Issue #131 – “Twenty-Nine Rules” – June 16th, 2008

-Recently I was telling a friend a story when she stopped me and asked how old the people I was referring to were. Instinctively, I said, “Kids. You know, our age.” It didn’t strike me as strange until later that I had just called a bunch of guys in their late twenties “kids.” And with my twenty-ninth birthday approaching this week, it has begun to occur to me that, as much as I don’t want grow up, it’s happening whether I like it or not. But although standing one year shy of thirty scares the shit out of me, the upside of being twenty-nine is that I’ve now been around long enough to pass down some valuable life lessons. So kids, listen up: here are some rules I wish I knew when I was your age.

-If you go out of your way to organize something fun for your buddies – a party, a dinner, a vacation – you will end up getting fucked. Someone won’t pay, or will break something, or will otherwise embarrass you. This is the collateral damage that comes with trying to make plans for borderline alcoholics. Figure it into your costs ahead of time.

-Unless something catastrophic has happened, don’t tell your mom any bad news. If you get into a minor fender bender or have a cold, your mom doesn’t need to know. After all the shit you’ve put her through, she deserves not to worry.

-As much as you hate your job, your boss hates his twice as much. Except he’s fifty, has kids and a mortgage, and can’t do shit about it.

-If your birthday is in the summer, prepare for a lifetime of disappointment. No cupcakes in elementary school. No parties in your honor in college. And after graduation, even the best-laid birthday plans are constantly disrupted by a never-ending string of engagement parties and weddings. All I want for my birthday this year is to have been born in March.

-Never order eggs from Subway. In 2006 I ate breakfast at Subway, and I’m telling you I haven’t been quite right since.

-If you’re about to go out but can’t remember if you put cologne on, don’t give yourself a precautionary spritz. Too much cologne is worse than none.

-Unless you work in entertainment or some ancillary industry thereof, there’s no reason to live in Los Angeles. If you like great weather and oceans and beaches and shit, move to San Diego or Miami.

-If you’re emailing a bunch of friends and find yourself writing at the bottom “PS: don’t forward this on,” just delete the email and walk away. You probably shouldn’t be sending it in the first place.

-In the end, I’ve found that turning twenty-nine has been a lot easier to deal with than when I turned twenty, or even twenty-five, both of which kinda got me depressed. Perhaps it’s because I have an even more daunting birthday – thirty – on the horizon. Or maybe it’s because this year I had bi-coastal birthday celebrations for the first time. In LA, I threw a party on a Wednesday night (this is the only city where you can pull that off because all the actors / models / comedians / writers don’t have to go to work in the morning). Then this past weekend I held my annual pub crawl in New York. Both were a blast – from what I can remember. Who am I to be having bi-coastal birthday parties, you ask? I’ll tell you who – someone who hasn’t had a cupcake with his name on it in twenty-nine fucking years.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-I hate when people lose their pet and then write the “Missing” poster in the first person. It’s always a blurry, photocopied picture of the animal with the caption: “If you find me, please call my owners!” It’s almost like the family is trying to shift the blame to the dog when it’s really their fault for leaving the fucking gate open.

-I have a spam filter that emails me a report once a day listing all the shit that’s been blocked. But one day, I stopped receiving the reports and couldn’t figure out why. After weeks of searching, I finally discovered where they were going: my junk mail folder.

-You know you’re getting older when you start wearing a seat belt in a taxi.

-My buddy Adam lets his fiancee access his email account and send replies pretending to be him because he’s too lazy to write back himself. The best part is that she even tries to replicate his horrible grammar and spelling – though she hasn’t quite perfected his unique syntax yet. So if I get an email from “Adam” that’s properly capitalized or contains words with more than two syllables, I’m pretty sure it’s an imposter.

-My friend Jen told me she was looking for a bicycle she could use to ride around Manhattan. So the next time I was at my parents’ house on Long Island, I went into the shed, dug out the beloved Mongoose I rode every day when I was thirteen, and gave it to her. She thanked me profusely, and I wished her luck. I doubt she’ll need it, though. If I remember junior high correctly, nothing earns you street cred like rocking a bright red ten-speed.

-I recently went to a new dentist to get a cleaning and was totally freaked out when they used a two-person operation. The hygienist cleaned my teeth while an assistant wielded the suction tube (which I still call “Mr. Thirsty”). Usually it’s just the hygienist in the room; I’ve never been double-teamed like that before. On one hand, it was more efficient. On the other hand, the requisite small talk was made all the more excruciating by having to mumble unintelligible answers to inane questions posed by two annoying people instead of one.

-And, finally, my frat buddy Shermdog and I have an interesting way of keeping in touch. As a surgeon in New York, he gets out of work ridiculously late and then calls me in LA since I’m the only one he knows who’s awake. This has worked out pretty well for a while, but all I can say is, he better keep in touch, since he owes me big time. At my birthday pub crawl two years ago, he hooked up with a chick, they started dating, and now they live together. And how am I repaid for such benevolence? He’s missed the two crawls since then in order to attend girlfriend-related excursions. If and when they get married, I’ll have only myself to blame for not following rule number one: organize something fun for your buddies and you’re the one that pays the price. Fuck me.