Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Live to Help

Today I am 28. To celebrate this momentous occassion, I bring you:

28 Life Lessons I have Learned the Hard Way so You Don't Have To (even though, if you are anything like me, you totally will anyway). You're Welcome.

1. If you are a 15 year old girl and a 19/20 year old guy is hitting on you (and continues to try to hit on you, even though you told him you were 15) you should run as far and fast as you can. There is something wrong with this guy. Really, really wrong. I know you may be tempted to think that you are just that special, but probably you are not. This guy is the walking, talking definition of loser.

2. If a guy tells you he loves you on the very first date (a blind date, at that) you should fake an attack of the stomach flu and never, ever pick up the phone when he calls. He has emotional problems, and you will not like where this leads. At all. Like, you should probably keep an eye on your bunny.

3. Anyone who dates you to make a political statement is a jackass.

4. Everyone should take one major vacation by themselves. That was the best/scariest time I ever had in my life. A word of caution though: do not go anywhere with the guy who wants to "take pictures of you." I may have missed my shot at being an international supermodel, but on the other hand I also wasn't raped or spread eagle on the internet for all the world to see.

5. There is nothing wrong with your nose/face/breasts/hips/thighs/belly/body hair/hair color/toe nails. You are fine. Someone will love you anyway, I promise. I say this as a person who shops for bras in the children's section and has a Sicilian heritage. If it would really, truly make you happy to change something - go for it. But the people I know who have changed things have always just found something else not to like. Also, Michael Jackson.

6. No one is judging you nearly as much as you think they are judging you. In fact, they are all too worried that you are judging them to really, properly judge you.

7. Going out to eat on Valentine's Day is a special torture in hell. It is reserved for people who rape cats. Why would you voluntarily put yourself through that for the most pointless holiday in the history of pointless holidays?

8. It may seem like a good idea to eat an entire can of smoked almonds. It is not.

9. It is entirely too easy to flush a cell phone down a toilet. It is embarrassing to stand in the ladies' room with two redneck maintenance men while they attempt to fish your phone out of the toilet. Especially because they will loudly question, and re-question, how the hell you managed to flush your phone, anyway. You will not get the phone back (and honestly, do you REALLY, REALLY want it back NOW?) and it will be a waste of your time and the maintenance guys' time.

10. Bad boys are only fun in movies and literature. When you date a real life bad boy you should probably not be too surprised when you find yourself standing on the side of the road while the cops perform a search on your car because, oh, yeah, did he forget to mention he was awaiting trial on charges of felony possession of meth? Which means they can search your car. In fact, they can search you if they want to. And you realize the relationship isn't going to work because you are not reassured when he says, "But don't worry. I wouldn't bring that stuff in your car or anything."

(At this point, you should be imagining yourself hanging out of a trailer with rat's nest hair. You are wearing a tank top and underpants. The spotlight from the police helicopter is illuminating the scene from above, and you are screaming while he is bent over the hood of the police cruiser, forever marring the paint with his greasy hair. )

Then you should take that boy back to whatever friend's house he's crashing at that week, and burn rubber as you take off and never, ever look back.

11. It is entirely possible to split a fifth of whiskey with one other person, take 15 shots, and not die. I don't know if its possible to do that without FEELING like you're going to die, but it is possible to not ACTUALLY die (well, I didn't die; someone else maybe could. I'm just saying its possible not to, not that anyone should actually attempt this).

12. There is no fun that is worth the way you will feel the morning after you drink that much. Seriously, ponies and rainbows and a huge pink Barbie party just for you are not enough fun to be worth the hell you will feel.

13. If you are the designated driver you will end up at a Taco Bell drive-through window with 6 drunk boys who won't stay in the car. You might almost get arrested.

14. One of the drunk boys will puke in your car. He will offer to clean it up the next day, but there is no way in hell he'll do it early enough to suit you. Might as well hold your breath and clean it up yourself.

15. Hurricanes actually DO have alcohol in them. If you drink three before you realize this, you might be a little fuzzy on how you got back to your hotel room and why the hell your shoes are so clean (and it could be because you were accosted by a bum on the walk back who cleaned your shoes with windex and then demanded $10. That's probably also where that $10 went).

16. When you get married, you will never be able to shower uninterrupted ever again. Even though there is a second bathroom, he will want to use the one you are in. If I ever figure out how to stop this, I'll let you know.

17. Your mother is not going to change. She's probably always going to treat you like you are seven. Nothing can be done about this.

18. If a man tells you he did some laundry while you were gone, be sure to check that the laundry actually made it into the dryer. It will mildew, and that smell ain't ever coming out completely.

19. You cannot do everything you put your mind to. I'm sorry. If you are a 90s child like me I'm sure you were raised to believe in your very special specialness, and that you can do anything you want. But you can't. And that's okay. Some of the greatest lessons in my life came through failure (wow. That was schmaltzy). As an example, there was a time when what this meant to me personally was that I could be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, a fairy princess, and a veterinarian. And then I could also be Jane Goodall. All in the same lifetime. I cannot actually do any of those things. OK, I maybe could have been a veterinarian. But still. The dream was to have it ALL.

20. Work in food service and retail. It will make you a nicer person. Okay, except that one time I went off on a customer but dude seriously...two waitresses, 100 some math and realize you ain't getting your food in 5 minutes. You want food in 5 minutes go to McDonald's. (And yes, they did complain about me to the owner, who LAUGHED at them, because she knew I would NEVER do that without damn good reason. And then she gave me a raise. God I miss her).

21. If you, like me, are in a male-dominated industry that requires field work...the best way to get most men to do what you want is to act a little like their mother. Don't flirt, and don't be a hard-core bitch if you can help it. Also, when you are going to be working with construction workers maybe leave the tank tops and the cute little wedge sandals at home (I have never worn inappropriate clothes on a job site, but you would be surprised how many girls think tromping through the woods or at a railyard is the perfect place for three inch heels and a mini-skirt. It is not. Never).

22. Like what you like. Its such a huge waste of time to pretend to be into something you hate just because its more acceptable to the people around you. I pretended to like Mystical for a month once, to impress a boy who liked rap. I also pretended to like Death Cab for Cutie at one point in order to be more "indie." I still don't like either one. And I'll admit it, I do actually occasionally rock out to Britney Spears. I refuse to be ashamed. Okay, I'm a little ashamed.

23. I fully expected to be presented with a brand new automobile wrapped in a pretty red bow on my 16th birthday. This only happens on Saved by the Bell. Chances are good no one is ever going to present anyone with a brand new car wrapped in a big red bow. Do not hold your breath, is what I'm saying.

24. Being alone can be good for the soul. I recommend being alone on a regular basis.

25. Red Bull does not taste good in anything. Please do not ruin a perfectly good vodka by adding Red Bull to it.

26. Girl push ups do not prepare you for anything other than girl push ups. If you want to be able to do real push ups, you just have to start doing real pushups. And I was going to make this another schmaltzy metaphor (involving sports this time!) but I have no more Hallmark moments left in me, after that first one. So, DIY advice.

27. Hamburger Helper is never, under any circumstances, a good idea.

28. Everything will be okay. Or it won't. And there's usually jack shit you can do about it anyway (although I keep trying. Probably, I haven't completely learned this one yet. This one is a little easier after two glasses of wine, or some form of medication).


  1. This is, quite possibly, the best list ever made. Of anything.

    Also, it should be a public service announcement on PBS.

  2. Yeah, I want to hear that graduation speech guy who sounds vaguely like Michael Douglas read this over some beats. Pronto.

  3. I feel like I should have followed it up with "And always remember to wear sunscreen" but somebody else just did that the other day.

    Ah well. That's how it ends in my head, anyway.

  4. "ponies and rainbows and a huge pink Barbie party just for you are not enough fun to be worth the hell you will feel."

    I don't know, I do like ponies and rainbows and pink Barbie parties a lot...

    And I totally agree with #20. I was just talking to my boyfriend about that the other day. I think that it should be a mandatory part of life, like there should be a law.