Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Self-help Lessons

By a frustrated SonDog

I find that one of the most mind-numbing experiences you can have in this playground called "life" is sitting through a four-hour seminar to discuss common-sense practices from a self-help guru. My favorite aspect is the immediate feeling you get while leaving the class. Some people call this sensation, relief. If I'm "energized" in the least, it's because I don't have to listen to Dr. Soandso another minute.

Why is it that a person needs to depend on somebody else to tell them how to live their life? I hate to ask such a rhetorical question, but this really boggles my mind, and just begs for said rhetorical question. I've gone nearly brain-dead pondering an answer.

For example: Women's magazines tell gals how they should act and dress under every circumstance imaginable. "If you are in the middle of an underwater basketweaving class, and you make eye-contact with the instructor (who just happens to be the man of your dreams), then by all means refrain from talking about your menstrual cycle on your first date."

Are you a great guy-reader? No? Let me tell you something: We're not that hard to figure out. Guess what? Guys like boobs.

Example II: Men's health magazines tell guys what they need to do if they want to become Batman, Superman, or Spiderman. To paraphrase a recent article in a men's fitness guide, "Be the man, act like the man, and ladies will succumb to the snap of your fingers simply from the aroma of your manliness. All you need to have is 1) A penis 2) A brain 3) The body of Michelangelo's sculpture, 'David'."

As Mark Twain once said, "Be careful about reading self-help books. You may die of a misprint."

Sadly, magazines are just one aspect of this quest for for-the-love-of-God-somebody-else-help-me-figure-this-out-improvement. We are bombarded on a daily basis by self-help doctors selling snake oil. In the class I attended, I swear I heard the instructor say, "Trust me, if you follow these simple steps, your life will be fulfilled and we as a society can move one step closer to a veritable utopia."

In theory, these self-help lessons are fantastic. In theory, so is communism.

The people of Russia didn't think the "theory" worked well in "practice"

Thus, in the interest of being as pretentious as possible while being an absolute hypocrite, I will help you, my loyal reader, by outlining the Important Seven Habits of Reasonable People:

Habit 1: You do not talk about Fight Club -- Oh, wait. Sorry. Wrong list.

Habit 1: Don't be an idiot -- This habit is all-encompassing of the habits below. That is to say, failure to adhere to any of the habits below will cause you to fail Habit 1. While this principle sounds pretty simple to follow, it is amazing how many people fall into the "idiot" category. After hours of extensive research, I found that 98% of the population on Earth can be classified as "idiot." It's just science. Most people don't even realize they are an idiot. The key to not falling into the "idiot" category is to simply not be stupid. If one is "stupid," it is not a stretch to believe that said person is also an "idiot." However, if you can overcome the temptation to be "stupid," then there is a strong chance that you won't become an "idiot." Do you follow where I'm going here?

This theory (Stupid + Any Form of Communicating= Idiot) was developed many years ago by Dutch scientist, Hiram P. Jackass. Coincidentally, the word "idiot" is Dutch for "Roaming Elephant's Butthole." The fact of the matter is that you really don't want to be an "idiot."

Habit 2: Shut your pie-hole until you know what's going to come out of it -- I must admit, I am guilty of not following this habit from time to time. We all have moments where we get a little verbal diahhrea. Usually, it comes after a couple of drinks. However, it's amazing how often this happens in a non-intoxicated state. There are a couple of levels to this condition.

First, is there anything more annoying than listening to a person who is rambling nonsensically? In the immortal words of Matt Foley, "Callete su grande yapper!" unless you know exactly what you are going to say. Think things through. If you don't have anything important to say, then don't say anything. Honestly, nobody will care. Remember, IT'S NOT IMPORTANT. If you don't shut it, you're at risk of looking like an idiot. That, of course, would be a violation of Habit 1. With two strikes against you, you're one strike away from being ostracized.

Second, I don't think there is anything more frustrating than when a person tells you something, then moments or days later they say to you, "Well, I didn't really mean that. It came out wrong. I don't want you to think that's really what I meant." Um, if you didn't mean it, then why did you say it? You meant it at the time, right? Well, it was a waste of air, and now you look like an idiot. Guess what? That's two strikes.

Habit 3: Do unto others as you would like to be done unto -- Especially in bed. Our society is much happier when this principle is followed. I try to work on this habit as much as is humanly possible.

Habit 4: You do not talk about... -- DAMNIT!

Habit 4: Be sortof good at doing grammar, and with people try and talk good too -- Really, it's not that difficult. Remember grammar school? Hello? It's right in the name... GRAMMAR. Unless you slept through the entire semester of fifth-grade English, you should have some basic principles that allow you to communicate coherently. If you are still concerned, then there are two things you can do: 1) Proof everything you write. 2) Speak above a third-grade level.

I cannot express enough the importance of this habit. If you feel you may be lacking in this area, then pick up a text book and give yourself a refresher course. Seriously. I'm not even close to kidding. Go, right now, and pick up a text book. DO IT!!!! I'll be here when you get back.

Habit 5: Be able to laugh at yourself -- Because if you can't, there is a good chance somebody else is laughing at you for being too serious. This has nothing to do with insecurities, nor is it to say that you should laugh uncontrollably like a fool. However, if you can't laugh at yourself, then you probably think you are infallible. Nice to meet you, Jesus. This, of course, leads us right to the next habit...

This douchebag has violated every... single... habit. Um, yeah, Tom? People aren't laughing "with" you, okay?

Habit 6: You're not perfect, so don't act like you are -- Pretty self-explanatory, but by calling right now, you get the following Habit 6 bonus rules:
1) It only looks good if you wear it well
2) Make sure you have mirrors in your house
3) Experience doesn't mean anything if you constantly violate habits 1 and 2
4) The world doesn't owe you anything. It was here first. (Thank you, Mark Twain)
5) If you dont' think youv'e ever made a mitsake, then yore making mistake by breathed in our air

Habit 7: Don't be's somebodi you aint -- For real, yo. I aint playin' wicha. I aint mad fool, 'cause I know it be part of the game 'n all, but you best regulate you's style. Word? Homeboy knows not to hate the playa', but to hate the game. But when you's shant be part of the game, then it be ova! Fo' shizzle? If you aint up wid it, then email dis balla at

Aight homies, I'm out. Peace up in V-town.


OZ said...

98% might be a little low.

All I can pull from is life experiencw but that number has to be 99.9%, with most of the exceptions being dead.

Anonymous said...

Very good point by socjoc. It has to be closer to 99%

Anonymous said...

I feel that a rambling of such outstanding proportions deserves some well thought out feed back. (Well, maybe some not so well thought out feedback.)

Since Habit number one clearly states that 98% of the population on earth can be classified as "idiot," I felt it was important to develop a reference on how one should deal with said "idiot."

Opposition #1: Identifying an Idiot -- Since most said "idiots" are wandering around earth unaware of their malfunction, it is important that the other 2% of the population have a way to weed out the "idiots" and find the few people that will understand the words that are coming out of their mouths.
This is simple: To do this all you need to do is sit down at a restaurant and watch. When people get the bill, can they figure out how much they should tip the waiter? If they sit there for more than a few moments with their forehead in their hands: conclusion = "idiot"
Now, there are some "idiots" that find a way around this dilemma by using a cell phone calculator or something of the sort: conclusion = resourceful idiot.

Opposition #2: Dealing with an Idiot -- Now this one can be touchy, as you don't want to come across as the person who thinks they're perfect. This plan is simple, and if I do say so myself, it's genius. Just ask them to lick their elbow... If they're an "idiot" they'll try it... and continue to try even after they discover it's not possible. I like to picture them at home trying to do it in front of the mirror... they think that maybe, just maybe, if they contort their body like that man they saw in the box... it can happen.