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Edward Phillips

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Top 10 Things to Avoid Doing…Now and Forever
By Edward Phillips
Friday, July 24, 2015

Rated "G" by the Author.

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For you purists, I am calling this posting a “proclamation,” which is neither a story nor an article. I might have called it a “Tale of unending wisdom,” but there was no category for that either. Perhaps we also need a new category labeled “Liars Unanimous.”


Top 10 Things to Avoid Doing…Now and Forever

My first impulse after settling in on a topic for this proclamation was to state boldly my number one item to avoid doing, namely, “Stop making top 10 lists,” and then repeat that bit of sage advice nine more times. But that would have taken away all the fun of giving advice that no one has asked for, no one wants, and every one is likely to ignore. My second impulse was to make a list of 10 items that should never be on a list of any kind. But that would surely have put you into a yawning mood, and just the thought of boring you hurts my feelings. No, instead I opted for making a legitimate list of those activities that I sincerely believe will help you the next time you ask yourself that burning question that has haunted humanity since time immemorial: “What should I avoid doing today?” With that said, brace yourself for the most inglorious ride down the slippery slope to nowhere. And do not despair. Indeed, be proud: Alaska his its bridge; now you have your slope.

1. Do not compare yourself to others. This is less profound than you might think. After all, do you really know anyone who even begins to compare with you? Of course not. You are smarter, stronger, wiser, better looking, and a generally all-around good sport about almost everything. Can anyone measure up to that? No way. Embrace “the you” that you have come to know and love, and move on.

2. Do not compare others to still others. You’ll have to admit: This is a first cousin to number one. Who needs a degree in psycho-babble to know that exploring the middle ground between “tweedle dee” and “tweedle dum” is a waste of your time and mine. To be brutally honest about it, from up there on your perch, they all look alike anyway. Just continue to look down on your congregation, avoid eye-to-eye contact, speak pejoratively about them, and that alone will keep them in their place. Ultimately, it is all about “you” versus “them.” No need to divide and conquer the already vanquished.

3. When in doubt, act first and think later. This is sometimes incorrectly called a “knee-jerk reaction.” ‘Tain’t so. Before there was the knee-jerk reaction, there was the wisdom of “he who hesitates is lost.” Aha! No need to get caught up in contradictions. Besides, you have science on your side. Remember way back there in those infantile days when your science teacher tried to teach you what you already knew? Recall “Never change from one paradigm to another without good and sufficient reasons.” Now you remember. And nobody has ever topped the wisdom in hesitating and losing. Stick with it.

4. Never keep a secret. When anyone tells you something “in confidence,” that only means you’ve got the goods on him. “Bank it, then yank it” when the time is ripe. Even Donald Trump was smart enough to tell the world Lindsey Graham’s private cell phone number after that little twerp called the Donald a “jackass.” There is no need to get mad when you can get even. Taking the lid off secrets has a way of leveling the playing field.

5. Never say “I’ll still love you in the morning.” Of course you won’t. You don’t love her (or him) now. Let your “one nighter” believe whatever he or she wants to believe. It’s all part of the fun. Besides, with a little fantasy running around in that cute little head, the action gets better! Better to have loved under false pretenses, than to have lied and to have gotten more phone calls the next day and the next than you can handle.

6. Never mention that you carry a Taser gun. Why spoil the fun? Nothing can get you laughing longer or louder than zapping someone with 50,000 volts than does a good taser jab in the buttocks when they are not looking. The hilarity clears your head, rejuvenates your soul, and gets you ready for anything for at least 2 hours. And the sight of someone writhing in anguish on the ground is like winning a battle without having to fight it. Trust your taser.

7. Never use a double negative. Using a double negative is confusing, but it is not nearly as confusing as not using a multiple negative, not now, not ever. Some people are clever enough to corner you with a direct and clear question that, if answered honestly could ruin your reputation for being evasive. Don’t let that happen. Memorize this: “I don’t recall of never having said that to nobody, no way, no how.” You can always say later that you were misquoted.

8. Never give money to any cause. And don’t even write a check that will bounce. Write a pledge. It looks like you are writing a check. And be vague in your pledge. Don’t promise when you can obfuscate with words like “perhaps,” or "some day,” or my favorite, “when hell freezes over.” That is always good for a laugh. Using your pen with vanishing ink also helps. Then forget about the whole thing.

9. Never stand up for anyone. When it looks like someone is going to trick you into standing in their presence, here’s how to outsmart them, Buy a few medals for valor, and keep them in your pocket. The Purple Heart, a Silver Star, and Congressional Medal of Honor will do. Also have your retractable cane with you. Then when that judge appears and some flunky says “All rise,” you stay put. Just slap those Velcro medals on your chest, pop that cane, and dare them to call you out.

10. Never say never. Some scoundrel will always remember the day you said you would never do something that you really intend to do or deny. And when you do it, he will spring a “gotcha” on you. When asked to pledge to never do or say something, reply this way: “It is my privilege and patriotic duty to stand with those united around this most worthy cause, and, in the absence of contravening events, or when supported by conditions that show promise and inspiration, you can expect me to be there.” Even I don’t know what that means.


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Reviewed by Ronald Hull 7/25/2015
Sure looks like an article to me. But more people read stories than articles, right?

You should be a standup comedian. If you practice your delivery of these gems, you could bring down the house at the local comedy club.

Keep up the good work. Your thinking cap is on straight.

Reviewed by Eva Pasco 7/24/2015
I'm good with your list. I'd like to add one that's part of a "code": Don't get mad; get even.
Reviewed by J. Roseline 7/24/2015
O that was quite something to savour. enjoyed each line. There is much sense in what you say. I agree and reading it is any day bettter than many sunday sermons. I proclaim. It is not the fault of the clergy. I understand they dont have the freedom to speak their mind like we people do. They need to abide by the rules in place. Agree?
Reviewed by Jane Noponen Perinacci 7/24/2015
Good list! I will save it.

Love ya!

Reviewed by Lark Pogue 7/24/2015
Although I loved every word of this, I will admit that I am going out to buy a taser first thing. Calling my husband 'lisrlips' is no longer getting the reaction I want and a taser is the perfect solution. The second thing I am doing is sending this to all the people I know who read, and that is not my husband.

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