Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I probably shouldn't do this but...

Seriously... you should.
Do you have a special someone in your life who is always telling you what you “should” do? Someone who seems compelled to constantly give unsolicited advice? Someone who is often hopelessly out of touch with what exactly your priorities are in life? I know I sure do. I actually know a number of these people. In fact, I have known so many special "someones" throughout my life that I begin to wonder what exactly it is about me that attracts them like a dog to a funky smell.

Because I am so obsessed with having people like me, pleasing people, coming across as polite instead of the wicked, crabby bitch that I am, I tend to just absorb all these instructions without any argument. I am the youngest of three sisters, the baby of the family, so I am accustomed to being told what to do. I am also accustomed to the seething undercurrent of resentment that runs through my veins. Not that all the advice is bad or misguided, because sometimes what I am being told I should do is actually something I should do. My point is simply that I don’t know what it is about certain people that they can so effortlessly whip the advice around whereas I, myself, stop to really wonder whether or not anyone cares what I think they "should" do before I offer up my infinite wisdom.

Well, not today. For one brief moment here, I am going to quit holding back. I am going to think about every single person I have ever known who really needed a good piece of advice and I am going to dump all of my best ideas onto this page. I am going to tell everyone exactly what I think they should do and I am going to do it in a manner that will make it virtually impossible for anyone to know who the hell I’m talking about and therefore, it will be impossible for me to offend anyone. Or, I suppose it’s possible that I will offend everyone. But whatever, without further delay, here is what you should do to finally turn that sorry life of yours around (or maybe just that one isolated, sorry aspect of your life around).

You should seek help, immediately, from a qualified mental health care professional. You should begin long-term psychotherapy and you should finally be honest about all that crap and ask someone, for the love of God, what you should do to finally address those debilitating issues you have around that certain area of your life. You should probably be on medication. You should definitely stop eating high fructose corn syrup and despite what someone else told you, you really should worry about what kind of artificial crap you are eating. You should stop drinking so much. You should put your cell phone away. You should pray. You should think about how others will interpret what you say before you say it. You should stick up for yourself. You should stop blowing your money on stuff you don’t need. You should go for walks more. You should relax. You should lighten up. You should be more accepting of others. You should listen to yourself! You should stop being so self-absorbed. You should think about other people more. You should scrutinize your own life instead of everyone else’s. You should stop caring what other people think. You should stop feeling sorry for yourself. You should just be yourself. You should not drive like such an ass. You should stop being the way you are, in just about every way, and start being an entirely different person who does not bug the crap out of me so much. Oooh… I may have gone too far with that one.

Now, if you are like me, you may have read the previous paragraph with kind of a sick feeling in your stomach, thinking, why would she say that to me? If you are not like me, well, then, maybe you should read that paragraph again, paying special attention to the part that says you should scrutinize your own life. Just kidding. I’m not really speaking any of these statements to any one specific person, except maybe a few of them might apply pretty well to my mother, but that’s a fairly unique relationship. My theory is that most of us, after reading through a slew of “should” statements like that, already know which ones apply. We already know, deep down inside, what we should do. To have someone tell us just makes us feel angry and defensive. Personally, I think that, unless someone asks us specifically, “I got this problem, what should I do?” we don’t really need to be lecturing our acquaintances, friends and relations. Maybe the next time you feel compelled to tell someone what they “should” do, you might want to ask yourself how you would feel about the same piece of advice being offered to you. And if you are on the receiving end of one of these “shoulds” maybe you should try responding with the snappy comeback, “You should pull your head out of your ass.” Although, that isn’t a very nice thing to say, and we really should try to be nicer to each other.


  1. You should...keep writing! -Kate A.

  2. I thought for a moment that maybe you were like me and that Martha was telling you like Jack tells me what I should do. ♥ this. I am looking forward to seeing you in August.