliment even small improvements. I see you finally trimmed your nose hair.
- Don’t be afraid to say “I made a mistake,” or “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
- Drink champagne for no reason. Like, duh!
- Never underestimate the power of love halitosis
- Feed a stranger’s expired parking meter. Send a stranger’s child to college while you’re at it. Steal an expired stranger’s car and drive it past the stranger’s hearse, beeping the horn and waving while you’re at it.
- Stop blaming others. Start suing them.
- Always accept an outstretched hand, assuming hand sanitizer is available.
- Take responsibility for every area of your life, unless your lawyer gives you the silent, zip-it signal in court.
- Plant flowers every spring, not winter.
- Use the good silver or steal some good silver and then use it.
- Look people in the eye but not the one with the eye patch.
- Commit yourself to constant improvement, then have yourself committed to an institution.
- Avoid negative people. Like that’s even possible.
- Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards. Pay in Monopoly money. (They’re kids.)
- Overtip breakfast waitresses. Tip over breakfast waitresses who are slow with the coffee.
- Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know unless you don’t know anybody like that, in which case, never mind.
- Keep it simple. It lowers expectations.
- Think big thoughts but relish small successes. Warning: using mustard sends the wrong message.
- Leave everything a little better than you found it. Just a little; don’t go crazy.
- Compliment three people every day. Make sure they are different people.
- Learn three clean jokes. Keep them to yourself.
- Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full. Return stolen vehicles with no body in the trunk.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2020, all rights reserved.
*Apologies to H. Jackson Brown, Jr., author of Life’s Little Instruction Book https://books.google.com/books/about/Life_s_Little_Instruction_Book.html?id=YVTFOsaSkQUC&source=kp_book_description