1. The Beach
It sounds relaxing in theory, but then you get there and it’s always too crowded, and there’s garbage everywhere, and you’re hassled by seagulls that don’t respect your personal space, and sand gets up in your balls, and the only place you can find to sit is right in front of a guy with an exposed asscrack that looks like a volcano spewing fetid hair.
2. 3D Porn
Have you ever watched a porno and thought, “This would be so much hotter if projectiles of male viscous fluid came flying at my face?” No, we haven’t either.
3. Political opinions
Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one. And during an election year, opinions have a way of turning people into assholes. Whatever your political beliefs—even if we agree with them—most people are incapable of expressing them without sounding like gigantic anthropomorphic sphincters, loudly shrieking about their favorite candidates. Here’s something nobody has ever said during any political discussion in the history of humankind: “That’s an interesting point. I’ve never considered that before.”
4. Getting Drunk
Nobody wakes up after a night of heavy drinking and says, “What a night! I met some amazing new friends, got a job offer, and may have fallen in love with my perfect woman.” It’s usually more like, “Wait, who did I throw up on? I don’t even remember getting in a cab.” The only people bragging about public intoxication are frat guys and hedge fund managers, and that’s because they’re idiots.
5. Breaking News
An announcement of “breaking news” used to mean something significant had happened. The President was shot! The Berlin Wall has fallen! A football star beheaded his wife and her lover! But in today’s 24 hours news cycle, “breaking news” usually means some rappers you’ve never heard of are feuding on Twitter again, or an actress wore something not fashionable enough on the Golden Globes red carpet, and OMG, can you even believe it? Listen, unless we land a guy on Mars or Putin builds his own Iron Man suit, let’s just call it “news,” okay?
The last time being popular had real currency was in high school. But in the grown-up world, popularity counts for nothing. And it’s usually indicative that your life is otherwise pretty vapid and meaningless. Do you have any idea if Albert Einstein had lots of friends? Was he beloved in his social circle? We have no clue either. But Kim Kardashian has over 41 million followers on Twitter. You do the math.
7. California Rolls
California rolls are to sushi what gas station nachos are to Mexican food. It’s an anathema to those of us who know the difference. For something to qualify as sushi, it needs to have originated in southeast Asia, not Los Angeles. Did California invent Godzilla movies? No, they did not. Sushi, like gigantic apocalyptic lizards, belongs to the Japanese.
8. First Names With Creative Spellings
Remember the last time you met a guy named Elton, but he spelled his name “Elltyn,” and he turned out to be the most fascinating, hilarious, intelligent person you’ve ever known? Of course not, because that never fucking happens. There are only two explanations for why somebody would be named “Braedyn” or “Jaxon” or “Dareyn.” One, their parents had no faith in the future personalities of their children. Or two, the nurse at the hospital where they were born was home-schooled.
9. Red Wine
A glass of Cabernet is great, until some asshat starts lecturing you about tannins and decanting and how a wine needs to “breathe” before you can appreciate the front and the finish. People with too much enthusiasm for wine do more smelling than sipping, and say pretentious things like, “I’m getting hints of smoked leather, licorice, and slate.” Really? Because all we smell is booze and grapes. Is it any surprise that their favorite magazine is called The Wine Spectator? Well, there’s your problem right there. You’re not supposed to spectate wine, dumbasses.
As political dogmas go, democracy is pretty unassailable. Shouldn’t everyone get a voice? That makes sense until you realize that one of those voices is your racist uncle who still thinks Obama is a Muslim tyrant who wants kill Christian grandmas. If we let Democracy run our lives, every decision would be mob rule. Which means every meal would be pizza. Hey, it’s the only food everybody can agree on. And isn’t that what democracy is all about? Don’t try getting any of those fancy socialist toppings, like mushrooms or black olives. Stick with cheese and pepperoni, so everybody is happy-ish. Democracy wins again!
The British poet Anne Bradstreet once wrote, ”If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.” To which we say, go fuck yourself, Anne. Have you ever experienced a February on the East Coast? It’s like a goddamn Ingmar Bergman movie. There are 50 shades of grey during winter, and none of them involve spanking. Trust us, we’re fully capable of appreciating spring and summer without the endless shoveling-of-our-driveways nightmare of winter.
We refuse to buy any moisturizing products that promise us “dewy skin.” Why in the name of everything decent would we want dewy skin? Skin shouldn’t be dewy. Grass is dewy. Skin should look and feel like skin. If we remarked to one of our guy friends, “Your skin is looking dewy today,” the next words out of our mouth would be, “You should see a doctor. Like today. There’s a 50/50 chance you’re dying.”
Sorry, but nobody’s all that interested in what you do behind closed doors. Yes, there are hackers who want to steal your credit card information. But the people freaking out about the privacy settings on Facebook? They’re worried about nothing. Nobody wants to steal their baby pictures or pithy status updates. The world is filled with strangers convinced that everybody is spying on them. And they’re all wrong. No offense, but most lives are only fascinating to the people living them. The rest of us couldn’t care less.
14. Answers to Life’s Big Questions
What are you looking for exactly? Is there an answer that won’t be profoundly unsatisfying? There’ll never be an explanation that puts everything in perfect perspective. It’s all going to feel like a trite aphorism, an obnoxiously simplistic “just hang in there, kitty” meme. Any attempts to answer life’s big questions will always seem like a travel agent selling tickets to the moon. It’s exciting and hopeful, but nothing meaningful will come of it. You want the secret to life? Here it is: Don’t hurt anybody, and just do the best you can. That’s it. You’re welcome.
(This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in the May 2016 issue of Men’s Health.)