#4: Blind Date

#4: Blind Date

A friend of yours says they know a great girl that you should totally date. She’s cute, funny, and likes [insert cult movie or indie band] even more than you. You’ve been striking out on your own in the romance department, so you might as well take help where you can get it. And this friend of yours knows you pretty well. He’s never missed on restaurant recommendations, so his girlfriend recommendations must be just as good. And he hand-picked this girl just for you. She must be perfect. She is and always will be everything you’ve ever wanted in a significant other.

Now hold on there, champ. Let’s just take it back a bit. Remember what this is: a blind date. You’ve never met this person before in your life. You know the bagger at the grocery store better than you know this person. Sure, you both are entering the date with glowing references from your mutual friend, but you are basically a cold calling telemarketer, pitching yourself to a potential buyer. This girl said yes to the date, so she’s interested in the idea of dating you, but that doesn’t mean she’s interested in you. Ultimately, the only thing you could have in common is loneliness.

Just go on the date. Treat it as an exercise in conversation. Pretend you’re the host of a late night talk show. But don’t for once imagine scenarios where you wake up in the same bed or put a wedding ring on her finger. Just have fun. Worst case, you’ll get some nutritious antioxidants from that green tea you order at the coffeeshop.

#3: Adult Apartment

#3: Adult Apartment

You’ve graduated from college and have a “new car smell”-worthy degree. You’re ready to move to the Big City and start your awesome, adult life, full of subdued parties, responsibility, and taxes. There’s nothing that would go better with the next chapter of your life than your first adult apartment. No more John Belushi posters on your wall. You already put that marijuana flag in storage, so time to get ready for accent walls and throw pillows!

But you won’t get that gorgeous apartment perfect for wine and cheese nights, because you’re broke. You attended a liberal arts college, and your degree is worthless. Let’s be honest: you’re not going to get a job in Art History. And the job you are going to get will pay you a yearly salary less than the yearly tuition at your fancy alma mater. You won’t have the credit score or the money to lease that hip loft in the burgeoning downtown neighborhood. You’ll be lucky if you can even sign a lease on your own. Most likely, Mom or Dad will have to co-sign. And the apartment they’ll co-sign on will be a stucco-ceilinged, rusty-piped hovel with no parking space. They’ll remind you that engineering would have been more lucrative, and you’ll have to remind them that following your dreams is more important than money. Then you’ll avoid eye contact as they slip you a twenty.

Consider this first adult apartment as your training wheels on the bike of adulthood. Revel in the bad landlord that took six months to fix a towel rack. Savor the washer that broke and left your clothes soaking wet. This will all be great story fodder for those cocktail parties you’ll attend in your established forties. Besides, you’re in your early twenties. You don’t deserve nice things yet.

#2: Voting

#2: Voting

On November 6th, you’re going to wait in line to vote. You’ll slip into a private booth, punch your ballot, and drop it in a box, excited that you participated in the democratic process. After they tabulate the votes and declare a winner, that lucky politician will surely implement all the promises mentioned during their campaign. Right? Right?

Of course not. They’re politicians. A politician, like a horny teenage boy, will say anything necessary to get you in bed with them. And after they bed you, they’ll forget what they were talking about and fall asleep. Now, this doesn’t pertain to big campaign donors. Politicians tend to keep some promises to the people who bankrolled their win. Are you a big donor to a political campaign? No? Then don’t expect anything you wanted to happen after the election to happen. That way, if something actually does improve thanks to an elected official, it’s like a happy surprise.

It’s not entirely the politicians’ fault. People expect too much from these people. Those elected aren’t magical wizards who can automatically manifest positive change for the world. They won’t lower the price of gas or get you a better job. Even the most driven elected official, ready to improve society, has to slog through the murky waters that is politics. Have you ever looked at how hard it is to pass a bill? Nothing gets done in Congress because that’s how the Founding Fathers wanted it.

Even knowing all this, you still should vote. People have died over the simple act of checking a box next to a person’s name, so your cynicism shouldn’t overpower your privileged duty as a citizen. But as you drop off your ballot, prepare yourself for some grounded Hope and Change.

#1: The ER

#1: The ER

Oh man, you are just bleeding everywhere! Looking back, it was obviously a poor decision to hold the cantaloupe in your hand while you sliced it, but the memory of your own pulsating tendons is overwhelming your ability to reconsider past choices. It’s best to focus (somehow) on slowing this bleeding. You don’t want to die in the backseat of your friend’s speeding Corolla, do you? It’s a good thing you’re going to the emergency room, where you’ll be promptly taken care of in a manner that expresses America’s status as the preeminent flagship of the first world. Oh wait…

Crap! This is America, and you’re being driven to the Emergency Room in a vehicle other than an ambulance. While those ambulance lights and sirens are meant to convey a sense of urgency demanding passage through busy streets, they’re really more of an announcement to the hospital letting them know a VIP is approaching. Because your friend’s Corolla lacks the prestige of a vehicle carrying an injured foreign dignitary, the only emergency in the room you’re about to enter is regarding the vending machine and its dangerously low supply of Snickers bars. So… you are going to wait.

Good news: although you can’t properly fill out any paperwork because your writing hand is hanging limp like an unconscious squid, you were able to stop the bleeding. Bad news: since you were able to stop the bleeding, your level of urgency has dropped, meaning you’re going to wait longer than if you had almost bled to death all over the outdated magazines. Just take it easy. After only an hour and a half, you’ll FINALLY be taken to a smaller room where you’ll wait some more, but at least you’ll be alone (while you die). In another fifteen minutes, Dr. “I Hate This Shift” is going to passively tell you what you should have done before hastily sewing you back together so he can grab another smoke break. “…sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.”

Instead of expecting great things from an ER, just be careful. Don’t do anything stupid that might result in a trip to the emergency room. How about that? The only worthwhile ER was Thursday nights on NBC, and even they depended on Seinfeld as a means of bringing you in.