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    Friday, January 11, 2013

    By Lisa Harmon

    I have decided to help you young dopes, I mean, folks, out with a little free advice.  First, remember, advice is worth what you pay for it.

    If you're still reading, you may be beyond hope already.  Here is my advice which I pass along to you since I am very ancient and also a supergenius.  Let me break it down for you:

    How to not get killed:

    Look where you're going.  This may include putting the cellphone down.  Also hand in hand with this is, watch what you're doing.  Add:  don't go anywhere with people you don't know.  And the more recent:  stay away from the subway platform edge.  This should do it.  If you really want to live forever, avoid nitrates (you can try, but everyone comes crawling back to bacon sooner or later, EVERYONE).  BACON!

    How to be a decent human being:

    Calm down.  You don't have to be first.  Be nice to others.  Not overly, because the next thing you know, you'll be cleaning their gutters while they lay in a hammock and drink lemonade*.  But you know, a little nice.  Like hold the door and smile nice.
    Don't judge everybody.  I know you're twenty three and you know everything, but take it easy on people.  Everybody is doing their best, and frankly, some people's best is pretty lame, but, it is their best, and that's all we're ever going to get so no point in going ballistic over it.

    Also, in your future, you will experience vision loss, hearing loss, loss of mobility (as in oy, everything hurts) and guess what, even thinking loss!  Yeah, so lighten up.  Pretty soon you're going to be the doddering annoying asshole that doesn't know what the latest technology is.  You don't want teenagers yelling at you in your twilight years (early 40's), do you????

    How to get people to like you:

    Ask them a fucking question!  Oh my goodness!  Every single person I know blathers on and on and on about their life, their goals, their fancy new shoes.  For chrissakes, take a breath and let someone else get a word in edgewise!  Go ahead, ask them a question!  Pretend you're interested.  Listen to the answer, and then say something that shows you were listening.  It isn't that difficult!

    How to put furniture together:

    Fuck that.  Call a neighborhood kid and give him some money to do it.  If you're short of cash usually a joint will work as payment.  If you don't have a neighborhood kid, you're going to have to bite the bullet and buy some grown-up furniture.  It is already put together and it actually makes your apartment look like well-adjusted adults live there.

    How to give a cat a pill:

    This is a myth, like a unicorn or rich guy that loves fat girls.  This has never happened so don't go thinking you're going to be the one to figure it out.  If you must attempt to give your cat a pill, have a tourniquet at the ready, and dial 9 and 1 on your phone beforehand, just to be safe.  After the blood loss, you'll be lucky if you still have the strength to press the final 1 before passing out.  Oh that reminds me, also unlock the door, so EMS doesn't have to break it down to get you out (while your cat laughs and spits out the pill triumphantly gloating at your pasty soon-to-be-corpse).

    How to be married:

    This is tricky.  Not only do you have to be nice, but your spouse is always there.  In your apartment.  No downtime!  You have to be friendly, funny and considerate all the time.  The key is always being grateful.  For example, if I wasn't married, I'd be considered a crazy cat lady.  Technically I'm still a crazy cat lady, but add the husband, and poof, the stigma disappears!

    I thank my husband for this on a daily basis.  BJs also help (if your spouse is a man).  For those married to a lady, there's almost no transgression a nice piece of (real) jewelry can't fix.  Except cheating.  That can't be fixed.  And don't say no one will know.  You will know.  And knowing that is like knowing you spilled soda on the new carpet.  You cleaned it up, and no one can see it, but you'll always know the carpet is soiled and you'll never treat it the same as when it was nice and new.  So keep it in your pants!

    How to not be broke:

    Get a damn job already!  Sure, we're all the next Richard Pryor.  But till then we still need toothpaste, tampons and bacon (see "How not to get killed" above).  Spend less than you make.  Put the rest in the bank.  Stop worrying about buying shit and start worrying about when you get to be about 60 and you don't feel like riding that fucking train every morning.  Get to it.  Being broke sucks but being broke and old sucks so much more.  So much more!!!

    How to be (an unsuccessful) comedian:

    As far as my stand-up "career" no one really asks me how I do it.  Usually the question I get asked is "Why do you do it?!?!"  Usually with a bit of exasperation thrown in at the end.  OK but if you still want my (free aka worthless) advice, here it is:

    This is the same as real life - don't be a dick.  Advice that's good everywhere, unless you happen to find yourself in a urinal or a vagina.  Then its good to be a dick.  Otherwise, knock it off.

    Write a joke.  Setup, punch.  It is not a mystery.  Yes you're very angry and yes that's a potentially funny idea, but nothing is going to happen until you WRITE THE JOKE.

    Don't blow the light.  Be professional.  Show up on time.  When you introduce another act, don't say anything after you say their name.  The name is the last thing you say, then the crowd starts clapping so don't fuck it up by continuing to talk!  Jeezus where's your damn timing?

    Work on your act all the time and READ some books.  You're not a trailblazer, ok?  Plenty of people have made this trip.  Read their damn stories and learn something about your business.

    There you have it!  If you follow this advice, you too can become an unpaid New York City comedian with a happy family comprised of yourself, a long-suffering spouse, and cats that never have to take pills.  I may not be a giant success like Kim Kardashian, but I am sorta kinda happy, and now, you can sorta kinda be happy too!

    Good luck!  If I've helped you in any way, please share your story.  If you've followed this advice to disastrous results, let me just say this - I have no legal liability, so stop calling me!

    Get to it!  Good luck!  Be happy!  And thanks for reading!

    *Or if you're not cleaning their gutters, they may have you running out for bendy straws.  There is nothing worse than getting your cool beverage all ready to enjoy from your nifty hammock and you don't have any bendy straws.  The key to enjoying a beverage from any kind of reclined position is bendy straws.  Bendy straws are everything!

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