Should I die from heat stroke in hot yoga class I am being forced to take tomorrow by my alleged “friends” here is a list of ten of the most important life lessons I want you to remember.
1) DON’T be a sh** head.
Don’t be a sh** head is actually the only piece of advice you will ever need in life. A sh** head can best be summed up as a person who thinks they are better than everyone and therefore can act however they want without taking into account the feelings of others. Just think about it: ISIS, filled with sh**heads. Nazis, sh**heads. Westboro Baptist Church, sh**heads. That girl in fourth grade that invited everyone in the class but you to her birthday party, sh** head. and her parents are also sh**heads.
You will, unfortunately, find sh**heads everywhere, they will be in your school, on your sport teams, sitting beside you in the movie theatre, the coffee shop, on the train, the airplane, the beach, maybe even at Thanksgiving dinner.
2) DON’T ever think you know the whole story. The truth is while some people are born sh**t heads, most are made that way by either crappy parenting or crappy events in their life. You never really know when someone acts unkindly to you what else is going in his/her life so give people a second chance, then if they are still a sh**head, move on.
3) DON’T let anyone push you around. If some stupid bully on the playground hits you, hit them back. I know, I know, your teacher says, “Use your words.” Great. Here are some words to use (try to say this with a low and gravelly voice, like Liam Neesen), “Listen jerk, I don’t want to hurt you, but if you hit me again I will hit you back and you won’t like it.” Now, if they hit you again, hit them back, hard. You tried to warn them, you used your words, it didn’t work.
4) DON’T ever say, “I would NEVER…” The truth is, we don’t know what we would say or do in certain situations; what words we might say or how we might act. Don’t be too quick to judge others. There are circumstances in life that cause us to become strangers even to ourselves.
5) DON’T do drugs. Seriously, have you ever seen this particular life choice work out well for anyone? Ever? Elvis? Whitney Houston? Michael Jackson? The Rolling Stones? Ok, well maybe the Rolling Stones, but that’s it.
Onto the 5 DO’s:
6) DO check your teeth, feet and fly before leaving the restroom. Teeth: for wayward pieces of broccoli; feet: for pieces of toilet paper that are quietly and grossly trailing along behind you and fly: to make sure it’s up and you don’t look like a creep.
And don’t forget to discreetly tell your friends when they have something stuck in their teeth or if their fly is down. What kind of a sh**head wouldn’t tell their friend when something was in their teeth? Wouldn’t you want to know? Isn’t that what a true friend does? Tells you when something isn’t quite right. Helps you out in a jam. Steps on that nasty piece of paper stuck to your shoe before you get back to your date. Now that’s a true friend.
7) DO pass the ball. PASS THE DAMN BALL! And I don’t mean to your best friend or the star player on the team, I mean pass it to that kid that will probably miss it. The one who might fumble. Throw it to him/her and if they miss it, no big deal, this isn’t the NFL or the NBA. They just want a chance. Everyone wants to be a part of the team.
8) DO surround yourself with people you can be yourself with. So here’s the harsh truth: you tend to make mistakes, you are sort of strange and sometimes you smell. You are no different than anyone else, and you better be with the people or person who will love you through all of that. I recently read about a woman who said she could never pass gas in front of her spouse because it would ruin their romance. Seriously? I have been married for almost twenty-five years and personally, I just don’t have the energy to hold in all of the bad parts of me all of the time. I’m not saying to let yourself completely go and sit around all day drinking beer and blowing gas in your grease-stained sweatpants, I’m saying once in a while the ugly and smelly come out, and you need to accept it and move on. It’s life. It’s human. It’s you. It’s all of us.
9) DO say yes when someone asks you to dance. It takes a lot of courage to get up the nerve to ask someone to dance. They aren’t asking you to marry them; it’s just a dance for Christ sake! So, don’t be a sh**head, dance!
10) DO listen to old people once in a while. We know a few things. We have had hookups and breakups. We have done mean things and done the right things. We have been drunk and high, and woke the next morning full of regret. We thought we knew the whole story, only to find out later that we didn’t actually know the story at all. We have worked up the courage to ask someone to dance only to be rejected. We have tried to hold in the stinky parts of us, only to realize we cannot. We have known sh** heads and we have been sh** heads. We know.
(This post originally ran on Ten to Twenty Parenting)
About Anne Sawan: I am a mother of five, a psychologist and author. I have four books published through MeeGenuis (The Halloween Costume, The Baseball Game, When Santa Was Small and The Great Adventure Brothers) as well as having written several articles for Adoptive Families, Adoption Today and Brain-Child Magazine. I also recently won the International Picture Book Contest held by Inclusive Works for my book, “What Can Your Grandmother Do?” which will be published by Clavis Publishing some time this year. You can find more at Anne’s site!