Be Nicer to People!
After years of sighing loudly at people who don’t move far enough into the subway car to make room for you, looking down your nose at people whose taste in film and music is less advanced than yours, and viciously, actively coveting the possessions and living quarters of your more affluent friends, you’ve decided to turn over a new leaf. To look the other way. To brush stuff off. To go out of your way to help people and just generally be kinder and more accepting. The truth, though, is that you don’t stand a chance. So if you’re going to continue being a jerk (and you are), at least pick the right battles.
How to Break It:
For instance, you could go to Sea Chantey Night: A Melville Era Sing-A-Long at the Brooklyn Lyceum, Feb. 16, 7pm (227 Fourth Ave, Brooklyn), which will be jam-packed with people pretending to be pirates. Just ‘cause it’s in Brooklyn, doesn’t mean it’s more respectable than ComicCon. Go ahead, tell them all about it. They deserve it.
This is an admittedly more drastic suggestion, but hear us out: Next time you get truly bad service — inattentive, slow, rude — in a restaurant, don’t leave a tip. Or, leave a noticeably undersized tip and write a little note on your bill explaining exactly why you’ve failed to cough up the full 20%. Otherwise, you’re just going to leave angry, go home angry, sit angrily on your couch, thinking about all money you gave your waiter for doing nothing, then probably die of a heart attack.
You once read that the average American gains two or three pounds a year for the rest of his life. Or something akin. And you definitely pulled your weight (oh ho!) in 2007. “So I won’t just lie down with a sack of Splenda Ding Dongs and be a statistic,” you tell yourself — there’s plenty of flax loaf and free-range royal jelly suppositories to turn you into a svelte, smooth-running machine that’ll live until 2100, even if during those last 20 years your body has to be kept in a tank of weightless gel.
Is that seriously what you dream of? That’s horrible. All things in moderation, especially nasty foods that are outlandishly expensive and designed to replace things that bring you joy. Ok fine, there’s nothing wrong with wheat bread or organic strawberries, but that’s no reason to give up nature’s other gifts, like logs of butter, and pork. Here are just three ways you could indulge in sinfully porky opulence this winter. Come on, you’ve earned it, maybe.
How to Break It:
Sing your teeth merrily into Rub BBQ’s Taste of the Baron special ($45.75), which can easily feed several people, but doesn’t have to. Attack the meat septet — plus a quarter rack of ribs — solo, and follow it with a dainty heap of Fried Oreos ($5.25).
Or go classier with the Pork Braciola Marinara ($14) at Frankie’s 17 (17 Clinton St)— a small mountain of flattened pork spiked with herbs and parmesan and braised for hours in a rich marinara until it falls apart into fatty delight at the touch of a fork — your fork.
And just because it’s salad doesn’t mean it’s virtuous: the Watermelon Pickle and Crispy Pork Salad ($10) at Fatty Crab is an unmissable symphony of pleasure, studded generously with the crisp-on-the-outside, melting-on-the-inside cubes of sheer pork fat. Die happy, and sooner!
Finish Your Novel/Make Art/Start a Band!
Wow. Talk about arrogant. Have you seen how many books there are these days? And people don’t even read anymore. Art? Contemporary art? You might as well throw yourself into a vat of rusty pennies. But, uhhh, can we be in your band? Fuck it, nevermind, what’s the point…
How to Break It:
The happiest among us are those who very early figured out the limits of their potential, who realized what they were good at and where to devote their energy. Going strictly by percentages it is likely that you are not going to be a successful novelist, esteemed painter or, indeed, a rock and roll star. The sooner you come to accept this, the sooner you can lead a happy existence. For a glimpse of what it actually means to be a real writer, head to to the Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble (1972 Broadway) Jan. 30, at 7:30pm to see Russell Banks read from his latest book The Reserve. Now this guy’s a professional: good, honest sentences, engaging stories, easily adapted to film — you think you could do better? In terms of art, unless you have an MFA from Columbia you might want to consider passing yourself off as an outsider artist (which takes a fair bit of work in terms of perfect socially dysfunctional mannerisms) — for example, the American Museum of Folk Art (45 W 53rd St) has some fascinating work, including the definitive collection of Chicago wingnut Henry Darger’s 30,000-page/300-watercolors epic world of the Vivian Girls (look out, it’s the Glandelinians!). As for music, well, if you need to get your yeah-yeahs out, you can have your vicarious rock experience with live band karaoke, which is all over this damn city: Human Karaoke, Feb. 7th at O’Flanagan’s (1215 First Ave); Rock n Roll Karaoke, Mondays at Arlene’s Grocery (95 Stanton St); piano standards, Sundays at Soft Spot (128 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg).
Watch Less TV!
“No more of this!” you thought. “I’ve lost precious hours, days… weeks even, if you were to add it all up, watching reruns of Friends, The Golden Girls and, god help me, Everybody Loves Raymond, not to mention afternoon-long marathons of entire seasons of America’s Next Top Model, and while I can’t be sure, I think I may actually have felt a little bit of my brain spill out from my ear, onto my already-stained couch.” So with that, you resolved to use your time more wisely, reading more books, going to more museums, meeting more people. Your heart was in the right place, but man, fuck all that stuff. Books end, museums close, people are usually awful; the television is always there for you. You love it, and if that glow is any indication, it may even love you back. Embrace it.
How to Break It:
First of all, you need to get DVR ($9.95/month) or Tivo or something. The secret to watching tons of TV without completely fucking up your life is to make sure you’re not beholden to programming schedules. This way, you can watch Next, Celebrity Rehab and Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood whenever you want. This is awesome, obviously.
But you owe it to yourself, as a decent, semi-intelligent person, to seek out some of the more respectable titles the format has offered, so that when your “friends” tell you you’re pathetic, you can successfully argue your case. It’s quite an investment, but start with M.A.S.H.: Martinis and Medicine, a 36-disc collection of every single episode of the landmark series. It also includes Robery Altman’s feature film version, which will earn you the respect of your film-nerd friends.
Also, there’s at least one show that you don’t watch, even though everyone says you should. Get on that. They’re probably right. Maybe it’s The Wire, maybe it’s 30 Rock or How I Met Your Mother. Non-M.A.S.H. DVDs are affordable (Season One of Friday Night Lights for $20? Amazing.), so there’s no reason to be left in the dark.