The Rules to Life
You take the good, you take the bad you put ‘em together and what do you have?
If life came equipped with a giant textbook — one covered in rich fabric and gold lettering with a thick spine that stood out so prominently on your shelf you could locate it backwards while addressing any problem that stood before you (“Ah, awkward encounter with an ex? Yes, yes, let me see. Chapter 5, I have the solution right here!”) then things would be a lot easier. We’d probably learn less, but still. Easier.
Unfortunately, no such book exists. Apparently printing is really expensive these days and no one’s done a fabric cover since Belle made them go mainstream during her melodic soliloquy about libraries and literature. But there does exist a list of 10 rules to life; rules that don’t necessarily solve problems but offer preemptive strikes against 21st century headaches:
Rule #1: Never comment on a Facebook picture.
No matter how dumb your friend looks, how beautiful the sunset is or how cute So-and-so’s baby is, commenting on a Facebook photo is a trap. Until that pic stops proliferating, you, my friend, will be stuck in a cycle of notifications more impossible to exit than a group chat or Chandler Bing’s gym. Save the comments for Instagram and keep Facebook a safe haven of quiet stalking.
Rule #2: Smashing your keyboard or slamming your phone into a wall will not fix the technological problem you’re experiencing.
It seems counterintuitive, but trust me.
Rule #3: Don’t forget that no one can see you typing in an e-mail; take your time.
We’ve become so accustomed to the pressure of a text recipient watching our thoughts formulate via that evil, ticking time bomb of an ellipsis that we’ve forgetten no other forms of communication (save for in-person, perhaps) require such immediate wit. Take your time with an email. Let it marinate. Let the punchline come organically. If it doesn’t, you’ve got one free pass to cry 21st-century “wolf”: “It got lost in my Spam Folder!”
Rule #4: Stop analyzing Instagram “likes” from someone you IRL-like.
Nine times out of ten it doesn’t mean anything.
Rule #5: If you have a lighter, a Band-Aid, a safety pin and a piece of gum, you will always be able to make a friend.
Consider the amount of times someone has asked you for one of the above, then think about all of the times you said no. Missed opportunities. The Boy Scouts knew what was up when they said, “Always be prepared.”
Rule #6: If you want the booth seat, ask for the booth seat.
That moment before all parties are seated is an awkward game of being unnecessarily polite. Everyone wants the booth. …Everyone except someone with a serious bladder problem, and even then they want the booth if there’s a somewhat simple exit strategy. Moral: if you want it, just call it. The booth is like yelling “shotgun” — the slow bird gets the hard chair.
Rule #7: If you forget an umbrella, it will rain. If you bring an umbrella, it will not.
If you bring an umbrella and it rains, the umbrella will break. Don’t argue with science and learn when to admit defeat.
Rule #8: A rule of thumb when drunk: you’ll never regret the text you didn’t send.
A fact of life: you will probably send it anyway. Blame your friend, then delete any evidence on your phone. If you can’t view it, it didn’t happen. Bonus points for deleting only selected parts of the conversation to make yourself appear like the one who truly has his or her shit together. Pray the drunk-text recipient doesn’t screen shot.
Rule #9: A cheap razor is never worth it.
Shortcuts are always met with actual cuts. Whether you forgot your razor while on vacation or you’re at the office wearing natural wool stockings that need to be stripped before a meeting, invest in an emergency razor that actually works to avoid bleeding, irritation, and coworkers pointing out that you missed a spot.
Rule #10: Don’t fall asleep in cabs.
Cabs are deceitfully familiar. They cradle you in comfort after long nights or red eye flights despite the fact that they often smell like soup, and with the window cracked and the soft television glow of Sandy Kenyon on mute, it’s easy to feel as though you’re cozy in bed with the tube left on. But you must stay awake. If not for safety reasons — a friend of mine once woke up to a drug deal between her driver and a stranger about 200 blocks north of home — then because no one in this economy has enough cash or credit to cover the cost of anything over a $30 nap.
Use these rules to guide you through the weekend, or throw them out the window with your 9-5 bra. Either way, add your own, have a wonderful Labor Day and we will see you Tuesday for the kickstart of a week/month dedicated to your favorite topic and mine: burritos. I mean bagels. I mean coffee. JK…FASHION.
Illustrations by Charlotte Fassler