Life, The User’s Guide

Life doesn’t come with a monitor, a keyboard and a 2.4Mhz cpu. It doesn’t come pre-loaded with an operating system and it doesn’t come with instructions. Dammit to hell! There are plenty of times when we need to know how to respond, what to do, where to go and why the hell doesn’t this fit? All of these questions, not to mention World Peace are left to our own resources. So, if we’re to be successful in this life for which there is no really good escape, we’ll need some basic attributes in order to cope.

System requirements: We don’t have cords. We don’t have tabs or slots. Luckily, we come pre-assembled. Of course, this is not to be confused with dressing ourselves, which for some, is like bungee jumping without the rubber band! If you’re one of these poor souls, you look like the airlines have lost your luggage and you’ve had to borrow Uncle Mortimer’s old clothes. He doesn’t need them anymore, he’s dead. Aunt Edith says you can keep them. You’re pleased. This is a bad thing!

If we’re to move past the basics we’re going to need some tools:

A sense of humor:

  • When the cat coughs a hairball onto your newly cleaned rug, taking the cat to the taxidermist is probably not going to get the stain out of the carpet!
  • When your boys pee on the floor of the bathroom and you discover this because you’re wearing socks; they can’t be traded for a new coffeepot.
  • When your wife informs you in an almost mocking tone of voice that “Homoerectus” is an oxymoron, your mother will be of no help. She said the same thing to your father!

A deep and unabiding faith:

  • Murphy lives at your house. He doesn’t eat much, but he’s hell on dishes, lamps, and all irreplaceable things.
  • Your faith will be tested when you are out of work for any period of time and you list “taking frequent showers” as a hobby. That’s when you know that you’ve been out of work for a very long time.
  • Your faith will be tested by your children when you find you’ve been replaced by pierced body parts, baggy pants, the X-Box, Playstation, and the word “Dude.”
  • Your faith will be tested when you pray. You’ll do all of the talking! After all, if all you wanted were to hear yourself talk, you would have become Rush Limbaugh.

A good sense of timing:

  • Try not to show it when you suddenly want to know where is the worm that made the hole in the apple you just took a bite of?
  • Never puke on a policeman’s shoes. This is a dead give-away that you may not be completely alcohol free.
  • Never try to zip your zipper before you’re done peeing. This is often both painful and messy! Never, not ever answer the question, “Do I look fat in this?”

A strong sense of decorum:

  • You might not score a lot of style points if you start a food fight in the executive lunchroom? Decorum is completely obliterated by flatulation in any form at a funeral? (Only if the corpse does it. Maybe.)

An inquiring mind:

  • You want to know what happened before the “Big Bang?” Did someone light a match?
  • You’re really trying to understand why you can’t get the new Florida quarter and it’s really pissing you off.
  • You want to know the secret to long life. You’re so broke, you’re going to need a few extra years. You want to know why, as your wife goes through menopause, you find your family pets hiding in out of the way places, like at the neighbors next door. You probably should take a head count.

A pulse:

  • If you’re dead, you’re probably not reading this.
  • If you’re dead, you probably don’t care.
  • If you’re dead, your Wednesday bowling night has been indefinitely postponed!
  • If you’re dead, your children have all of your stuff. This is not different from when you were alive. You just can’t bitch now!
  • If you’re dead, your wife may already be sleeping with another man or worse, she’s still sleeping with you and doesn’t know the difference!

FAQ There is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Some however, cannot be answered. “What happened to the first fifty years?” comes to mind. “How can I return my children, all I want is a store credit” is also a tough one!

Tests There is a test at the end, although no one knows the subject matter, whether it’s written or oral, whether the test is timed and what the pass/fail line is. It has been rumored that the test is graded on a really big friggin’ curve!

note: The manual is still being prepared, but in the interest of safety, I’ve decided to release as much of it as I can, as it becomes available!

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