Slightly Delayed Karma’s Gonna Get You


I make a lot of Bad Life Choices. I’m trying to cut back, which is why I have a Bad Life Choice jar ($1/BLC), but the truth is that I’ve had this jar for two years and lately I’m so broke I keep having to write IOUs to it. Since the financial appeal clearly wasn’t effective, I also taped a quote to my wall this year.

“Deciding on the right thing to do in a situation is a bit like deciding on the right thing to wear to a party. It is easy to decide on what is wrong to wear to a party, such as deep-sea diving equipment or a pair of large pillows, but deciding what is right is much trickier. The truth is that you can never be sure if you have decided on the right thing until the party is over and by then it is too late to go back and change your mind, which is why the world is filled with people doing terrible things and wearing ugly clothing.”–Lemony Snicket

I thought maybe inspiring words would help me on my journey to Bono-esque self-righteousness, but if you’re any good at reading comprehension, you may have noticed that the words I chose are not actually inspiring. They’re an observation on the state of the world and fashion, and they make me laugh so hard I nearly choke, but they don’t encourage so much as excuse.

I am not good at reading comprehension, so I didn’t notice the overall message until late this week, when I was reflecting on some recent Bad Life Choices and having a meltdown brought on by hunger. I’m like the opposite of the Hulk when I’m hungry. I sort of melt into a puddle of whimpering, exhausted goo. (Anorexia has never been one of my bad life choices.)

Out of ideas and desperately trying to find a way to save myself from myself, I decided to make a guide to Good Life Choices. (I know, I know. I make too many guides. When your life spirals out of control as often as mine does, you desperately need them.) This particular guide is made entirely out of advice given to me during this roughest of rough weeks.

1. “Don’t run into anything.”–Jeff, who asks before throwing things at me

I left my glasses all over the place this week. Without them, I go into Velma Dinkley mode and start crawling around, trying to feel for them and running into monsters. That’s why this is great advice! Even if you’re blinded by whatever events are happening in your life, don’t forget to look out for the next thing, or you’ll run into it. In Velma’s case, that thing could eat you.

Velma Dinkley

2. “When in doubt, wear black.” –Levi, who edits things LIKE THIS

Ironically, this piece of advice was given to me while I was trying to figure out what to wear to a party. I had just rejected my scarf that says “Tuba Christmas” and had moved on to a plaid shirt that was a hand-me-down from my 75-year-old grandma. My mom hates it when I wear black (something about “melanin” and “you look like a zombie” and “my daughter is goth”), but I think this is fabulous advice. Black is classy. It makes you feel confident and put-together. Johnny Cash wore black and he never made any Bad Life Choices. Well… except for the alcoholism/drug addiction/accidentally starting a forest fire/trespassing/police-bribing stuff.


3. “Next time, just give up.” –My editing and design for print professor, who leaves nice comments on this here blog

There are some battles you can’t win, and there are some documents that won’t print in time for class. There’s no point in slamming your head repeatedly against a metaphorical brick wall when you’re in a crummy situation. Sometimes the best thing to do is pause, take a deep breath, apply an ice pack, and move on to the next wall, which is hopefully made out of cardboard or that fake movie glass.

4. “Don’t forget your name tag.” –Adrienne, who, contrary to popular belief, is not my girlfriend

A lot of the time, we don’t get credit for the positive things we do. I almost left my name tag at home before volunteering on Saturday morning, which meant that no one would have been able to thank me by name when I stuck signs in traffic cones, which was pretty special for such a meaningless task. On the other hand, forgetting it would have meant fewer old men looked at my chest, so this one could go either way.

5. “Get some Braveheart paint on your face, find him later, and declare your absolute likeness for him!” –Brandon, who isn’t helping me become less socially awkward

There’s nothing wrong with manning up and putting yourself out there, especially when it comes to romance and job offers. And since I have to get a real people job in May, I think I need to find some Braveheart paint, a kilt, and a healthy dose of crazy Mel Gibson’s passion to kickstart my networking.

Job interviews may be awkward. “Your contract would forbid freelancing.”

“You may take my time, but you will never take my FREEEEEEDOM!”

As far as declaring my absolute likeness goes, the British may need to kill a few more of my family members before I’m brave enough for that.

I think this look says, “Date me because I’m fun and definitely not crazy.”

6. “Stephanie, put a sock in it!”- Unnamed Professor

If you shut up and listen, you can avoid some significant Bad Life Choices. If you never bring them up, you don’t have to rehash the old ones. And if you stop telling the kid next to you about your Converses and listen to the lecture on audio mixers, your video production professor probably won’t yell at you. See? Good news all around.

I don’t know if any of this will help me as far as Bad Life Choices go. I’m starting to think life is a series of Bad Life Choices punctuated by the occasional Awesome Life Choice, so I’ll look at this week as a learning experience. Things really are looking up.

Does anyone know where I can buy blue face paint?


  1. Lorna's Voice

    Except for the “When in doubt wear black” (may have to rethink that on a blistering hot sunny day if you’kk be outside), I’d consider a search for some new advisers!

    Also, in the Inspirational Quotes Department, that one seems a bit lengthy. By the time I finished reading that one every day, I’d be late for whatever it was I was trying to dress for!

    Fashion relfects you. I bet whatever you wear is great as long as you feel comfortable and self-assured in it. To heck with what other people think. Free yourself from the bonds of other people’s tastes. Be yourself–life is too short to figure out how to be someone else (I know, I tried!)!

    Funny, funny post, by the way! I’m adding you to my Blogroll…

  2. Pingback: Throwing salt in an old wound isn’t as bad as they make it out to be… « perpetualabsurdity
    • Stephanie

      Ha. Thank you for your nomination! I’m deeply honored, and if I ever have enough focus I’m going to fulfill the requirements. It may take months, but dammit, I’ll do it.

    • Stephanie

      In my defense, the reason I was afraid to ask about woad is that in every example I’ve seen of someone wearing it, they’re committing acts of violence. The website seems safe, though. I’ll be a woad expert before you know it.

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