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Just Don’t Be An Asshole…

February 1, 2012

I was driving my kids to gymnastics the other day, and I found myself sitting in severe traffic on the Garden State Parkway.  As it turns out, there was a three car collision that resulted in the death of a middle-aged woman.  I don’t know any other details.  No, I don’t know exactly how old she was.  And no, I don’t know if she was married or whether she had kids or not.  What am I, a reporter?  (And when did this stop being about me?)

Anyway, so this became one of those moments, and they really aren’t all that infrequent, where you tend to think about your own fragile mortality.  “There but for the grace of God…”.  You know, all that nonsense.  Specifically this time I got to thinking about my kids, and what my untimely demise might mean to them.  Of course there are the financial concerns and such, but what really stuck with me was that these two kids would be deprived access to the great bank vault of knowledge and philosophical wonder that is my brain (Sarcasm…Or is it?) So I thought these things MUST be put in writing the very next chance I had.  In fact, to not do so would be a parenting blunder of epic proportions.  Imagine if no one bothered to record the musings of men like Socrates, Galileo and Corey Haim before they were taken from this Earth.    Where would we be then, huh?  So without any further self-inflation of my ego, I give to you, my children, the manifesto of a man who passes on knowledge, because in the area of inheriting money and good looks, well, you are shit out of luck.   So pay attention:

– You were not born special.  Sorry, but you weren’t.  Be thankful that you were born healthy, and to a family that loves you.  Other than that, you are not extraordinary…yet.  Self-esteem is not an entitlement, it is earned.  In fact ,as a child, you are not entitled to ANYTHING other than a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food to eat.  Everything is else falls upon you to earn.

–  Never underestimate the power of honesty.   Far more damage is usually done by lying to protect someones feelings, rather than being honest with them from the very beginning, no matter how painful that particular truth might be.  You owe people honesty, not good news.

– Never apologize for your opinion, no matter how unpopular it may be.  The most influential people in the history of the world have become so by not subscribing to popular belief.   Never assume the masses are correct.  That kind of faith in humanity is reserved for a humanity that is more deserving of it.  You know, a humanity that doesn’t get all of it’s world news from People magazine and isn’t infatuated with overly made up fat slutty girls on MTV.

–  Respect authority, but don’t ever follow it blindly.  In any situation, you have the right to ask “Why?”  (Except when it’s me or your mother.  Then shut up and do as your told.)

–  Regardless of what everyone around you is doing, you are to always, always, ALWAYS, root for the Miami Dolphins.  If you are not at the Meadowlands at least once a year, wearing a Dolphins jersey and telling every Jets fan in the place to go fuck themselves, then you are spitting on the memory of your dead father.  Non-negotiable…

–  Everyone is looking out for themselves.  Everyone.  And if someone, outside of your family, appears to have your best interest at heart,  they are most likely in a position to gain from whatever that interest may be.  When the day comes that you find a person that genuinely places your interest before their own, marry them.  Immediately.  And speaking of marriage…

–  Be straight, be gay, be undecided.  I don’t give a damn.  But don’t you dare spend one second of your life in a closet.  Again, all you owe anybody is honesty.  And the first person you need to be honest with every day is yourself.   Anyone who has a problem with that can go straight to hell…

–  Learn karate.  Just in case a message needs to be sent to anyone who seems to have a problem with any of your life choices.  Regardless of what anyone may tell you, every once in a while as a last resort, violence is the answer…

–  You are going to have to find quality music.  The nonsense the radio and MTV will spoon feed you is garbage.  Like rare jewels, the good ones are always the hardest to find…

–  Participation trophies are for pussies.  Don’t ever accept one.  Want accolades and awards?  Work harder and be better than everyone else, and you will have them.   Awards that are given out to everyone “just for showing up” defy everything that Darwin taught us.  Life has always been, and always will be, about survival of the fittest.  The world, and this country, are built upon competition.  Be competitive, and don’t apologize for it.  Again, it all goes back to entitlement, which we have already covered…

–  Odds are you are going to smoke, drink and experiment with drugs.  To deny this is bad parenting, and unrealistic.  Be smart, and these things will not negatively affect your life.  Being smart means not driving drunk, or anything else that will fuck you, and others, up for life.  And enjoy smoking cigarettes for a while.  I certainly did.  But quit at 25, before there is any real lifelong health effects.  Of course, by the time you reach late teen-hood, there is a good chance that tobacco will be illegal, and pot will be legal, so just use sound judgement…

–  If I am still alive, you will not be getting a cell phone until you are at least 16.  If I am dead, it will be in my will that you are not to get a cell phone till you are at least 16…

–  No, I don’t ever give a shit what the other kids have, or are doing.  Their parents are wrong.  I am right…

–  I don’t care how you earn your money.  Just provide an honest service, and don’t screw people.  So forget law school then, I guess….

–  Have a sense of humor.  About everything.  There has never been a single situation on this planet that has been made worse by laughter.  In fact, it usually helps.  People without a sense of humor are never liked.  By anyone, anywhere.  And don’t ever abdicate your right to find humor in a situation.  Let everyone else walk around with a stick up their ass.

–  At least once in your life, own a Jeep Wrangler.  And put the top down whenever you want, no matter how cold or rainy it may be outside.  The whole damn car is waterproof,  it’s amazing…

–  The idea that blood is thicker than water is absolute horse shit.  Find a few friends you can trust with your life, and never let them slip away.  Acquaintances come and go, but genuine people are exceedingly rare, and it’s always a shame to let one fade out of your life…

–  To my daughter:  I am a guy.  I was a teenage boy.  I am intimately familiar with the inner workings of the brain of a male, in regards to females.   So know this:  There is no way a guy ever keeps a naked picture of a girl to himself, no matter what he tells you.  The only reason boys want naked pictures of girls is to show them to their friends.  Always.  So don’t ever, under any circumstances,  allow naked pictures to exist.  It will always end badly.  Every time…

–  To my son:  Don’t be an asshole to girls.  Your friends don’t need to be impressed or entertained with stories or pictures of what some poor unsuspecting girl was willing to do with, or for, you.   And any “friend” who is interested needs to have the shit beaten out of him for even asking.  Also, keep an eye on how your twin sister is being treated.  Your only responsibility to the family at that age is to protect her from the guys you will most likely be hanging out with.  And that girl you are seeing?  That’s someone else’s sister, so again, don’t be an asshole…

–  I don’t care what religious beliefs, if any, that you choose to hold.  Just don’t ever expect others to join in, or hold them in contempt for not joining in.  If you want God in your life, I respect that.  If you don’t, that’s fine too.  The bottom line is that as long you live a principled, compassionate life, and spend some time thinking about people other than yourself once in a while, you’ll be just fine…

Bottom line:  You will be enlightened, mature, educated, happy adults if you follow one simple rule, in any situation:  Just don’t be an asshole….And for Christs’ sake, drive carefully….

  1. James McKinney (aka texascowpunk) permalink

    Well said sir. Well said!


  2. You are like the Dahli Lama of parenting; a good mix of no nonsense mixed with healthy liberal sensibility. Spot on and well said, my fellow Jersian.

    • “Dalai Lama of parenting”? Hold on, I have to tell my wife. OK, I’m back. She snorted, then threw up a little in her mouth. Nice. Thanks for checking out the site…

  3. Tiffany permalink

    Ha! So many parents need to read your blog. I especially like the “don’t be an asshole to girls” section. It needs to be said. Over and over. I know I’m teaching my kid this; everyone else should do so as well. Good job, ArrogantSOB.

  4. Susan permalink

    Love this advice. I have a 12 year old girl and have told her the naked picture advice many times. She snarls at me every time saying I would never do that! I just hope one day when she is considering doing just that my annoying voice will pop up in her head and she will put the camera/ cell phone/ webcam down and dump the asshole who asked for the picture! Loving your blog. Glad I found it ( through PIWTPITTT).

    • Glad you are here. Having a daughter has petrified me since the first ultrasound confirmed to us that we were having one. Well, actually it confirmed that we were having two, but only one was a girl. I can handle boys. I know boys. I am still a boy. The idea of a teenage girl has kept me up nights, and she is only three. It was bad enough before she was born, but the week the twins were born was also the same week that story broke up in Massachusettes on the 15 teenage girls who all got pregnant at the same time because of some pact. Between stuff like that and things like “Rainbow Parties”, I’ll be lucky if I ever sleep again. (And if you dont know what a “Rainbow Party” is, spare yourself and don’t investigate. It’s horrifying and you are better off not knowing about it, especially with a twelve year old daughter…

  5. Jillgeorge permalink

    You are fabulous! These are the things I have been living and telling my kids forever (they are 22 and 26) and they turned out very, very awesome! See, it all works!

  6. Hey Mon! permalink

    Love. this.

  7. Jillgeorge permalink

    Your advice to not be an asshole is great. An asshole would be someone who “speeds through red lights ” to scare meter maids (endangering the lives of everyone, including people I love who may be driving in NJ too), who leaves “dog shit on the lawn” of sweet elderly neighbors because they “are too old to notice.” and who throws “litter out of the car window?” That wouldn’t be you. Right?

    • And the award for “Sense of Humor” of the year goes to…(Also, good job picking up on comic irony). My guess , and I could be wrong, is that this really isn’t the place for you. No shame in it. This sight is like Cool Ranch Doritos: Some people love it, while others are disgusted…

      • Susan permalink

        Well said!! Love you even more now. I don’t get why people who don’t get sarcasm and have zero personality read blogs like yours!

      • This is why I have a post called ” Before we get started”, to give people fair warning. Problem is I don’t think many people read that first. I don’t blame people who mistakenly think this strictly a parenting site, because many have been referred by one, but this site is more than just parenting posts. In time, people will get the hang of it. Until then, some will be scared away. All is good…

    • Also, maybe not everything in life should be taken literally. Something to think about…

  8. The best part is about blood not being thicker than water. The idea that we need to tolerate assholes just because we are related to them is pure fucking nonsense.

  9. I totally agree. I have a 16 year old daughter and we have boy talks almost every week. She will never be able to say she ‘didn’t know’…about anything.

  10. By 16, your work is pretty much done! Your job for now is to embarrass them at every turn. Not to worry, if you do it right, they’ll still love you at age 21…Love the blog!

  11. Devan permalink

    Love this! (Minus the Miami Dolphins bit). I think I will bookmark. I have both girls, 2 and 5. Lord help us! Great writing!

  12. Devan permalink

    OH! And I have drempt of having a Jeep Wrangler ever since I saw one….maybe that will be my mid-life crisis purchase. (when is that gonna be???? I am pushing 40 now and my kids are only 2 and 5, guess I will be the 60 year old crazy jeep lady! 60 is the new 50 right?)

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