What not to do
After reading a hilarious list of recommendations one parent makes for her growing children, I decided to search my own past in an effort to see if there might be a way I could pass on the lessons I’ve learned from making mistakes and seeing people close to me make them, too. With luck, my children won’t have to repeat some of these most embarrassing, dangerous, stupid, thoughtless, illegal, and careless moments.
So here it is: things you should learn NOT to do…
1. At the age of 19 do not get rip-roaring drunk on St. Patrick’s Day and then throw up in front of a city police officer. He may chuckle at your misfortune at the time, but he is only not arresting you because the paddywagon is full. Know your limits, kids. The next time there just might be a seat for you.
2. Pulling the fire alarm in a dorm full of students – multiple times – over multiple days – is not funny. And it is a felony. Ooops.
3. When you get your first real job, keep your mouth shut for the first three months. This is a hard-and-fast rule. Learn it. Live it. Your new coworkers are not your friends yet and you don’t know who is the office snitch, who is the office kiss-ass, who is the office gossip, who is the office backstabber and who is the office slut. You do not want to find out who these people are the hard way. Speak to no one about anything other than your immediate projects for at least three months. For realsies.
4. Everyone needs therapy. EVERYONE. So, when you navigate through life, do not waste time here. Be jealous of no one. Everyone is carrying baggage. Some of us are just better at hiding it. Take making friends seriously. Only a few people, in the end, will truly be there for you, so choose them very wisely. And, if you choose to allow the people with the wrong kind of baggage into your world, you’ll learn some valuable lessons, but only after cleaning up a whole lot of crap first.
5. Do not trust people who do not have real names. If you know a bunch of guys who are known only as “Iggy Fresh,” “The Sandman” and “Blue Cheese,” you should think of keeping them at arm’s length. If you find that as a college freshman, after a night of partying, you are no longer able to see your own reflection in a mirror, but are able to see everything else in the room, you should stop hanging out with these guys altogether. They are bad news.
6. Under no circumstances should you believe that there can be such a things as “friends with benefits.” I have seen this situation end in every possible scenario from simple jealousy to date rape. Stop it.
7. Speaking of this…If you own a penis, keep it to yourself. There is no limit to the trouble that thing can get you into. Make a commitment and fuck only the woman who you also plan to take to dinner the next night and introduce to your friends.
8. Do not be a bump on a log. In childhood, the teen years, college and young adulthood, laziness and inactivity lead to everything from obesity to an inability to form meaningful relationships. You need to learn teamwork and discover your interests and talents. Join a club, play a sport, volunteer. Get out of your mama’s basement, yo. Walk away from the X-Box.
9. Dumb is not sexy. Ladies, if you think that the way to snag a man is to twirl your hair, giggle and say that math is hard, you will surely attract only men who like vapid, useless, mindless women. Can you think of the kind of men who prey on vapid, useless, mindless women? Do they sound like keepers? Read a book. When the right time comes, the right man will find your extensive knowledge about re-purposed fossil fuels and the Electoral College process to be intensely attractive.
10. Finally, do not ever think that you are “grown up.” When you are young and naive, you want everyone to think you are “grown up” so that they will give you responsibilities and trust and respect. When you get older and wiser you realize that being “grown up” sucks. If you keep a sense of humor and remember to try to stay (appropriately) youthful, you’ll remember that you are never a completed model, there is always room for growth and there is always time for FUN. Never be too busy to make snow angels.