By Definition, Curse Words, Fuck You, FUN!, Language, Life, Opinion, Rules To Live By, Truck Drivers, Vocabulary

Like a Truck Driver

**WARNING: This post is filled with all sorts of foul language. I am advising discretion to those of you who are sensitive to the vulgarities of those who swear like truck drivers. This might not be the post for you. Truck drivers, of course, are welcome.

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I have always had a potty mouth. I have no idea how I got it, since my parents are quite religious, but I got it, and it’s here to stay. A potty mouth paired with a censor-less brain-to-mouth internal wiring system and intense sarcasm can sometimes lead to catastrophe, or some really meaningful and hilarious sidebars.

Once I fell and skinned my knee on the concrete. I yelled “SHIT!” My sister heard me and blackmailed me for YEARS over that. One day, when I was a teenager, she said, “Do this, or I am going to tell mom what you said.” I replied, “Oh fucking hell, Mom, I said “shit” ten years ago when I fell and skinned my knee. Would you like to see the scar?” Then we all just laughed and laughed.

I grew up climbing trees and playing any sport that had the word “ball” in it (I love balls). I even ran track for a season so I wouldn’t be bored. Sports as a female teen were always interesting. You learn about sex on every bus ride to away games, and by the ripe age of 15 have a general knowledge of all of the bad words, their definitions, and proper usage.

By the time I went to college, I was a professional “verbal truck driver.” My very first class in college was an English course with a very attractive gay man. I can’t remember his name, but I am certain that I was in love with him, regardless of his non-desire for me (that is generally the way it goes). I like to think that it was because his first lecture was all about the bad words, and why they aren’t bad at all, they only sound bad.

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He started his lecture by saying the “N” word. I cringe every time I hear that word. It is ugly and harsh and gross… no one should EVER use it. Then he said a whole bunch of other bad words, which made us all giggle and blush a little. He asked us what all these words had in common (minus their vulgar meanings, of course). He went on to explain to us 18 year old champions of foul language that curse words don’t necessarily mean bad things, but they are concocted with sounds that are harsh and brash to the ears. They also take on the flavor of what you are saying and how you are saying it.

The SH and T in SHIT keep the word short and hard, as do the F and CK in FUCK, as well as the B and TCH in BITCH. You can see where he was going with all of this very interesting information. Then he came back to the “N” word. He explained the difference between using the word with and ER and an A at the end. By ending the word with an A, you have a “friendly greeting.” By using it with an ER at the end, you are a fucking racist. Again, I find this word to make my ears burn and wish it never existed. I am particularly turned off when adolescents are using it, listening to music with it in the lyrics, and singing along to them without a second thought.

The use of harsh, short letters really make all the difference. For instance, compare the following by saying them aloud:

SHIT! vs RATS!

FUCK YOU vs SCREW YOU (please use a Schwarzenegger accent)!

DAMN IT! vs DARN IT!

ASSHOLE! vs MORON!

Yes, they are all excellent words that can successfully be used appropriately, but some are stronger than others.

An interesting side-note… Learning about the effects of the sounds changed my writing in many ways, allowing for subtle hints of joy or anger, even sarcasm. Alliteration is a powerful friend, you Seven Sided Son-of-a-Bitch.

Anyway, I had never experienced a classroom setting where there were so many (or any) curse words used, but also dissected and recombined to affect meaning and level of offense or emotion. Needless to say, I loved college from that first class. My mind was blown wide open. I realized that cursing was okay, and was used as a poignant display of emotions, whether it be a raging anger or dubious excitement. Sometimes cursing can also be used as pain reliever, like when I scraped my knee as a child. I try not to curse around kids or old people, out of common sense and respect, respectively, but being able to hold these words in when they come out so naturally is like zipping your lips and then trying to swallow the key… it’s just not possible.

There are ways to curse excellently and ways to curse like a douche. For instance, in Star Trek: Generations (1994) when Data utters his first expletive, “Oh Shit!” … That is genius! Not only is Data an android and has no feelings or use for such vocabulary, he has also never used a curse word ever! It’s so unexpected that it’s funny.

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For a bad example of poor curse word usage, please watch the character Deb in any Dexter episode. She is terrible at cursing. It’s so forced and awkward. It’s like the actor was originally a ballerina and has never used profanity before in her life, and was cast to play the part of a tom-boy potty mouth super cop. Um, no. It’s just plain bad.

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I have usually worked places where cursing was a norm. Working in factories and workrooms, the girls curse just as much (if not more) than the guys do. Even the sweet blonde from Georgia will slide and angry “Fuck!” in there every once in a while. I even once went to an interview, where the owner was cursing up a storm. I remember thinking, “hmmm, I might actually like it here.” Of course the cursing isn’t directed at anyone, but tossed into the universe. Like, “Shit, I just cut the shit out of my fucking finger!” or “Fuck this shit!” As long as those kinds of negative statements are offset by “Shit! That looks great!” and “Fucking hell, this is the shit!” then the energy in the universe can keep a (somewhat) dynamic equilibrium.

I find cursing to be self healing. When I jab my toe or crack my elbow on something sharp, cursing helps me emotionally and physically present that pain to the world. It helps me cope with a pain that feels like it may never go away. I also find that cursing at objects makes them do what I want. For instance, when I am at work trying to pry loose a fabric that needs to be put to work, I pull and tug and say, “Come on, you fucking fuck!” and just like magic, the roll pulls out. Name calling is also effective in these situations. When called a slut, the fabric responds in a similar manner.

Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” probably never got pelted with a sharp, hurtful “FUCK YOU.” I have a  stockpile of those in my “emotional cursing arsenal” saved for just the right moment when I need to let someone know exactly how I feel about them. While I do not always intentionally throw it out there to act as a dagger, it is  certainly expelled from my lips with a force reserved specifically for causing pain. Sorry (but also probably not sorry because the person, most likely, fucking deserves it).

My favorite curse word is FUCK, as you can probably tell from the amount of F-bombs dropped already. To me, it is the most versatile of curse words. It is an extremely passionate word. You can bring someone down (Fuck You!) or rile someone up (That’s fucking awesome!). You can express anger ( I’m not a fucking moron!). You can also use it to let things go (Fuck it! (which was my personal motto from 2002-2011)).

My least favorite word of all time, besides the “N” word, is C*NT. I can’t even write it. The “C” word should be reserved for situation where it’s use is absolutely necessary. A nice alternative to the “C” word (but just as vulgar and ear exploding) is C*NT’s dainty cousin, TWAT. A gal pal of mine uses this word, and she’s so sweet that she makes it sound like a term of endearment. How charming! C U Next Tuesday is also a sneaky way of throwing some shade at an asshole.

When my niece was about 1 year old, we were in church and she dropped the toy she was playing with. She yelled, “SHIT!” and bent down top pick it up. I said, “Excuse me, Gabby?” She looked me dead in the eyes and said “Shit.” in the most serious and sternest way possible. Being the cool aunt, I brushed it off with a smile and a high five (that’s my girl!). The church ladies did not approve. I didn’t give a fuck.

I have tried to rationalize having a  swear jar, but I’d be really broke all of the time with a huge vacation fund. Perhaps that is the only way I will ever save money to travel the world. Then I can learn how to swear in other languages, which may come in handy if I , say, stub a toe in Spain, or smash my kneecap in China.

My dear readers, I leave you with THIS.

And please remember, there is always room for a fucking swear word, just please curse responsibly.

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Change, Compromise, FTSF, Humor, Memory Lane, Opinion, Project, Rules To Live By, Sarcasm, Save The World

Never Gonna Happen

I compromise all the time. Like, I’ll take a pair of dish pan hands if Captain Clam does the Kitty Litter, or I’ll be the designated driver if Captain Clam does the Kitty Litter, or I’ll sort the recycle/dump the garbage/mop/sweep/dust if Captain Clam does the Kitty Litter…  I would basically compromise anything to get out of shoveling cat poop, except for the following…

I won’t drink and drive. Ever. I won’t even sniff a cocktail if I know I am getting behind the wheel. I don’t believe in it and think if you do drink and drive, you are a dumb asshole.

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This graphic is too ridiculous not to use.

Nothing will never, ever compromise my stance on Cheese. If it were human, I’d marry it. I eat cheese just about everyday. It makes me happy!  The same goes for Pickles and Hot Sauce.

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32 oz. of heaven. I own this bottle.

I will never stop using curse words. I can’t compromise what comes naturally to me. I do, however, do my best not to curse around children and old ladies, but every once in a while a “fuck” slips out. Shit happens.

I don’t compromise on zombies. If you are a zombie, I will remove your head.

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If I can’t see the bottom, chances are I will not be swimming. I don’t compromise on murky water. If something is touching my leg, then I need to know what it is. Zero Compromise. Zero. Two things happened to me when I was younger that changed my outlook on swimming. One of them was my dad.

We would go to the Jersey Shore every summer. I was fearless, chasing waves on my boogie board, digging in the sand where the water turned to foam, and swimming out past the point where I could stand up. There was one cloudy day when the waves were just too much for me to handle. Well, my dad thought otherwise and dragged me out there with a boogie board. At first I screamed and cried, and then gave in. I thought after one run I could escape back to the beach blanket. As I rode a huge wave in, my board slipped out from under me and dug nose first into the sand. I then plowed into the rear end of it, knocking the wind out of my little body. My day was ruined.

About a year after the bogie board incident, I was swimming in the calmer waters of the Peconic Bay and a crab bit me. After that, it’s been an aquatic life of water shoes, dips up to my knees, tropical beaches where the water is clear, or strictly swimming pools. I do sometimes venture out above my head, but then seaweed touches me and I am headed to shore. It boggles my brain to think that I used to dive head first into the Peconic River  without second thought to the turtles and leeches and other weird grimy stuff that might get in my swimsuit. Now those memories fill me with terror.

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You never know what’s lurking.

I will never EVER catch any food items in my mouth. If you throw a cheesy puff at my face, I am going to duck and get very serious rather quickly, preaching on the dangers of catching food in your mouth. I will most likely tell you this story: I was in Middles School and realizing quickly that I was finally growing into my awkward teenage body. My coordination was on point and I never really got into the whole “pog” thing. I thought it would be awesome to throw some popcorn in the air and catch it in my mouth. I was pretty cool until about the third piece of popcorn. It went right into my lung. I choked and choked until I coughed out a soggy, embarrassed piece of popcorn. I can’t even be in the presence of food catchers. They make me nervous. I can’t trust them.

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I couldn’t even make it through this episode of “The Office.”

I don’t compromise on beer. If it’s there I will drink it, unless it’s dark. Guinness is like steak and eggs – heavy and unnecessary (have you ever thrown up steak and eggs? No thanks).

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WHY?

Lastly, I can never compromise the Golden Rule. I can’t understand how lots of people go through life being complete assholes to everyone. Jerks, Racists, Meanies, Bullies, Punks, Narcissists, Know-it-alls, Blockheads, Pricks, Shits, Schmucks, and all encompassing Doo-Doo Faces baffle me in their behaviors (pranksters are okay). I find general goodwill  to be effortless. It’s an effort to be an asshole. If you are going out of your way to do the wrong thing, you are a DICK. Boom. No compromise.

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Wil Wheaton says so.

Things that I will never compromise on might seems silly to most, but deal with life and death and complete panic (come on, seaweed touching my legs, no thanks!). Of course the cheese thing is just common sense, as is the golden rule. Compromise is important, but not when it comes to personal conviction, morale, or the safety of others…. or pickles. Pickles are good.

 

 

 

 

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Adventure, Food, Life, Recycle, Rules To Live By, Save The World, Simplify

Things You Can Live Without

My sweet Clam and I have been going through a transitional phase lately. Well, actually, I have been going through a phase and have been relying on my Clam to guide me, since he is almost an extreme minimalist. When he first started working his clam charms on me, I lived in a 2000 sqft loft in the South Bronx that was filled with 7 years worth of accumulations; things that came from the trash or street, from friends and family,  things both purchased and made. Le Clam lived in a one bedroom apartment in Bed-Stuy and owned a tv, a bed, a coffee table and a night stand. I had 6 coffee tables, 14 tons of clothing, a lamp collection, among other bric-a-brac (I’m not a hoarder, I’m a collector!).

Needless to say when I left my cluttered paradise, I learned to live without a mound of shit and have been transitioning to life without many of the things I thought would be impossible to live without. I am feeling more aware of the things that fill my life and am being more accountable not just as a consumer or junk collector, but I am also being socially responsible as well as environmentally aware… well, I am trying to be, at least.

Designer Clothing

I don’t know about you, but I hate being a walking Billboard. I hate those big ugly handbags with logos all over them and their buckles and tassels and unnecessarily high price tags and terrible plastic knockoffs. I see no reason to have to buy clothing or accessories that are overpriced and will only be worn a few times before I realize just how ugly that “trend” is. Call me a Plain Jane, but a high maintenance lifestyle is not my type of back alley. I also hate the idea of spending money on something that gives free advertising for a brand. If I am going to be advertising for you, then shouldn’t I get paid? Sorry, no logos for this gal. Also, my ass is juicy enough, I don’t need a general announcement that states a quite obvious fact.

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Bottled Water

I visit friends and family and everyone is all about the individual 8 oz bottles of water. Have my friends and family never heard of a Brita Water Filter and a re-usable water bottle/canteen?  I also notice that the biggest culprits of the bottles water sin-fest don’t recycle. Why is that? “Designer” water has a 280,000% markup (read more HERE) than tap water filtered through a state of the art Brita, and causes disgusting amounts of waste and litter. Bottled water is wasteful for both the environment and hard earned money. Get a filter and get on with life.

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Thirsty?

Your Parents Money

At a certain age, it’s embarrassing to need money from your parents. You hit this age by (hopefully) 25. By 25 you should be out of your parents’ house and making enough money to support yourself and whatever habits that you might be ailed with (like working out and eating). If you are still dependent on your parents for things other than their shared health insurance and their deep wisdom and endless advice, then it’s time to stop being a spoiled brat and get your shit together. While it is alright to accept money from your parents as a gift, it’s not okay to expect it.

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Oh mom. You’re so funny.

Religion

You don’t need religion. You only think that you need religion. There are plenty of ways to find meaning and purpose in this life.  Try falling in love or starting a family. You can even (gasp) volunteer and help your fellow man. You are a good person and THIS is the life that matters… not a life after death in a magical place where the streets are paved with gold (seriously?). When you die you return to the earth, just like all other living things. Do you think a plant goes to plant heaven when it dies? No. It turns into nutrients that help other plants grow. Some of these plants feed human and animals. The stomach lining and digestive track of an animal can hardly be compared to any sort of gilded heaven that I have ever heard of.

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If you’re lost, then go find yourself.

A Car

I realize that in some situations this is not a realistic scenario, but public transportation does exist in most towns, and bicycle technologies have existed since the early 1800’s. There are also these two long bendy things attached to our lower bodies. They are called “legs” and can also be used for transportation.  While a car is difficult to live without, it is easy to afford NOT to have a car. You are not paying money on gas, insurance, the loan you took out to buy the coolest, largets, shiniest car you could find, tolls, maintenance, or any sorts of tickets, parking or otherwise. Just because you don’t have a car doesn’t mean you can’t BE in a car. You can rent a car, using car share programs like ZIP CAR. You can call a cab or car pool. And there are always those sexy little Vespa-esque scooters that can help you toot around town.

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Early bicycle built for two designed for hot dates in sexy outfits as well as car-pooling.

Plastic Disposables

Plastic forks, knives, spoons, plates, razors, bags, wrap, cups, table cloths… shall I bore you with more? We are so wasteful and don’t even realize it. There is no reason not to have an extra cup or mug at work (or bring in utensils). We are lazy and we either don’t care or pretend not to. Sometimes I open my purse and laugh at myself for having a million spoons clanking around in there. It’s more rewarding than finding broken soup spoons on the beach at Coney Island in August (soup at the beach? Seriously?).

Plastic is magic, but we use it so wastefully. I was once guilty of throwing out plastic sandwich bags, even when they just had bread in them. Since I met my Clam, it seems silly to throw a bag out just because it had bread in it. BREAD! We wash and reuse and that’s the full story. Not only do we save on plastic baggies, we reduce our human impact on the rest of the world. The same can go for disposable razors and other plastic items. Find a better alternative instead of the lazy way out.

Click here for My Plastic Free Life dot Com.

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It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, shape it appropriately, truck it to a store, buy it, and bring it home is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash the spoon when you’re done with it.

Sex

Just kidding.

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Pet Clothes

As adorable as it is to see a little dog wearing a raincoat and rain boots, it’s just fucking stupid. The only time I can recall ever seeing the need for animal fashion is on horses… in winter… outside. Does your dog really need a raincoat? And rain boots? You give your dog a bath frequently, right?  Does your dog use a shower cap when bating? Unless it’s Halloween, your dog looks stupid and is probably more likely to not get laid dressed in an argyle sweater vest, tie and hipster glasses.

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An excellent visual pun.

Social Media

Yes, it is possible to live in analog. People have been doing it for millions of years. There are even technologies called telephones, where you can call someone up and say “Hi. I miss you”… or share a fantastic story about how your kid said something silly or you can even describe your lunch to them… better yet, invite them to lunch so that they can see it in person. This is called interpersonal communication and is a skill that is quickly dwindling from the culture of current society and future generations. I never thought of communicating face to face as something that needed to be learned, but that is where we are heading… quickly.

There is no reason that we should live our lives out on social media for all the world to see. Seriously, most people could give two fucks about what’s on tonight’s menu or how adorable the 258th baby picture of your 2 week old baby is (although, they are probably really cute). Most of us are guilty of an over indulgence of social media, but consider this: Have you ever asked yourself “How many friends do I truly have?” I can tell you that the answer is NOT 741. Wake up, friends. Life cannot be lived while sitting down at a computer machine.

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Oops I made too much. What ever shall I do?

A Smart Phone

Get your face out of your phone. I am so sick of walking around and everyone is so absorbed by what is going on on their phone. Yes, it is an amazing technological feat that the entire world is literally at the tips of our fingers, but do we need to let such a small device run our lives? NO! Smart Phones can go to hell. As nice as it is to know where my closest bank branch is or how fast I can get from A to B on Hopstop, I do not need to be distracted by my twitter feed or Facebook messages while simply trying to read a text or retrieve a voicemail (ok, you all know I never activate my voicemail, but you understand what I mean). I have been living without a smart phone since June, and I won’t lie that it was really hard at first, but now I love it. I am not one of those people walking around with my face in my phone. I am smiling at you and saying good morning.

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Christ! Just send a text!

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GPS

GPS is making us dumber. It also takes the adventure of going on an adventure. While it is helpful, it also makes you feel reliant on a machine to solve your problem. This thing tells you where to go and what to do in a British accent. You don’t have a problem with that? Because I surely do (of course if it were Samuel L. Jackson, I’d be okay with that, Mother Fucker).

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Fast Food

When I say “Fast Food” I am talking about nasty gross McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC — those processed fast food mega giants. You know, there are other places to get food fast, that is healthy and yummy and nurturing, but those corporate slow suicide eateries are not it. In a blatant effort to toot my own horn, I have not had fast food in about two years. I did sample a bite about a year and a half ago and realized just how disgusting fast food is. Seriously, it’s not even delicious. There is nothing more satisfying than a gorgeous, juicy burger, but only if it’s home made (that’s what we are having for dinner tonight, don’t worry, I’ll facebook a picture of it). Make your own menu and learn how to cook. You’d be surprised how talented you can be in the kitchen (or the bedroom (read more HERE).

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Of course I’ll have fries with that!

Cable & Television

Go TV Free!! You don’t need that machine rotting your brain. Cancel your cable and throw that damn contraption out (or donate it (or sell it)). You don’t need it. There are way better ways to unwind and actually make contact with other people, like your mate or your children. You can play games or read books. You can go play outside (gasp!) or have a real conversation. The TV sucks up way too much quality time to be of significant value to relationships or quality time with the people you love. Even Netflix and Hulu are dangerous luxuries that take time away from the stuff that matters and can form habits of laziness (as well as drinking too much beer and eating too many tortilla chips or letting the TV babysit your kids). HERE is an excellent post on living without TV.

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I am working on embracing this list as a set of goals towards living a simpler life. None of us are perfect, and since the dawn of the modern era of technology and convenience, it’s second nature to participate in waste and want. While some of this list ridiculous to most of you, it’s not impossible. I am adding to my life by subtracting from it, hoping to live more by having less. Simplicity, just like Captain Clam taught me.

What kinds of things could you subtract from your life to make it better?


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Life, Opinion, Rules To Live By

25 Rules to Live By

I’m not religious, but was raised in a fanatical Born-Again Christian environment. I have some sadness having grown up in such a stifling atmosphere, but have always been glad to have gained a moral root system that, at this point, comes naturally to me. I am extraordinarily liberal in my views, and really have no idea how I am a product of such a controlled and manipulative childhood condition.

Every religion has a list of rules. Christianity has the 10 Commandments, Buddhism has the Eight-Fold Path and the Four Noble Truths, and Islam has 38 Prohibitions. I don’t like to think of these lists as rules, but rather a guideline for how to live life.  If you break the rules down they are pretty much telling you not to steal or cheat or lie or idolize, etc, etc…

Now, I am certainly no moral authority, but I have lived what feels like a million lifetimes already, and have generated a list of rules that I aspire to keep. Sometimes the rules are a struggle, and sometimes they are a joy.

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Rule #1: Be Kind 

Ah, yes! The Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s pretty much a “DUH” rule, but you would be surprised at how many rude and awful people there are out there. This rule deals with both empathy for others and karma for yourself. Of course some people take in a “harm or be harmed” approach to life, which is easy to fall into if you are bitter or overly morose. I find that in my own personal life, this is the easiest and most rewarding rule to follow. I suspect that goes for most of us, unless you’re obtuse, then you’re screwed and so are the rest of us.

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Rule #2: Eat Well

This rule sucks. I love pizza and bagels and cheese, which makes Rule #2 one of the harder rules for me to follow. I do my best, however, to intake life’s yummy pleasures by moderating them and I never EVER eat fast food anymore (even though I almost broke down and bought a small French Fry from McDonalds the other day). I have found the more that you eat salad, the more you crave it. Of course if I do eat a salad I tend to offset it with a sprinkle of cheese because somehow it’s easy to rationalize.

Also, avoid sodas and too much juice (unless you make it yourself). Drink water instead. 80% of your body will be happy while the entire 100% will thank you.

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RULE #3: No Spitting

This rule is on here because of something that Captain Clam and I witnessed yesterday while on our commute to our fabulous new jobs. A woman sitting on a subway bench got up in front of us as we were about to pass by and spit (like a huge loogie) onto the train tracks. Yeah, just like that. If you do need to spit, be discrete. Pretend it’s a pee that you really need to take and go hide behind a tree or in a corner. Not all up in my face.

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Rule #4: Be Generous

It is better to give than receive, yes? Yes! I love Christmas because I get to give people things that I want them to have. Of course, they want me to have socks and other oddities, but I am happy to receive these items. Of course, I totally one-up them with a handmade picture frame or a sweet ass bonsai tree that is older than I am. In some ways being generous also makes me feel selfish, since it is my goal to give you a better gift than you give to me.

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Rule #5: Be Honest

Growing up I was taught that “honesty is the best policy.”  Sadly, it really didn’t matter if I lied or told the truth – I always got in trouble regardless.  At a certain point, I figured if I came clean, then the punishment wouldn’t be so bad. Looking back I realize that lies lead to more lies, and that is just no good in the long run.

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Rule #6: Get a Pet

Pets make life so much better and serve as a great replacement for children or a training tool for becoming a parent. They take away stress and anxiety and are faithful friends for as many years as they can carry. A Sub-Rule to Rule #6 is that you should give your pet a unique or funny name.  You should also give your pets nicknames that suit their personalities. They are fuzzy children, so treat them that way.

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Rule #7: Wipe the Seat

If you pee on the seat, wipe it off. People will be more likely not to pee on the seat if it is already clean because then it is safe to sit on. Plus, it’s gross if you don’t, especially if it’s in your own bathroom.

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Image courtesy of Leigh Kosloski.

Rule #8: Write Letters

There are only a few things that are more awesome than receiving a letter in someone’s own handwriting. In this age of technology, it’s acceptable to be informal with email and private messaging. Send a letter every once in a while, it will do good for your soul and brighten the day of the recipient. Plus it will help the Postal Service stay in business for just a little longer. You also get to exercise handwriting skills. When is that last time you wrote in script? Do you even know how to anymore? It’s almost like a foreign language. Maybe you should learn it (and send me a damn snail mail already)!

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Rule #9: Cry

It’s okay to cry. It’s actually healthy. A Sad movie or YouTube video can trigger the waterworks, so let it. Don’t hold it in. It will make your brain happy.

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Rule #10: Drink Beer

This is another one of those rules that I have no problem imbibing by (did you see my attempt at a very clever pun?). Beer has nutritional value, and, if indulged in moderation, will have excellent effects to your health and overall mood. Don’t believe me? Check it HERE.

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Rule #11: Bathe Daily

Unless you are camping out in the woods, this should be followed religiously. Do I need to say more?

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Rule #12: Talk to Strangers

Unless you are under the age of 14, Stranger Danger shouldn’t be as serious as it was when you were 6. Of course always beware of people you don’t know (as well as some people you do know). Saying Good Morning to a stranger is not only going to make you feel good, but may change the course of someone else’s day.

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Rule #13: Be on Time

If you know me at all then you know that this rule is a constant struggle for me. In recent history I have greatly improved my statistics for being on time, which means showing up exactly at 8 am for work, or catching the train or bus needed to get to my hosts in other counties / states at the exact time they expect my arrival. Being on time is important. It shows that you are reliable and dilligent. Be that. And get a Mickey Mouse watch, because they are simply awesome.

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Rule #14: Be Fearless

My High School varsity basketball coach would always tell me “Have ice in your veins.” What a pep talk! I would get back out on the court with the strength and honor of a thousand buffalo. Yay!

Have you ever wondered what is there really to be afraid of? I try to consider my biggest fear to be myself. I really don’t have any idea what we, as humans, are capable of. Fearing the unknown is a trait that has been learned. I once read an article about a woman who has no amygdala (read HERE), which makes her immune to fear. If only we could learn to control the fear “juice” and extend ourselves beyond the unknown, then we would be limitless, and truly fearless. For now I will just settle for overcoming a fear of Spiders (a fear that my silly ex-boyfriend gave to me). In reality, they aren’t so bad.

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 Rule #15: Try

Another one of my High School mentors was my Chorus teacher. He once gave a short lecture on the word TRY and related it to music as well as life. If you don’t make an effort, then your heart is not really in whatever it is you are doing. If you are passionate about what you are doing, then why not exhaust yourself doing it?

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Rule #16: Stick up for Yourself

This one might be an obvious one, but for me it is certainly a struggle. I am a huge fan of passive aggression and try to avoid confrontation at all costs. I am, however, working on toughening up my skin and have learned that I don’t have to take shit from anybody. In fact, I am learning to give shit back where shit is due.

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Rule #17: Be Happy in Your Work

You will spend most of your life working. Sometimes all you work for is for a paycheck. Sadly, when most of your life is spent simply earning a check, your life will not be a happy one. A paycheck does not determine happiness. Happiness determines happiness.

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Rule #18: Help Others

Holding a door for your neighbor who is carrying a shit load of groceries or helping a stranger with a baby stroller climb the stairs will restore a sense of goodness in humanity as well as make both you and that other person a little more grateful for being alive. Have you ever fed the homeless? Or even played basketball with a friends kid? Helping others is another way to help yourself. We should all learn to do it naturally.

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Rule #20: Call your Mom

Moms worry and they want to hear from you. And when you actually go and see your mom, bring her flowers. She has most certainly earned them.

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Rule #21: Don’t Stare

If you are going to stare, then make it a point not to get caught.

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Rule #22: Watch Less TV

There is a real world out there. I will never understand how people spend their time watching someone else’s life on a reality TV show. Don’t you have your own life to live? TV should be treated like beer: Indulge in moderation.

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Rule #23: Don’t be Wasteful

Your old food can go a long way. Share with nature. Start a mulch pile. Make a bird feeder. Plant a flower garden. There are many ways to “feed the ducks” and it starts with you being environmentally responsible.

Captain Clam grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. He taught me so many things that have changed my perspective on being (even just a little bit) green. We toss old coffee grinds and egg shells in our outside planters (which is really good for the plants, by the way). We use tupperware and wash our zip-lock bags for re-use. We pack our recyclables in separate bags so building management can sort them more efficiently (or the can collectors don’t tear through the bags in haste, causing a nasty, dirty scene on the sidewalk). We use canvas shopping bags and any plastic bags are used for garbage liners or art projects.

Imagine if everyone did stuff like this? Be aware of nature and don’t take it for granted.

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Rule #24: Love

If you truly love, let it be frivolous. Everyone needs love, and if you give love, it will most certainly be returned to you.

I love you.

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Rule #25: Break the Rules

I know, I know. This is a list of rules to follow and the last rule is to break the rules. Obviously some rules are ridiculously dumb and are meant to be broken.  And when you do break a rule, there is some sense of independence and defiance that is completely satisfying. You should always question any rule and play the devil’s advocate, even if you are not the devil. Always question everything. There is no reason anyone should ever tell you how to live your life.

This list was a lot longer when I first started writing. Most of the rules coincided with each other, so it was easy to edit in some ways, and harder to edit in other ways. Some of these items are obvious and already imbedded in our character, and yet some are a struggle or a personal goal that reflects the person we want to one day be. I am not always right, although in my mind I am hardly ever wrong. But when I am wrong, I know it.

My personal take on rules to live by is one of poetic and philosophical gesture. I can sum it up by telling you that you don’t need a book or religion to tell you what to do. You tell yourself what to do as you are your own maker. There are no actual “Rules to Live By” and while some people believe that certain rules are written in stone (literally (just google “Moses”)), there is no such thing. Your set of rules will differ from everyone else’s, but as long as you live a good life (or at least give it your best effort), you will be golden.

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