Monday, April 19, 2010
Life Magazine

Discovering the Fallibility of your Parents

Ceremonious: +2
Cathartic: –6
Complicated: –1
Crying: +2

Total: –3

CCV: 4/2

UR: –6

When we’re young, our parents are our role models, marking the path of expected behavior through their examples. As we grow older and gradually begin to interact with them as our peers, we start to understand their faults as we do those of everybody else in our lives. This Life Moment, while blacklisted for being initially disorienting, opens up a whole new world of acceptable behavior. It eventually becomes clear that not every man must end the day picking their teeth with business cards while watching Antiques Roadshow. Not every woman should habitually groom her cuticles until they bleed and then wrap them in little bits of toilet paper. When we learn to see our parents as mortals rather than minor deities, we’re suddenly free to develop our own bad habits and make up our own bullshit answers to questions we don’t understand. As an added bonus, this discovery is a vital step on the road to our parents’ twilight years, when dementia and incontinence will make mimicking their behavior much more difficult and gross.


Life Magazine

Second Base

Ceremonious: +1
Cathartic: –3
Complicated: –2
Crying: –5

Total: –9

CCV: 3/2

UR: –13.5

Though often overlooked in a mad dash for Third or a wild attempt to steal Home, Second Base is perhaps the most satisfying of all the bases. Unlike the perilous decent to Third Base, there are no lurking surprises; Second Base is more or less exactly what you expect. It’s easy to understand, simple to use, and there’s very little cleanup. Accessing Second Base for the first time serves as a crash course in dextral coordination, often in darkened conditions and under the threat of parental discovery while struggling to tune out Finding Neverland. In addition, it’s safe, disease free, and condoned by most religious organizations. Second Base is also the perfect choice when you’re on the go, being a less elaborate undertaking than the later bases, and one that can easily be achieved in a movie theatre or the back of a Honda Civic.


Life Magazine

Hitting Rock Bottom

Ceremonious: –3
Cathartic: +2
Complicated: –2
Crying: +1

Total: –2

CCV: 2/2

UR: –2

The American Dream runs in both directions, and it stands to reason that you’ll never realize your potential for wild success until you make peace with your capacity for utter failure. Furthermore, like a child who only understands fire when burned, you’ll never really feel the desire to achieve until you’ve spent a week in your underwear, covered in Cheez-It dust, building a pyramid of empty Colt 45 bottles in your living room. And sometimes even the most law-abiding among us must scare ourselves straight with a mad dine-and-dash from a roadside Friendly’s, tasting fear for the first time as we hide from the police in the shrubbery of the highway median. As a relatively successful Scotsman once said, “Every man dies, not every man truly lives,” which I’m pretty sure was in reference to the experience of masturbating in a T.J. Maxx changing room before walking out wearing six pairs of stolen underwear.


Life Magazine


Ceremonious: –2
Cathartic: +3
Complicated: –3
Crying: –4

Total: –6

CCV: 5/3

UR: –10

Just as everyone has “the one that got away,” there’s also “the one who was around for way too long.” This relationship gets a lot of bad press, but it’s fundamental to the development of one’s self-esteem and ability to relate to the opposite sex. You learn to communicate through prolonged periods of silence rather than words. You learn how to have an undercover argument in a crowded room full of people. You develop the ability to sleep next to someone without allowing your bodies to touch, as if involved in some terrible, oversized game of Operation. Most importantly, your sense of self-worth develops a thick callus under a daily barrage of passive-aggressive barbs. A well timed codependent relationship teaches the positive lesson, “never settle,” while simultaneously preparing us for the inevitable settling that will one day overtake us all.


Life Magazine

Giving Up Your Dreams

Ceremonious: –2
Cathartic: +4
Complicated: –2
Crying: –2

Total: –6

CCV: 4/5

UR: –4.8

This Life Moment is so reviled that some people spend their entire existence putting it off. The force of denial within them is so strong that an entire infrastructure has been build to support their desperately gasping dreams, including open mics, busking, performance art, and blogs. But ask yourself this: What can be more relaxing than accepting your limitations and easing into a life of complacent mediocrity? Imagine, no more failure, no more discouragement, and no more false hopes. Imagine coming home, not to an unfinished screenplay or home recording studio, but to a well-worn easy chair and back-to-back episodes of C.S.I. Imagine searching through the mail, not for rejection letters, but for the latest issue of Us Weekly, at which you’ll chuckle to yourself over the perils of success. Desperately clinging to a dream is everyone’s inalienable right. But remember, the same activities that are called “paying dues” at age 25 have another name at age 35: “failure.”

Jamie King is a writer and comedian from Washington State, based in Brooklyn. Recently, his work has appeared online in Yankee Pot Roast, McSweeney’s and Tire Swing Press, as well as onstage at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre, New York. More essays, videos, and propaganda can be found at

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