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Never Get Involved in a Land War in Asia

By Mrs. Julien | Comment Diversions | November 17, 2012 |

By Mrs. Julien | Comment Diversions | November 17, 2012 |

Always take a picture of yourself on a day when you look good. Then, in twenty years, as far as anyone knows, that’s how you looked all the time.

That is the sum total of my life experience and the only advice I really have to offer. It is excellent advice for the deeply vain, but not exactly profound; fortunately, I have also been given excellent advice upon occasion, to wit:

My first boyfriend and I dated for several years. He wasn’t always as nice to me as he might have been. Run of the mill youthful schmuck behavior. I’m sure he had complaints about me too, I know I do, and perhaps Mr. Julien could suggest some as well. About a year after our break up, I was dating a gorgeous man 7 years my junior named Fabio. (That’s not relevant to the story, I just like to mention it whenever possible.) I made the rather odd decision to meet my ex-boyfriend for coffee. I felt confident going in, but it was all an illusion. When your first love, who can read you like a book, is sitting across the table from you, you’re naïve to think you can come away unscathed. We discussed who we were seeing and what was happening in our lives. We talked for hours. It was familiar and fun, and I found myself opening up in ways I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with, but I was smiling and telling myself it was so great. We were so grown up and civilized! We could be friends.

The next day, I was bent out of shape in about 10 different ways. I felt manipulated and hurt. I was so angry with my ex-boyfriend that I was ranting to a friend about it. He simply said, “You know, just because you’re not in control doesn’t mean the other person is”. I still have the post it I frantically scribbled it down on. I try to remember that when I am feeling mistreated or put upon it doesn’t mean the other person is some gigantic jerk or schemer. They might be having a hard time too. It’s difficult to remember in the moment, but it works as an excellent salve later, especially when one remembers that when we are really upset at someone else, it’s usually really ourselves we are angry with. (That last bit is from Will and Grace of all places.)

I’m still friends with Fabio. He’s a paramedic now and would like to advise all of you not to cut a down jacket off a patient

Welcome to your weekend comment diversion. Please tell us about excellent advice you have either given or received.