Bound to Be Broken

Keep bank deposit/withdrawal slips, leave cuticles alone, don’t go to Crumbs anymore, brush dog’s teeth, irony withdrawal, stay in time zone, stay off CNN, don’t make stupid jokes such as a goose with sex-change surgery is transgander, don’t make jokes at all except for old man at a bar trying to pick up a girl with opening line “Hey, sweetheart, do I come here often?,” stay to the right on sidewalks, finally look up “mansard roof,” do some selfless things and don’t add “for other people” to this series item, think less about whether doing selfless things is even possible because, if you think about it, without a self you couldn’t really do much of anything, find joy in the little things, like the Higgs boson, do not tell the “moogli” joke ever again and if you do, for God’s sake don’t preface it with “This is the funniest joke I ever heard; I had to leave a party because I was laughing so hard, and I almost threw up on the sidewalk,” don’t tell the joke about the two merchants who meet on the road between Minsk and Pinsk, be nice, don’t tell the joke about how many WASPs does it take to change a light bulb (but give in while making this list: “One”),  try not to laugh when the the guy on the other end of the robocall says, with his Mumbai accent, “Hi, Robert, this is Scott calling,” dispose of Christmas tree before 2/1, hold out against air-kissing, be patient with the old lady in front of you in the checkout line who out of loneliness engages the checkout person in long conversation while fishing in her purse for five minutes for the penny that would keep her from getting four pennies in change, refuse to say “artisanal,” “iconic,” and “selfie,” remember that slide shows are for family and not even them,  do not fist-bump if you are over 30,   and when it comes time for Christmas tips next year, remember, as you’ve just learned, that one of the doormen in your building, if you’re lucky enough to have a building, to say nothing of a doorman, has five children, works from 8 to 5 in your building, and then cleans offices downtown for four more hours before going home.

Daniel Menaker is the Editor of Grin & Tonic. His memoir, My Mistake, was recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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