Sunday Advice Column #34


I’ve only got about 16 more of these advice columns to go. Thank god. When I came up with the idea for them, I was feeling pretty good about myself and my approach to life. These day, I can’t seem to shake the feeling we’re about to be overrun with GMO demons and flesh eating locusts.

Even if I had figured out a clever way to save money and be more productive, what good will it do when the forces of darkness have blackened the skies with the ash of a billion smoldering heathen bodies?  You can’t four hour work week your way out of global warfare.

Anyway, here’s some answers to some questions, although, there’s really only one question worth answering “if life is, on balance, more painful than joyful, why not end it now?” This is the whole point of Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus. I’ve read that book a few times and it seems like his answer is “if you kill yourself you’re a pussy. Don’t give God or the cosmic nothingness the pleasure of seeing you sweat.” Philosophy is a weird way to pass the time. I totally understand why people get really into drugs or Jesus. It means you can table thinking about that kind of depressing nonsense and just get on with what’s left of your life.

What are some books to stay away from, and why?

Marketing and philosophy. The marketing books are written by hacks who think they’re philosophers. The philosophy books are written by depressed, unbalanced creeps  who know nothing of happiness. You shouldn’t listen to either of them.

If you read How to Win Friends and Influence People and stay up on social media technology and its functions, you’re golden on marketing, forever. For philosophy, just read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and try not to be too big of a cunt to the people you run into.

If you were on death row, what would you request for your last meal?

I don’t think I’d eat. If I could get a bottle of Johnny Walker Black and some hallucinogenic mushrooms, that’s what I’d have. Probably a pack of Lucky Strikes, too.

Do you need to be a good reader in order to become a good writer?

Yes. This is one of the few things all the great writers have in common. People who teach writing usually kind of suck at it, so you have to really learn from masters. When you read great books you are literally seeing the tricks.

Be an active reader. Underline phrases that sound good to you. Circle words you don’t know and look them up. Highlight any simile and metaphor you find.

Stephen King’s book, On Writing, is hands down my favorite book about being a writer. He recommends a simple formula for anyone who wants to make it: read four hours a day, and write four hours a day.

If you had to survive on only one food, which food would it be? 


What are some things pet owners wish non-pet owners would stop saying? 

“I really want a dog.”

What are some dirty little secrets of bartending? 

Bartending has changed quite a bit in the five years since I’ve been retired. The type of work I did was high speed, turn and burn, here’s your drink now get the fuck out of my face, nightclub bartending. Speed, aggression, and drawer accuracy were the only things anyone in charge cared about.

These days it’s a bunch of cocktail dorks in fedoras worrying about their Instagram accounts and Yelp ratings. I just don’t get it. But I’m old and not getting it is part of this ride.

From an industry perspective, I’d say something you should know if you want to get into bartending is that you should really know yourself. No one tells you this, but whatever you are inside is going to be accelerated by bartending. If you’re manic or lazy or aggressive or slutty or adventurous, you”ll be even more so when you don’t have to deal with the square life.

Being a bartender was like being a weird, low-key pirate sometimes. The service industry takes care of its own and if you’re good and keep the drinks flowing, you can go to shows for free and eat anywhere like a VIP. You can make friends with real deviants and find yourself at after hours parties with hookers and drug dealers.

I wanted out for a long time. I don’t drink, so being sober that late at night really ground me down after a while. The money was always good, though. I still don’t make as much per hour as I did bartending, not even close. However, I missed out on so much. When my friends were going out to make memories and have fun, I was watching other people do the same. That always really sucked.

From a customer perspective, I don’t know what to tell you. You’re the enemy.

What would punk rock be like if it started right now?

I guess you have to explain a bit by what you mean by punk. I could imagine a Sid & Nancy reality show pretty easily. It would be like the white version of Being Bobby Brown.

I can’t think of a single place in the world for the austerity of the 80s punk scene. No one makes a virtue out of poverty anymore. If anything, it would probably look like Warp Tour acts do now.

I bet it wouldn’t be good.

Who do you think Negan killed?

I think they’re going to stick to the comics on this one.



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