Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sweat the Small Stuff

Occasionally I'll post a non-politcal humor piece like this one:

A recent visit to my local bookstore revealed a little volume entitled "Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff." Filled with enough homilies, platitudes and meditations to choke a horse, the basic message of this perennial bestseller is that obsessing about everyday problems is counterproductive.

Nice as that sentiment is, I simply can’t let it stand unchallenged. As a lifetime member of the anal-retentive school of neurotic skeptics, I thrive on the small stuff. And with good reason. If you don’t sweat the small stuff, you often end up getting killed by the ensuing big stuff.

I could write a book on this topic but that would take a lot of work and that truly would be counterproductive. So, for now, here are a few of my "prescriptions for living" that require you to, indeed, sweat the small stuff:

1. Go outside, turn around and look at your roof. See those shingles curling at the ends? That’s small stuff but if you don’t get your roof replaced in short order, you’ll soon have more problems than George W. Bush nation building in Baghdad.

2. All things being equal, place the toilet roll with the paper hanging over, not under. Common sense dictates that this provides a shorter distance to reach the paper. No sense in risking undue injury while on the john.

3. Obsess about the nighttime placement of your keys, watch and wallet. The older you get, the less you remember. Put essential things in the same place every night and chances are they’ll be there in the morning.

4. Brush and floss your teeth regularly and religiously. It’s a small thing but it beats root canal hands down. If it’s too late for you, place your teeth in the same spot as your keys, watch and wallet (see item # 3).

5. Always take the same route to work. It gets you there on time and you don’t have to think about it. Risking the "adventure" of change can only lead to disorientation, tardiness and possible multiple traffic violations.

6. Don’t stop and smell the roses. Rose bushes have thorns and you’re probably allergic to roses anyway.

7. Buy your car new and have regular maintenance performed. Overlooking the small stuff can lead to never ending automotive frustration and the unintended financing of the orthodontic work of your auto mechanic’s daughter.

8. Read the expiry dates on food products. Together with mold growth and unusual odors, they are handy reminders as to when to throw out items hiding in the back of your fridge. N.B. - Canned goods with a "19" anywhere in the year are iffy, at best.

9. Avoid computer use. Between computer viruses, e-mail worms and software bugs, every additional minute you spend on-line exponentially increases your chances of being reduced to an incoherent, babbling idiot vainly trying to fix some insoluble computer snafu.

10. Don’t buy more gizmos than you can plug into a standard, two-socket outlet. Each item purchased beyond two doubles your chances of not being able to hook everything up and triples your chances of frying the circuits on at least one device.

11. And finally, resist the urge to buy quick-fix, self-help books filled with aphorisms and daily prescriptions for living. Sure, you can sometimes turn lemons into lemonade. But remember; when someone hands you gators, it’s darn near impossible to make Gatorade.

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