“Men give away nothing so liberally as their advice.” ~François de la Rochefoucauld
Enigma by Isia Leviant (1981, post Bridget Riley)
A friend of mine started a blog (he’s going to get into myspace in a few years, facebook in 2015, twitter in 2016). Ah, I kid. He’s always got something interesting to say, starting with advice to a 13 year-old. Here’s my favorite gem (which is a lot like my own rant about religion, but without calling god a twat):
There probably isn’t a God: Ok kid, maybe there is a small chance there is a god, but there is slim chance he’s anything described in the Bible, Koran or any other book. Anyone who claims they know for sure is to be mistrusted and ignored.
What you can know, is this: if god would banish Ghandi to hellfire because he’s not Christian, but let some asshole (let’s say Jerry Falwell) into heaven. If god treated some muppet (who did nothing positive his or her entire life, but merely repented for their sins and accepted jesus as their savior); better than people who did noble things most of their lives, but upset God anyways – for not kissing his ass and acknowledging him…
A god who is so vain he will punish you for not thanking him for making the world. A god who is this petty and ridiculous…. that he lays out dozens of religions for you to pick from like a multiple choice test, and turns around and tortures you ETERNALLY in hellfire for choosing the wrong answer….
If that is god, he’s an asshole.
If there is an afterlife, everyone will go there. There will be no screening process. If God is that much of a twat, you’re fucked anyways.
I thought I’d add my own advice to this. Not that I think there are lots of 13-year-olds stopping by here. Still, childless people need to chime in. Parents are always giving kids the same crap advice. “Be who you are.” “Try your best.” “If they judge you by your ugly pants, then they aren’t really your friends.” None of those old chestnuts ever did anyone any good.
So, here’s some advice that will actually help from someone who isn’t encumbered by pesky maternal feelings:
1. Recognize that your parents are just people. Don’t get yourself worked up over the mistakes your parents make. It’s pathetic and unhealthy. Watch some Arthur Miller plays and you’ll see what I mean. That guy could not get over that his dad was just a man. The quicker you get through this, the better. Seriously. Breaking away from your parents is a developmental stage you do not want to get stuck in. Just get over it.
2. Don’t get all bunched up over what you think people are thinking about you. First of all, no one is thinking about you for more than a few seconds in the first place. They’re all just obsessing about themselves. And if someone does happen to think a lot about you, it’s not actually about you anyway. It’s just some inaccurate projection that doesn’t have anything to do with you. So, relax.
3. Listen when people talk. Don’t interrupt. Don’t think of what you’re going to say next. Just pay attention. You probably want people to like you. And everyone likes people who listen to them. Yep, everyone. On the flip, you’ll quickly find out who you want to spend time with. I recommend you seek out people with ideas and curiosity about the world vs. status seekers and judgmental fanatics.
4. Speaking of fanatics, don’t be a fan. Like whatever you like. Comic books. The Clone Wars. Some sports team your parents are into. A band. An actor. Go for it. But here’s the problem with crossing over into fandom … most people are dull or assholes. Being able to hit a home run or write an awesome song doesn’t make someone a cool person, it just make him a good athlete or musician. Admire the skill, but don’t mistake it for a person that’s worth your admiration. Plus, it’s really gross to the date someone who is always slobbering over an actress they don’t know and they’ll never meet, so fandom’s not really going to work out for you in the dating category, which is probably going to be a top priority for you for the next 10 to 20 years.
Oh, and learn at least one foreign language and a musical instrument. And quit buying crap and asking people to buy you crap. There’s more to life than being a consumer. Like what? Like, look up Bridget Riley and then try drawing The Riley Illusion. Then make your own optical illusion. And show it to people. (The ones who like it are cooler than the ones who are indifferent.)
You’re welcome and good luck.