Skip to main content

The Best Advice I've Never Had

They were talking on the radio today about bad advice that people have been given. It was a bit too early for me to concentrate on listening to a grown up, but I do think that someone had been told to rub onions on their breasts in order to make them grow, and somebody else had been told that if they have hair on their legs they should wear the tightest skinny jeans possible and that the chafing of jeans on skin would remove hair.
But there's worse when you think about it. I was told to do things like: marry a nice man and don't give up your little jobeen, and make sure you get a mortgage, because there's nothing surer than this: house prices will never come down.
Luckily for me, I'm way too stubborn to take advice, so most of it was lost on me. I was wishing though, that I'd been told a few things that I had to learn on my own. It might have saved me years.
First of all, nobody told me that work is the very same as school - the managers are the teachers and the M.D. is the principal. The rest of the workforce are the students, and where there is a divide of operators and staff, well you could say the staff are the borders and the operators the day students.
You still sneak off for a  cigarette, and not having your projects in on time is what used to be homework.
There will be random teachers/managers pets, rebels, people always out sick who might be at risk of getting expelled/fired and there will always be the know it all bright sparks, the tell tales and those who will cover for you so that you don't get caught at the back of the bikeshed.
Today is my first day back at the day job after a few weeks holiday and it feels a bit like that old feeling of going back to school. On the one hand you're dreading it, and on the other you have the nice new books and the clean desk and the feeling of a new start. And just like school, I was dying to get my teeth back into it but once I did I got back that age old feeling of worrying that maybe this year everything will be way too hard.

I never knew that no matter how bad you look in a photo, if you see it a few years later you'll think that you actually didn't look all that bad at all, and wish you were that skinny now, even though back then you thought you were fat.
Of course I do get advice too, mostly from my teenage kids without whom I never would have known that I am too grotesquely fat and ugly to be seen with them in public, that I know nothing, have terrible tastes in music, clothes, furniture and shoes (which is a good thing to know, seeing as I have no money left to buy anything for myself once feeding their needs at the Abercrombie & Fitch Store).
I wish someone had told me this, though: if you reach middle age and discover you have not fulfilled all of your dreams, hopes and aspirations, don't worry, because it also won't matter. If I'd known that I wouldn't even have tried.
Well on a totally different note, I'm thinking of starting up a Charasmatic Religion. It's supposed to be the most lucrative business to be in these days. Any good advice?


Popular posts from this blog

A Packet of Solpadeine and a Lecture Please

Years ago I was a respectable lady married to a nice German doctor, and it was he who brought to my attention that in Germany you can only buy pain killers in a chemist and not in a petrol station, pub or supermarket and that there was not a chance in hell that you could ever buy a pain killer with codeine in it directly from a pharmacy, which in Ireland, you can - Solpadeine.
Then a friend of mine who is a pharmacist told me that Solpadeine was her best seller. So lucrative were the sales that she did not have enough room to store the stuff in her pharmacy. But that was also back in the time when I was respectable, and in the meantime the Solpadeine police seem to be out on patrol.
Now if you ask me, I think it's pure madness to sell substances with codeine in them over the counter at a pharmacy, and I'm also a bit iffy about buying paracetemol in the supermarket, given that any 13 year old can go in and stock up on a drug that is lethal in relatively small doses. But there a…

The MoMa, a Beggar and my Limp

There’s a woman who walks up and down the streets around West 82nd and Amsterdam Avenue asking people if they’ll give her a dollar. I’d put her around 80. Small, wiry, bent, wispy hair. Brittle bird legs in black tights, but still a follower of fashion in a knit skirt with a tartan pattern, more the kind of skirt you might see on a 20-year-old Asian student. Pale pink lipstick, and a crimson red blouse topped with a cream overcoat despite the muggy August New York heat. I wonder what she does with the money she collects. She doesn’t look like she eats anything, can’t tell if she drinks. She’s sober when she pushes her trolley bag up and down 82nd, asking ‘do you have a dollar for me?’ I don’t give her one. I keep my dollars for the MoMa. My feet are killing me after walking into the city, but I’m scared of the subway. I did make a weak attempt, but have no idea what they mean by uptown and downtown. Both of these expressions mean the same thing where I come from: Uptown – as in, I’m…

Letter to a Boy, who Died aged 18, by Suicide

Dear Tiernan,
I shouldn’t be writing you this letter. I should be hearing about you from my son, your childhood best friend. It should be about some course you are doing, or a plan that you all have to meet up. But that’s all gone. Now there’s just that awful day that you went missing. The day a boy was seen jumping off the bridge. Next time I saw you, you were in a coffin, your body, bashed up by the waves; bruised, broken, dead. The boy who told me ‘be nice to nerds, you’ll be working for them some day.’ The boy who I watched grow up, who I held great faith in. Dead at 18. And what’s left? The rest of us. Your inconsolable friend, his sister and his mother, travelling back to the West of Ireland for your funeral. Sitting in your home. Going into your bedroom and picking up your things. Yesterday this was your camera, these were your pyjama bottoms, that was your sketchbook. Now they feel strange to the touch. Relicts. And we, who never shut up, are silent. There are no words for ou…