Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The simpering life

Have you ever wondered how to enhance your own timidity and sorrow? Want to maximize the time you waste? Don’t be trapped on the inside looking out! This list is for anyone who’s ever muttered, “Wow, I wish I could slack like that! It’s like he’s not even trying!” If you really want to master the art of lukewarm living, adhere to these useful guidelines (but not too closely, now):

  1. Allow people who mock you to influence your life. Little minds shrink when opposed.
  2. Fall seven times, rise six.
  3. Don’t allow your conscience to approve of your conduct; that could cause you to persist in noble pursuits.
  4. Neither permit your conscience to disapprove of your conduct; that could cause you to reform your ways.
  5. Your elders are a great resource of experience, support, and advice, so ignore them.
  6. History is full of examples of people overcoming desperate odds and doing great works. Therefore, learn nothing from history.
  7. Be sloppy in small matters: it’s excellent training for larger failures, should you have the misfortune to be trusted with anything important.
  8. Effort changes things for the better, but it cuts into your leisure time and demands discipline and sacrifice. You’re more important than that.
  9. Have no ambition beyond the status quo, and no principle save to avoid trouble.
  10. Do not worship, or otherwise admit any claim, desire, or authority above your own.
  11. Shun anything imaginative or aesthetic. Art, beauty, music, and poetry are the enemies of the drab and mediocre.
  12. Settle. Excellence is an unreasonable demand to make of oneself.
  13. Insist on rights and privileges, especially those you have not earned.
  14. Danger, misfortune, fear, and injustice are the lot of all men; who are you to try to do better than that?
  15. Do not focus wholeheartedly on any task, lest your accomplishments make others feel badly for themselves.
  16. Disappointment is proof that you were wrong to begin with.
  17. Quitting is a trap – it admits responsibility and requires action. You ought to avoid both whenever possible. Therefore, when giving up, just drift off and leave your tasks to others.
  18. Do all things the way you always have: tepidly, unwilling to learn, and with a proper attitude of gloom and petulance.
  19. Avoid new things. They broaden the mind, challenge the body, and strengthen the will. Remember, you’re ok now!
  20. Dreams are dangerous. They inspire and encourage. You should have none of your own and belittle those of others.
  21. Don’t be brave, persistent, lively, or daring. These things lead to success – and worse, happiness.
  22. Risk in nothing – neither work, nor play, nor study; nor especially love.
This post was inspired by Doug Giles of Townhall.com and his own list of twenty, found here. (Wing tip to the inestimable Fausta.) I took the liberty of some editing, based on my own inside knowledge as a first-class saboteur of my own life; needless to say, I prefer my version but you can be the judge. However, I do admit one failing – my list was supposed to fall short of twenty, thus standing as an example of how not to finish a task. Sadly, I succeeded instead.

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