Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
(He forgot to mention what the women do. I guess we just watch.)
Here, after several days on the road, performing, teaching a workshop, and watching America out the windows of my rented mini-van, is my full and comprehensive step-by-step guide for how to live your very own life of quiet desperation.
1. Let jobs, marriages, friendships, life, and events happen to you. Never make choices.
2. Complain about how jobs, marriages, friendships, life, and events have all happened to you and that you’ve never had a choice.
3. Believe that pharmaceutical companies know what you need.
4. Gossip about your co-workers, your brother’s wife, or your best friend.
5. Watch Fox News.
6. Believe Fox News.
7. When someone asks you a question, like, “So, why did you major in that?” or “What do you want to do?” shrug and stare at the floor. If possible, try to add the universal three-note “I don’t know” grunt as an accompaniment.
8. Post Murphy’s Law signs in your workplace.
9. Stay cynical because it’s so cool.
10. Live for weekends.
11. Say, “I have to stay here. I get full benefits.”
12. Believe your fears.
13. Don’t go out to see plays or live music.
14. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m dying inside.”
15. Trash your spouse or partner to your friends.
16. Eat at Sonic Drive-In.
17. Think Sonic Drive-In has good food.
18. Trade in your rake for a leaf-blower.
19. Marry someone “because she’s hot,” or “because he has a great ass.”
20. Never get uncomfortable.
21. Watch TV while you eat dinner with your wife or family.
22. Hold onto anger as long as possible.
23. Don’t get a dog.
24. Give a crap what Paris Hilton is doing this week.
25. Feel deeply betrayed and pissed off when The Weather Channel’s forecast isn’t accurate.
26. Feel deeply betrayed and pissed off when your connecting flight gets cancelled.
27. Seek security above all else.
28. Believe that security exists.
29. Take Dr. Phil’s advice about finding security.
30. Let rejection, a bad review, or a rude comment stop you from following your heart.
31. Never let the shrubs in your yard stray a single branch beyond that perfect sno-cone shape.
32. Criticize songs, movies, art or writing when you’ve never written a song, made a movie, painted a picture or written a thing.
33. Download songs for free instead of paying a measly 99 cents for them.
34. Don’t just read People Magazine. Absorb People Magazine.
35. Don’t swing on playground swings once you become an adult.
36. Expect very little.
37. Try to fix other people.
38. Do it for the money.
39. Do it for the approval.