The Worst Good Advice You’ll Ever Hear

It’s graduation season, and for many of you that means another big step in the ever-so gradual transition from dependence to independence. Take a moment to contemplate your achievements. No I’m not being sarcastic, graduating is a big deal. It’s one of those single-serving holidays where you get showered with presents from you family (and booze from your friends) in the name of maturity. It’s like some kind of scholastic Ba(r/t) Mitzvah.

Enjoy it while you can, because your accomplishments have your loved ones contemplating their existence and they are eager to dump some on you. In no time at all, the authority figures in your life will be trying to help you avoid the mistakes they made in their youth. Teachers, distant relatives, friends who graduated last year — they’ve all mastered the art of regret and are determined to find what’s best for you. Probably.

Not that there’s anything wrong with their good intentions. Passing on information in the name of progress isn’t just a noble cause, it’s human nature. But experience is the best teacher and biased opinions can be toxic to that learning process. So in truly ironic fashion, I’ve waded through the tropes and clichés and to help you figure out what’s useful and what’s not.

Without further ado, here’s all the great advice you’re going to be hearing and why it’s complete garbage.

“F*ck the haters.”

Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and haters inevitably hating. That last one in particular has become increasingly apparent in my lifetime. The anonymity of the Internet set free the flying comment section monkeys, flinging their word poo to and fro without fear of repercussions. Some have evolved and shed their masks, building digital empires on their vitriol and smearing themselves in their own self-loathing like fecal war paint. Kids these days — raised on this behavior — are leaking the unmitigated hate into real life at an alarming rate.

It didn’t take long to figure out that acknowledging the hypercriticism in any way only makes the problem worse. No matter how well-worded or well-researched the response, it’s a reaction and that only feeds the machine. Better to ignore them completely. To turn a phrase, if they aren’t saying anything nice, pretend they didn’t say anything at all. It’s an elegant solution, at least until it too worms its way into real life.

Constructive criticism is one of those concepts they teach you in school that’s nice in theory is absolutely useless in real life, like the Pythagorean Theorem or getting good grades. In a perfect world, everyone you meet would wrap their comments in courtesy and send you scuttling into self-improvement with a pat on the back. But this isn’t a perfect world and if you want manners, you’re gonna have to pay for them.

They're not actually happy, just well paid.
Your money buys them happiness.

You know who gets hate dumped on them daily? The highly successful. Think they got to where they are by dismissing their detractors? Hells to the no. They’re the ones who figured out how to separate ‘brutal’ from ‘honesty’ and personal from business. They found value in the insults. They rose above the hate by standing on top of it, and so can you.

Real Advice: Every criticism is constructive if you build on it.

I must confess, I’ve been pretty damn good at every job I’ve ever had. Above average at least. And I’ve also been chewed out least once by every boss I’ve ever had, usually because I made a bad call. I could’ve turned around and bitched about it. I could’ve just ignored it. If I tried hard enough, I could probably lawyer the situation into being their fault. But I didn’t.

When someone criticizes you, there are two positive ways to handle it: you can accept what they’re saying is true and resolve to change it, or you can reject it and remember that one day when you’re in their shoes you’re going to handle things differently.

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5 Things I’m Sick of Reading on Facebook

Opinions are like assholes, in more ways than one. There was a time when people could keep their scents to themselves and those in the immediate vicinity, but then along came social media like a megaphone for butts and suddenly everyone’s blasting their e-romas across the globe.

A normal megaphone for some
A normal megaphone for some

Horrifying simile aside, it’s not so bad until they congregate and decide to draw lines in the digital sand. We’ve all seen those little pictures pop up on our Facebook feeds making blanket statements in Impact font. Those innocuous little doodads used to make funny observations about cats and ridicule celebrities, but they’ve been twisted into beacons for gathering thousands of like-minded b-holes under one pixelated banner.

There is a silver lining, though. Their openness with everyone saves you from the awkward silence that follows the revelation that you may, in fact, hate them. But sometimes for your own sanity, you have to let people know how much they stink.

These are the assholes I’m tired of smelling.

1. “I think girls look better without make-up.”

There’s this fantastic movement going on right now to change the public perception of “beauty”. People are sick of advertisers telling them they should aspire to look like those rail-thin models when it’s neither genetically possible nor physically practical to eat nothing and have a normal job that doesn’t involve old dudes taking pictures of their semi-nudity. Slowly but surely, the public is warming to the idea that beauty can be found in imperfections. And then there’s make-up.

In a desperate attempt to escape the friend-zone, “sensitive” guys will often post something akin to, “I don’t like when girls wear make-up. I like natural beauties.” It’s a thinly-veiled plot to appear progressive and forward-thinking because chicks are into that crap. But what they’re really saying is, “I like girls who are beautiful without make-up.” Well, no shit.

I also like it when they smell like rainbows and glow like sunshine. If it's not too much trouble.
I also like it when they smell like rainbows and glow like sunshine — if it’s not too much trouble.

Invasive surgical procedures non-withstanding, we can’t really change the face they’re born with. Until science finds a way to cherry-pick genetics (and grants me my tiger-otter-chameleon sidekick) we’re stuck working with what we’ve got. Sometimes that’s a complexion that turns heads in a rainstorm; sometimes it’s a mug only a mother could love. Begrudgingly. No matter where they fall in the Punnett square, the reality is that people just look better with make-up.

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A Tale of True TV

They say everything happens for a reason.

If by that they mean that things happen which cause other things which eventually somewhere down the line causes something of note, yes, they do happen for a reason. But if they mean every little action happens with the intent of one day causing something at least tweet-worthy, well that’s simply not true.

But every once in a while, something magical happens — against all logic and reason, in the face of overwhelming odds, fate sees fit to put two things together as though they were meant to be.

Some people call it destiny. Some call it coincidence. Some call it luck. Me? I just call it right.

This is the story of how I was a Nielsen household.

It Was the Best of Times

I have a Bachelor of Arts in RTVF. That fancy acronym stands for Radio, Television, Film. While that sounds like I should be some kind of media guru, what it actually means is I’m a Film major who is vaguely aware that the other two exist. I only took as many Radio and TV courses as was necessary to fill my degree’s requirements, which with my inability to register for classes on time was several.

This one semester I thought it was probably a good idea to learn about Film Law, since copyrights and permits and all that are half the battle in production. But the class was long-filled and I really needed to be considered a full-time student, so I took Media Sales instead.

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No Shave November: Week Four

I didn’t make it.

Midnight struck on November 30th and I was still four beards short. While the holiday rush played a small part in my inability to make up lost ground, the awful truth is, I had plenty of time Saturday night and found myself completely over it. If Week 1 was dipping my toes in the water, Week 2 wading in slowly, and Week 3 learning to swim, the final week has been a desperate slapping at the water in an attempt to stay afloat.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so by the home stretch this should have been second nature. Problem is, I’ve spent 27 years putting things off until the last possible, moment, and no 3 week diligence is going to change that.

But enough musing of failures. Onto the train wreck.

Day Twenty-Two: hobo
Day Twenty-Two: hobo

In the continued effort to catch up, this was the result of filling in the Gamekeeper gaps. At one point I thought this was going to be the 5 0’clock shadow, but simulating stubble is really freaking hard to do.

I’ve mentioned before that my hair is really thick and straight, which means the shorter it gets, the thicker and straighter it seems. Cutting strands into pieces creates a veritable storm of little double-pointed daggers flying every which way. You can forget about getting them to spread out evenly.

Photo Nov 27, 1 07 28 AM
Day Twenty-Three: muttonchops

Fun fact: sideburns were originally called “burnsides” after Ambrose Burnside, a general in the Civil War who has some sweet ass muttonchops. We honor him now by calling both styles by completely different names. Turns out he was kind of a screw up who wasted a lot of the North’s resources, so don’t feel too bad for him.

There is something inherently friendly about muttonchops. Like the person sporting them doesn’t have an angry bone in their body. Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead fame seems like one raw mother in name and description, but take one look at the guy and you’d swear he’s that favorite uncle who always greets you with a noogie and a slap on the back. Sure there’s a chance he’s murdered the crap out of some people, but at least he’s on your side.

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No Shave November: Week Three

I’m still behind. So let’s get right to it.

Day Fifteen: chinstrap
Day Fifteen: chinstrap

To avoid further agitating my upper lip, I steered clear mustaches altogether for a day. It helped my burning skin, but not my pride. I think I might have stated previously that the chin tuft made me feel creepy. This one was like that times twenty.

I was just going to take the picture and take it off, but decided to go for a jaunt down the street on my longboard first. I’m not sure if it was the board or the beard, but everyone I passed gave me the worst looks. I don’t blame them.

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