A lot of people will tell you that to be successful as a writer, that
you should always "Write What You Know." Depending on which writers you
talk to, this idea is either lifechangingly brilliant, or pure,
unadulterated, greeting card bullshit. I guess I'd say I stand
somewhere in the middle.
I will admit that in the beginning, I tried to "write what I knew", but
it didn't take me long to realize that I didn't know much about
anything anyone cared about. No worries though; I just decided to
modify the phrasing slightly so it would apply to me, and then used
that as my writing mantra.
So: "Write What You Know" became "Write a few worthwhile paragraphs on
a random topic like before becoming bored and simply cluttering-up the
remainder of the article with irrelevant rants, tiring nonsequitors,
and run on sentences so long that a lot of the time upon reaching the
end you'll be lost entirely and yet too indifferent to care".
All-in-all, I'd say things worked out pretty well so far. Oh, and also,
on a semi-related related note: Below this intro you'll find an article
in which I good-naturedly complain about oddly specific things which
If you could find the time to look through it for me, I'd really be
1. THE PHRASE "YOU BETCHA"
I live in the Midwestern US, so I hear this all the time. From what
I've been able to gather, it's supposed to be a happy-go-lucky hickish
way of saying "you bet". So OK, fine. Whatever. It's pointless and
hokey. That's not what bothers me. What bothers me is that as a
replacement for "you bet", it makes no logical sense whatsoever.
Separate it out: You Betcha = You Bet You? Huh? You bet you? That
doesn't even mean anything! It's common knowledge that "betcha" is an
unofficial contraction of “bet you" (as in "betcha can't do this), so
it would appear that "You Betcha" should mean "You Bet You".The
only problem with that is, "You Bet You" doesn't mean a goddamn thing.
It's nonsense. Is someone being commanded to wager their own life in a
game of chance ("You... Bet You!"), or are they simply being
insistently encouraged to place a bet on something? ("You! Bet! You!).
It's impossible to say for sure.
The only other thing I could think of is that it's supposed to mean
"You Bet Your" as in like, "You bet your sweet ass I will!" except
nobody uses it that way. And even if they did, it seems to me that "You
betcher" would be a far more appropriate made-up contraction, as it
ends with an "R", which makes it sound far more folksy.
Anyway, if you happen to be one of the many people who say "you
betcha", at least promise me you'll think over my proposal. Food for
thought, you know?
2. WHEN PEOPLE SAY "SMILE!"
You know what? I was feeling a little depressed, but
astoundingly enough, it just so happens that the thing which cheers me
up most is being ordered to make various facial expressions by complete
strangers who are apparently unable to mind their own goddamn business.
So I think what I'm trying to say here is: Thank you for brightening my
day, you magnificent, smug, presumptuous bastard. Thank you!
3. USING DRUNKENNESS AS AN EXCUSE FOR BAD BEHAVIOR
I hate to break it to all you alkies out there, but "Sorry, I was
really drunk" is never a valid excuse for anything. Alcohol is not a
mysterious mind-control serum. It is common knowledge that overzealous
alcohol consumption tends to "set free" primordial urges your sober
brain is normally able to repress.
So if, when you drink heavily, you find yourself unable to avoid
partaking in decidedly antisocial activities (sleeping with random
strangers, telling people you know what you really think of them, or
masturbating on the moving walkway at Underwater World again), it's
probably a good idea for you to stay away from alcohol.
When it down to it, saying: "I cheated on my girlfriend, but in my
defense, I was extremely drunk at the time" is really no different from
saying "Sorry I forgot to pick you up at the airport, but in my
defense, I dropped of acid this morning" or "Sure, I bludgeoned my son
to death with a flat-iron before spending several hours sawing his head
off with a soupcan lid, ripped out a bunch of my own teeth with some
pliers, and leapt through our 14th story window while releasing my
bowels and screaming that I was Christ Reborn, but in my defense, I was
on PCP at the time."
So go ahead, get hammered. Get wasted. But when you do, don't expect
your friends to forgive you for shitting all over their coffee table
and attempting to jerk off their nonexistent basset hound just because
you had "a few too many". It's really no excuse.
4. PEOPLE WHO SAY "COUNCIL" INSTEAD OF CONSOLE
"council", it's a console. Console! Conn-Soul. Like that. No
"U" Sound. Get it? Console.
Honestly, it's really not that difficult to understand.
5. BEING REQUIRED TO TUCK IN MY SHIRT
As a lifelong sufferer of "male with disproportionately large gut"
syndrome, I have always resented occupations or social functions in
which shirt-tucking is made mandatory. I realize there might be some
pretty good reasons for the tuck rule, but as you can see from the
above image, the consequences of mandatory, "across-the-board" tucking
can be dire.
Consider this: Behind the shielding drape of an untucked shirt, the
grotesque bulge of a pot-bellied man's abdomen is nearly impossible to
perceive. But if, on the other hand, this very same man is forced to
tuck, a large, undulating cliff of blubber will suddenly be mushed out
in front of him due to the tightening of the belt and the raising of
the waistline which must accompany a properly tucked shirt. I, for one,
fail to see how this look is preferable to an untucked shirt.
And anyway, if you buy the right shirts, an untuck can easily look as
nice as a tuck (if not better). Just look at this:
See what I mean? It looks perfectly fine. So how about it, society? Can
we finally do away with the shirt tucking rule? Let me know what you
6. PEOPLE WHO SAY "SAME SHIT, DIFFERENT DAY" EVERY DAY
Your own actions
are contributing to the very same "daily same-shit-happening-ness"
which you are constantly vocalizing your opposition to.
So cut it out.
Everyone In The Universe
7. WHEN I WRITE MYSELF A NOTE AND LATER I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY I
Whenever I want to make sure I remember something important, or an
interesting idea pops into my head, I like to write it down right away
so I don't forget it. The problem is that a lot of the time I just
crumple these notes up and leave them in my pocket for about a week, so
by the time I find them again, I can't even understand what they mean
or why I wrote them.
And I don't mean due to poor penmanship (pensmanship?) either, they're
perfectly legible. I literally mean that I cannot comprehend the
meaning of the words I wrote, let alone why I would've deemed them
important enough to save.
Look, here: I've got a bunch of them on my desk here, I'll transcribe a
few of the notes word-for-word, honest to god (these are 100% real),
and you see if you can decipher them:
- Call about deadbeat --- also check out that japanese pill image
- A death, there are mourners around. I want to play xbox but feel
it would be disrespectful
- Is sex with a fish beastiality [sic]? what about a shrimp? Whats
the lowest form of life that could be considered beastiality [sic]? for
example certainly nobody would argue that rubbing mussels [sic] or kelp
on one's genitals to achieve orgasm was beastiality [sic]. whats the
- Ask about UNSAFE CARS [underlined]
- Totally not trying to be offensive: whats the etituette [sic] if
person in wheelchair starts a fight with you?
- Brides [bribes?] for small town sheriffs
See what I mean? Those are real! It's like the ravings of an insane
person. And those are just the ones that use complete sentences.
There're plenty more where I've just written a single word or phrase
like "organic bullshit", "pinball?" or "vaporize". I really don't
8. AMERICANS WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT FOREIGNERS NOT BEING ABLE TO SPEAK
English is kind of a shitty language. It's illogical, needlessly
complex, and extremely difficult to learn.
That's why it troubles me when some terrified family flees to the US to
avoid getting their collective faces blown off in some brutal
childsoldier gangbang rape war, only to be greeted by a bunch of
semiliterate, morbidly obese, chain-smoking hillfolk in filthy baseball
caps who work themselves into a rages over the fact that some guy from
another country asked them a question their shrivelled, hayseed brains
had a hard time understanding.
I think what I'm saying here is: Learning english may be hard, but at
least it gives secretly racist white people an excuse to get angry at
9. THE PHRASE "MAN CAVE"
How does it even still exist? It's embarrassing. It really is. You men
should be ashamed of yourselves; allowing an idiotic phrase like that
attributed to our sex. Do you hear me? Fucking ashamed!
10. WHEN PEOPLE EXPECT A "THANK YOU"
I'll just be blunt: If you expect a "thank you" in return for good
deeds you perform, you are a selfish person. What, helping someone out
isn't enough for you? You require verbal praise? A vocal affirmation of
how fantastic and selfless you are? Sounds pretty selfish to me.
Tell me though, are you familiar with the saying "a good deed is its
own reward?" Maybe you are, and maybe you aren't, but in any case, I've
broken down the concept for you in the chart below:
|CITIZEN A||Citizen B's battery is dead.
Citizen A assists by giving their car a jump start.
|Good feelings from having
helped another human being.
|Asking for assistance.||The ability to drive home.|
See how that works out? The whole thing is perfectly balanced. Citizen
A receives a temporarily happiness boost from helping someone in need,
and Citizen B receives a car which now functions. Provided that Citizen
A is a mentally stable, well-rounded person [who does not expect
meaningless platitudes in exchange for every act of kindness],
And sure, while "everybody winning" might sound like the prize of a lifetime, let us not forget that every lifetime, no matter how much winning or failing to win is accomplished in that lifetime, ends in death's sweet embrace.
Or something like that, I guess.