Tag Archives: Essay

Learn to be Successful with these 3 Simple Tricks

How to be Successful

When I was a young lad of about three hours younger than I am as I write this, I dreamed of becoming the Tetris World Champion. Shortly thereafter I realized I was bad at Tetris, didn’t really like Tetris, and was already very good at being a broke, shut-in virgin who writes poetry for a living.

In less than a day, I accomplished more than many people do in their entire lifetimes: I gave up on a stupid idea and moved on. That being accomplished, I realized my true calling is writing self-help essays for a few dozen people on the internet who think I’m occasionally funny (and my parents).

The text you are reading at the moment has been written, stared at, erased, rewritten, sneered at, re-erased, and so on many times, so I’ll just get to the point:

The best way to be successful is to be marginally better at some common things than someone else.

Read it again, but in bold:

The best way to be successful is to be marginally better at some common things than someone else.

Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean:

Say you’ve just had a long day. You’re tired, hungry, cranky, possibly sweaty, and definitely just want to go home, eat empty calories, and masturbate while you watch true crime shows. As you’re walking down the street, you come upon a person who is standing neutrally and doing nothing in particular. This is a person with plentiful free time, a lack of unattractive blemishes, seemingly-effortless nonchalance, and you hate them.

Imagine now the same scenario, but the person you see is fat, ugly, extremely rich, and kissing your significant other on the hood of your car (which has been destroyed in a freak forklift accident while you were blinking). You hate this person too, and will likely be physically or verbally aggressive toward them. The nondescript person nearby has not even drawn your notice, and has thus been upgraded from an object of hatred and derision to a not-unpleasant bit of scenery.

The nondescript person has achieved tremendous success not through their action, struggle, inherent virtue, divine mandate, or any other exclusive or difficult condition. They achieved it by being less bad (and therefor marginally better) at something common (existing) than someone else.

Alas, we are not often so fortunate as to be constantly in the presence of public displays of romantic infidelity and simultaneous realization of property damage when faced with unpleasant people in our lives. To compensate, I suggest any of the following tactics.

Tactic 1: Hang out in unpleasant places.

Most people like to be happy and comfortable. Most people, while in unpleasant places, are not happy and comfortable, and thus will leave. That said, there are enough people who hang out in unpleasant places with such frequency and consistency that these places garner a reputation for being unpleasant.

Imagine then that you, being one to frequent these nasty niches of the world, invite a friend (or just happen to encounter someone, for those of you with no friends) to join you in your unpleasant meeting place of choice. Your hypothetical acquaintance joins you (likely a person of poor taste, given you’re still reading this), and would normally be inclined to think of you as a person of poor taste. Then they see a mostly-nondescript-but-slightly-unpleasant-in-a-”can’t-put-my-finger-on-it”-sort-of-way person violently assault a second party who was displaying amorous inclinations on an abandoned vehicle. Your hypothetical acquaintance suggests you find a new place to meet, you agree, and you are no longer considered a person with questionable tastes. In fact, you are someone agreeable with whom your hypothetical acquaintance shares something in common.

Tactic 2: Shut Up

If someone is talking, they are having a good time. Sane people speak when people are present, and generally to engage with another person (creating a pleasant atmosphere) or break an awkward silence (avoiding discomfort). If you are talking, other (sane) people are not, unless you are arguing, in which case your fellow arguer likely does not think of you in a good light. If you are silent, someone else will almost certainly begin to talk, which makes them happy. If you continue to be silent, a third party will probably speak. Now you are part of a conversation between happy people who (being sane) will immediately recognize you as the root cause of their happiness and shower you with praise (to which you should not respond, obviously).

Tactic 3: Read bad poetry, and encourage others to do the same

Let’s assume things that are good are good, things that are bad are not, and things that are neutral can sometimes cause irrational rage if not accompanied by gratuitous sexuality and automobile wreckage.

All in agreement? Good!

Given our assumptions, reading bad poetry will make you feel uncomfortable or unhappy, which will make otherwise insignificant things that might otherwise cause you stress to be ignored. You’re used a pawn to capture a rook, so to speak.

Now, having eliminated many minor stresses for one large, rhyming one, you share some of these bad poems with a friend (or hypothetical randomly-encountered individual). That individual, if sane, will think you a person of poor taste, and never contact you again. After several repetitions of these events, you will be entirely alone, therefore eliminating most reasons for talking. When you don’t talk, you will by necessity shut up. When you shut up, people will like you. When people like you, you can invite them to join you in unpleasant places.

Need I say more?

In conclusion (as University has taught me I must declare before ending an essay), being successful can be achieved quite easily through a few counter-intuitive tactics. Any lack of success on your part can be eliminated by being less happy, less comfortable, and spending more time and money consuming bad poetry. If all else fails, make friends with people in troubled relationships and buy (or steal) a forklift.

Leave a comment

Filed under To the Reader

How (And Why) Men Think

This is not a poem. I just saved you 3-5 minutes. You’re welcome.

In college, I was often told by professors not to begin essays with a definition. Having had a terrible college experience and feeling tremendous spite for the aforementioned professors, I now present Merriam-Webster’s definition of economics:

A social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Having graduated with honors with my degree in economics six years prior to writing this essay and having since enjoyed a long and profitable career in the disciplines of music, poetry, and comedy, I have come to realize that my degree in economics is roughly equivalent to a degree in women’s studies, but with fewer scholarship opportunities. Pursuing that thought to it’s ultimate conclusion, I realized that a degree in economics is essentially a degree in men’s studies, minus history and practical job skills.

Much of economics is considered with the idea of equilibrium, a condition in which all things are balanced and to which all things would return if governments would quit screwing everything up. Men’s lives are likewise drawn continuously to equilibrium, as can be demonstrated by the following thought experiment:

Imagine a man is at home. It can be any time or location, because those don’t actively concern our imagined man. Our man is in a state of equilibrium. The doorbell might ring, a volcano could erupt, a poet could make a meaningful contribution to society (not really), but a man would not stir from equilibrium. The only thing that can stir a man from equilibrium is the power of thought, thus leading to most men’s aversion to thinking.

Our hypothetical man has a thought: He is hungry. Being hungry is not as comfortable as being in equilibrium, so the man assigns a negative value to his situation. He realizes the only way to regain equilibrium is by inputting positive stimuli to counteract his hunger, and he begins to calculate…

The man could fix himself a gourmet, nine-course French dinner, eliminating his hunger but placing him in a difficult position of over-stimulation. He would have to correct the over-stimulation through negative actions, such as getting up, learning to cook, and thinking about France, and he concludes that this course of action would result in a situation more negative than being hungry. The idea is summarily dismissed.

Next the man gauges that, although getting up is inevitable, walking distance and effort in food preparation can objectively be minimized through careful planning (the man is no longer afraid to think, being in a state of disequilibrium). He identifies the closest food that doesn’t require preparation, acquires the food, eats one box of dry raisin bran and a tin of Fancy Feast, then returns to his chair. He reevaluates his situation, realizes he is no longer hungry, and happily reenters equilibrium until, by nature or accident, he is again forced to think.

Now, not all disequilibrium is negative. A Man can add positive stimulation to his life by turning on the TV, passing gas, or momentarily enjoying the fact that his cat has died, so he need not replace the Fancy Feast can he just ate. Some men, however, suffer a particularly gruesome thought known as ambition, leaving them in a state of long-term disequilibrium solved only by progressively more grandiose positive stimuli, like fishing or car-ownership. To counteract these huge positive stimuli and return to equilibrium, these ambitious men generally resort to two extremes: Women and Work.

Work is generally the safer option, and most men (even the unambitious) partake in it to some extent. The tremendous negative stimulus of work yields a positive counter-stimulus in the form of money, which can be exchanged for new TVs and motivational posters reminding them not to adopt another cat. Women are the more extreme solution, yielding extreme highs and lows and requiring careful balancing, often resulting in more thought and yielding negative consequences for thoughtlessness that did not exist before the introduction of women.

To those still skeptical, quit reading. If you found this essay dull, go watch TV to reestablish equilibrium. If you enjoyed this essay, watch an Amy Schumer comedy special. If you are a woman, neither of these solutions will likely satisfy you because your mind does not naturally gravitate towards constant equilibrium. If this is the case, I present you with one final story:

A child is born. This makes the child very unhappy, and, being male, it introduces the positive stimulus of screaming and shouting about nothing in particular to resume equilibrium. At other times, it finds a breast within easy reach and, to counteract this new positive stimulus, it defecates on itself. These two cycles continue for some time until nature plays the cruel trick of developing sentience in the young human.

The young human enjoys a few years of mostly unobjectionable life, wherein it is given copious amounts of candy and toys in return for reductions in its odious personal habits. After this joyful era, however, comes school. School, being designed to constantly introduce new stimulation without adequate balancing in the form of idle mindlessness, causes great stress to the young human, and it responds by being a tiny demon until puberty.

When the child reaches puberty, he gains two useful abilities for counteracting the negative effects of school. First is the ability to stare mindlessly at women. Second is the heightened social acceptability of hitting each other, also known as sports. For the remainder of the male human’s life, sports and idle staring at women will occupy the majority of its waking hours. These two activities also frequently lead to ambition, whether to excel at sports (or at least get hit less by those who do), more actively interact with women, or stare idly at parts of women they are less inclined to show men who do not excel at sports. Enter work and women, followed by death.

In conclusion (another wonderful saying my professors told me not to use), comprehension of male thought and the corrective behavior that follows it can be enhanced by the study of economics. That’s pretty much the whole conclusion, but schooling has permanently damaged by ability to allow a conclusion to a single sentence. Don’t adopt a cat.

Leave a comment

Filed under To the Reader

In Defense of Rhyme

There are those who tell me

That a poem that rhymes

Is unnescessary.

There are those who say

A poem that rhymes

Is of the devil

Or the patriarchy

Or “kind of stringent, don’t you think?”

Their tellings and sayings

Spool around the cellar

Of an ivory tower

Whose black horses

And cakes which are a lie

No longer echo

In the halls of our great uncles.

Confusion is their currency.

Paragraphs

Are

Their

Playthings.

I do not understand this poem.

Neither do you.

I just wrote it to show ’em,

Figuratively, who’s who.

1 Comment

Filed under Poems