Recently Kitty Flanagan, one of my personal favourites when it comes to Aussie comediennes, appeared on Charlie Pickering’s show on the ABC touting her antidote to Jordan Peterson’s Rules for Life. (see video below) . Now that’s some funny shit, right there, and it got me thinking: this chick … is me. This is what I’m like when I go cold turkey off my happy pills. I can cheerfully relate to just about every rule/pet hate she talks about, especially the last one (people scraping their chairs along the floor), which makes me want to get up and throw my own chair at their heads. I SO want this to be a real book, only I’m pretty sure it’s just a plug for her live stand-up show. Which I’d go to in a heartbeat, and probably will, next time the Melbourne Comedy Festival is on. Comedy is such a great help for people like me. I’m always watching those clips on Facebook from stand-up shows like Dry Bar Comedy. But it kind of makes me sad also because one of the funniest women on earth, Carrie Fisher, is no longer around, and I much preferred the world with her in it. R.I.P Carrie, can’t believe it’s almost been two years since you left us.
So in the spirit of cranky funny ladies, here’s my own Rules for Life, and I apologise in advance if some of mine sound a lot like Kitty’s. But as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The only difference is, for her I’m sure it’s just done for a laugh. For me, the extreme irritation I feel when someone around me keeps sniffing / talks with a mouthful of spit / sits far too close for comfort on a train / uses the word “Bae”/peppers their conversations with the word “like” repeatedly etc is REAL. It’s real, it’s intense and it’s dangerous, especially for the person committing the sin. Okay I know I’m far from perfect myself, but I live by the credo “do unto others as you would have done to you”, and that goes for anything I wouldn’t like done around me. Please, dear readers, respect your fellow Earthling, because she might just be suffering from an acute case of accidental Zoloft withdrawal, and you really wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.
DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE, BLINKERS ARE THERE FOR A REASON
If you’ve ever been in a car, as I’m sure you have at some point, either as a driver or a passenger, there are these stick-like things on either side of the steering wheel. One gives you the ability to turn on the windscreen wipers to clean off some poor bug that got lost on his own personal highway, or to improve vision during inclement weather. The other … well, if you had to poll a decent percentage of people in any of our capital cities, I’m fairly sure they wouldn’t be able to tell you the purpose of the stick just behind the wheel on the right, because they don’t know what it’s for. Odds are, since they passed the driving test some twenty odd years ago, they stopped seeing a need for it, altogether. Well, I’m here to remind them, and you: it’s called a BLINKER / INDICATOR, and you use it to tell other drivers where you’re going. You may think it’s just plain courtesy, and fuck that for a joke because courtesy’s for pussies, but NO. It’s a god-damn law, and if you don’t know that, you must have gotten your license out of a cereal box, because IT”S ON THE TEST. Or it was, back when I took it.
IF YOU CAN READ THIS BUMPER STICKER YOU’RE DRIVING TOO CLOSE, FUCK OFF BEFORE I END YOU.
Another thing that’s on the test, and that people ignore with the glee of someone who’s had their brain sucked out from watching too much reality TV is: you need to keep a respectable distance between you and the car in front of you. At least two car lengths when driving over 60km p.h, and one car length for under. AT LEAST. Because if you don’t, and you tailgate, odds are the person in front is going to be a cheeky fucker like me, and decide to slow down just to piss you off.
IT’S JUST PLAIN MANNERS
Chewing with your mouth open. Kitty said it best. I don’t want to see that car crash. Zip it. And if you’re having trouble breathing and eating at the same time … just forgo the breathing. It’s overrated.
SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL. CAN’T GET MORE SPECIFIC THAN THAT.
Shepherd Book from Firefly was another whose way with words is much better than mine, so I’ll go with him on this. “There’s a special place in hell for those who hurt animals or children, and people who talk in the cinema.” Not sure if that’s the exact quote – I’ve probably paraphrased, but you get the gist. Special place in hell. Which probably only means something if you believe in hell. That said, break this rule in my presence and you risk copping an ice cold Coke in your lap. Either that or I’ll be the pest gleefully pinging Jaffas at the back of your head.
PHONE-STALKING IS ILLEGAL AND NTH LEVEL ANNOYING
Look, I know times are tough. I know that some people are doing it so hard that they have to take any job they’re offered, and that sometimes that means working in a call centre for an energy or insurance company, or a charitable organisation looking for donations. And I try my best to quell my fury when the same company calls me repeatedly for days on end, from different phone numbers each time, despite the fact that I’ve told them on more than one occasion to stop calling me or i’d report them to whatever legal body deals with phone-stalking. But sometimes the effort to keep it together is tenuous at best. So if you don’t want to be hung up on and added to a customer’s blacklist, here’s a tip: if someone tells you not to call them again, there’s a pretty good chance that they actually mean it.
PUT THE DAMN PHONE DOWN. ASSHATS
Again with the handy driving tips. Now, pay particularly close attention to this one, boys and girls because I’m only going to say this once. Distracted people DIE. And they kill other people. So next time you’re coasting along the Great Ocean Road without a care in the world, and someone decides to send you a text, wait five fucking minutes until you can pull over and read that shit, because my daughter’s boyfriend is now a licensed driver. And if inadvertently killing someone while you’re answering that sext from the hottie you met on Tinder last week isn’t enough to put you off texting and driving, perhaps the fact that a grief-stricken parent wanting to remove your lungs with a sfork without anaesthesia might do the trick. Then again, it might not. You might be into that. In which case, I can’t help you. It’s above my pay grade.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE … IDIOT
To all the mums out there who allow their feral toddlers to run around busy cafes while they sit and chat and drink their chai lattes – be warned that if I’m there, I’m gonna stick a foot out in the aisle so that when your little spawn of Satan happens by, they’re gonna go A over T. Just saying. I’m pretty sure most cafe owners would be with me on this. Leaving the childcare up to the waiting staff is both stupid and dangerous. They have a job to do, and it’s not to make sure Tommy, Tiffany or Taylor is sufficiently occupied and not getting underfoot. They say it takes a village to raise a child – actually no, it takes ONE FUCKING PARENT who’s on the ball. So if you don’t want your kid permanently scarred because they ran into a waitress carrying a tray of scalding coffee, teach them some fucking manners, or leave them in the stroller.
YOU’RE GOING THE RIGHT WAY FOR A SMACKED BOTTOM
Here’s a fun fact for y’all: I’m about 30% deaf in both ears. Well, if I’m not it certainly feels that way sometimes. Especially in a crowded bar trying to chat to someone when the background music is too loud. But despite this, what I always seem to be able to hear, rather like a dog hears thunder a mile off, is the soul-cringing sound of a child’s high-pitched squeal. Whether it’s due to a temper tantrum or delight at the misfortune of others, it doesn’t much matter. My kids never squealed as young children because I instilled a little something in them politely referred to in these ‘enlightened’ times as FEAR OF GOD (MUM). Otherwise known as a smacked bottom. Yeah, I said it. Sue me. *and if your child is 8 years old or over, a guaranteed way to stop them from embarrassing you in public is by embarrassing them. It never fails, trust me. Just start spouting lines from Shrek or Austin Powers in a bad Scottish/ Liverpudlian accent. Guaranteed to make sure they will walk about twenty paces in front of you, so that no one knows you’re related.
FEAR AND RESPECT THAT ESCALATOR
This is similar to Kitty’s rule (see above) except that I’m referring in particular to children who like to try and run up the down escalator, and vice versa. Here’s the thing: almost more than lifts, escalators are a scary prospect. First you have the fact that you’re on a set of moving stairs that disappear when they reach the top. Don’t laugh but I’ve had nightmares about getting sucked under an escalator. It’s not fun. Then you have small children who think of it as an adventure playground and don’t see or care about obstacles in the way of their enjoyment. If you’ve seen Mallrats you’ll know what I”m getting at. Brodie (Jason Lee) loses his shit because a kid is repeatedly playing Devil May Care on an escalator. That’s me, folks. I’m Brodie. So when an article of the kid’s clothing gets stuck under the bottom of the escalator, he basically said what everyone else would have been thinking: “Man, there’s not a year that goes by–not a year–that I don’t read about some escalator accident involving some bastard kid that could’ve easily been avoided had some parent–I don’t care which one–but some parent conditioned him to fear and respect that escalator!”
AND HERE IT IS … THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF ALL
You’ve probably heard people say “there’s no such thing as a stupid question”. Well, I’m here to tell you, that’s bullshit propaganda created to fool people into thinking that they can let down their guard and reveal their startling lack of common sense, often for the enjoyment of those who get off on such things. I’m not one of them. Take my mum for example. Look, I love her to the moon and back but sometimes I’m forced to wonder if she sleepwalks through the day because she’ll enter the room, look at the TV, see that it’s clearly a)a movie I’ve seen a billion times in her presence, b) a TV show I’ve been bingeing for the past fortnight and a half on Netflix, or some-such business that she ought to instantly recognise, and she’ll say, and I quote: “What are you watching?” Literally, one time it was Buffy and Buffy herself was on the screen, and my dear mother still asks “What are you watching?” Go figure.