I was challenged to write a very over the top, tongue-in-cheek post about advice. Apologies for the profanity.
Throughout the annals of history, advice has been given and taken away more times than Socrates complained of a breeze up his toga. And believe me when I say this, you know when you have a breeze up your toga. Nothing says “Good morning” like a chill wind on the undergrowth of the scrotum! Well, except for someone actually saying, “Good morning”. Kind of hard to beat that really. Toga or no.
Some advice is good – “don’t eat yellow snow”, “do unto others”, “when in doubt, whip it out”, etc. Some advice is not so good –“you should invade Russia in winter”, you should get on that plane, Buddy Holly”, “when in doubt, whip it out”. But as long as there are people needing advice, there will be even more people waiting and willing to give it.
I, myself, have received plenty of advice. And there is a great possibility I actually listened to some of it. I said listened. I didn’t say I acted on that advice. To give it is one thing, to have someone accept that advice as true words of wisdom and not just the words of someone who thinks he is better than you because he’s done something you haven’t, is a completely different matter. As the old saying goes, you can lead a man to a whorehouse but getting him to the dentist is another matter”. No wait, I think it’s “you can lead a horse to water but getting the fucker to play water polo is up for debate”. Yeah, that looks about right.
I’ve probably received more advice than I can remember. Actually, given my suspect memory for all things not “me” or breast related, I don’t think I could actually give you an example of the advice I’ve received. One time at work nearly 20 years ago now I did have a supervisor say, “you’ve been here a week, don’t expect to know where everything is already. We don’t. Relax.” That I listened to. For a whole day. Took that shit onboard and wore it like one of Mr T’s medallions around my neck. Cursed myself out the next day when I couldn’t find something first time of asking. Was going to give myself some advice but someone proceeded to drive a forklift into a wall. Driving a forklift into a wall is seriously funny business (no one was hurt). Makes not finding stuff seem really insignificant. Yeah, so there’s some free advice for you, “it’s all pretty small shit once someone drives a forklift into a wall.” You’re welcome.
As far as my writing is concerned, I am not sure if I’ve ever received any advice. There have probably been the token gestures, kind of like getting a girl’s phone number at the bar after you’ve talked to her all night and bought a few drinks, even though she has no desire to pick up the phone when a number she doesn’t recognise appears on the screen. But hey, that’s her prerogative. And much better than her giving you a number she just made up. Calling those numbers and ending up with a little old lady answering the phone is heartbreaking. For the old lady. She knows she’s got some young hunk on the other end of the line looking for a little something-something but your calendar is too full to meet her at bingo so she can show you how adept she is handling a phallic-shaped object in her hands. She’s heard the old adage, “If not for the hip, I’d be willing to dip.” Life, huh? Anyways, the token writing advice; “Write for yourself”, “Write what you know”, “Jack Daniels and prostitutes always lead to incredible stories”, etc. All pretty self-explanatory really. I mean, if you’re going to give me advice, at least make it worthwhile.
And of course, I’ve probably not received advice when I could probably have used it. Having said that though, I wouldn’t go back to 15 year old me and tell him some valuable lessons. If I did that, I doubt I’d be as awesome as I am today. Seriously. I’m awesome. Well, my mom thinks so and she’s better than you so I’m listening to her. And my dad could probably beat up your dad. So there! Insert tongue-sticking-out emoticon here!! I have learned from the lessons I endured because I didn’t heed advice or receive advice I needed. “That which does not kill you can lead to other STDs”, or so the old saying goes. Never once did my dad tell me, “if the shoe fits, put it on and jump out the window before her husband finds you.” Likewise, he never told me, “if you’re wearing thin pants, don’t get the lap dance.” This is stuff I might have needed to know. But I turned out okay. Nervous twitches and conspiracy theories aside. Not to mention my unhealthy fascination with Lego.
All things considered, the advice you take leads to the advice you make. Just like, as Smoky the Bear would say, “only you can prevent forest fires”, only you can “take the words of someone else and pretend you actually care about them.” And at times you should care. Not all the time, but at least 2% of time. Or something ridiculously high like that. When someone says “here’s my two cents worth”, that is usually not the time. Throw a nickel at his head and tell him to keep the change.
But here’s some of that 2% of advice you’ll need to listen to in your life. And you need to share it to those too young or cool to read this blog. I was that way once. I had Charlie Sheen on speed dial and we were both “Winning”. So here it is; “life sucks, buy a fucking helmet”. Granted, I stole that from Denis Leary, and sometimes it isn’t all that bad, but best let the youngsters out there know that it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. Unicorns don’t shit Lucky Charms, and there might come a day in the near future when Tony the Tiger is the only tiger people will ever get to see. Vampires don’t sparkle and survive solely on venison. And Milla Jovovich isn’t always going to be around to rid the world of zombies. And most importantly, while the sun does rise the next day, in some cases it’s too cloudy or hazy or smoggy to see it. You won’t see those rainbows you’re expecting either. The only flying horses you’ll find are on the carousel at the carnival operated by a man who smells like cabbage and probably has fingernails under his dirt, and your mom and dad once enjoyed sex probably more than you do! Or will! Deal with it.
One last thing, and possibly the only thing I would tell 15 year old me, it might be best to avoid telling a girl you’ve just met “you’d love to tongue her hoop.” Not too many ways to take the conversation from there!