Thursday, November 20, 2014

Here Is Some Terrible Advice, But If You Take It, Please Let Me Know How (Hilariously) It Turns Out

The other day I saw a bumper sticker that said:

This is one of those glurgy, quasi-inspirational quotations that you see in Hallmark stores and Facebook shares all over the damn place. The words are erroneously credited to a wide array of authors, too.  My favorite misattributions are Mark Twain and Satchel Paige, because:

  • Mark Twain was a satirist and a storyteller. Anyone who thinks Mark Twain would have written or said anything this sappy clearly was hanging out in the smokers' corner during high school English. (No offense to those people, and please don't beat me up)

  • Why the hell would an old-timey baseball player like Satchel Paige say something like this? He was a freaking pitcher, not a life coach. Personally, my favorite Satchel Paige quote is this one: "Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don’t move." Put that shit on a bumper sticker.

Not surprisingly, the words actually come from a country song. Now that makes sense, in that they're sentimental, simplistic, and grammatically incorrect.

*Relief courses through body*

I honestly don't understand the purported wisdom of this quotation. It does not sound like a good idea to actually do any of these things. Or is that just me? Let's break this down.

1. "Work as if you don't need the money."

Believe me, I need the money. Because of food and electricity and a kid who wants to go to school fully clothed. That's why I show up more or less on time, do my job, and self-censor at least 90% of the things I want to say to people in emails. In exchange, I receive money every two weeks. It's not a perfect bargain, but it will do until a genie comes through with my three wishes, two of which involve being trapped in a mattress store with Matthew McConaughey and the third consisting of an Olympic swimming pool filled with cash.

If I were to take the bumper sticker's advice, and work as if the money weren't a thing, it would go something like this:

BOSS: Hey, Chuck, do you think you could take a look at this and -
ME: No. Fuck you.


BOSS: You didn't show up until almost 11:00 today. In the future, could you let me know when you're going to be late?
ME: No. Fuck you.


BOSS: The client said he never got that report I asked you to send him. Was there a problem?
ME: No. Fuck you. (Turns off computer, stuffs office supplies into purse, leaves)

Frankly, I don't think it's very kind of the bumper sticker to advise me to act in a way that will put my livelihood in jeopardy. The bumper sticker is kind of a douche.

2. "Love as if you've never been hurt."

This is impractical, to say the least. My introduction to being hurt in love was in the first grade, when Brian Bauerschmidt didn't like me back. So I would have to love like a six year old, I guess? I can't help thinking that this would attract the wrong sort of person. Or, you know, maybe the bumper sticker means I should love like a grown woman who has never learned to create healthy boundaries or acquired emotional resilience. And before you know it I'm co-signing loans for some handsome grifter who promises he would never share our naughty videos with anyone, baby.

I'm glad Mark Twain didn't actually write these words of advice, because that would make him a big jerk.

3. "Dance as if nobody's watching."

If  nobody's watching, I'm not dancing. I'm kind of an exhibitionist that way. Unless this is referring to the horizontal bop. In which case, I don't like what the bumper sticker is insinuating. Why does it think I need to be told that? Am I being slut-shamed by a damn bumper sticker/country song?

The next line is, "Do it like you want to
make Jesus cry, you whore. Also, 'Murica."
No thanks, quotation. If I need words of wisdom, I'll take them from the great James Brown: "I got ants in my pants, and I need to dance. Good God."



  1. "Do it like you want to make Jesus cry, you whore. Also, 'Murica". New life motto.

  2. "If you want to make a stupid saying sound profound attribute it to someone famous."-Oscar Wilde

    It's not the twanginess of most country music that irks me. Okay, yes it is, but it's also what so many of them say. And how poorly they say it. I feel that way about a lot of pop songs too, so it's not like I'm an music snob. Oh, wait, I guess I am.


You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.