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Top 5 Pieces of Advice I Have For You Today

Welcome to Issue No. 5 of Listicles, the feature that presents the Top 10, Top 5, Top 3, Top 100 or Top 1,000,000 of whatever it is you want to know about. Email your Listicle suggestions to johnagliata@gmail.com.

Humans are good at giving advice. Taking it? Not so much.

The problem is that most advice doesn’t help us in everyday, practical situations.

“Look before you leap.” Sure. The next time I’m on a cliff, I’ll do that.

So yeah, it’s either irrelevant or downright dangerous.

“Whatever you do, give it 100%” … said the person a few months before collapsing from burnout.

“Never, never, never give in.” Obviously said by a single person.

Advice needs to be practical and lead to our longevity, not our demise. So here are the Top 5 Pieces of Advice I Have For You Today.


No. 5: Use the bathroom before filling up your water bottle.

You might think you “only have to pee a little bit.” You won’t by the time that gallon jug you carry around is full. Pee first. Let you and your water bottle both start empty.


No. 4: When you hear someone scream ‘heads up!’ duck.

I’m constantly amazed that, at every baseball game I attend, a foul ball is smashed and everyone in the general vicinity of where it’s going tells everyone who’s not paying attention to expose their face and brainsack as much as possible. Don’t. Take the advice I was given in kindergarten to save me from a Russian nuclear attack and duck-and-cover, preferably under a desk if one is near.


No. 3: Order the large.

Sure, you might only eat what comes in the medium right now. But leftovers are what fuels America. Well, that and impotent outrage. Leftover pizza. Leftover Chinese. The second half of that sub. If you only get the medium, you’re cheating yourself out on convenience and a friendly visit from the Ghost of Meals Past. Order the large.


No. 2: If you have the chance to take your shot, pass.

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky wants you to go for it. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” says the Great One. But let’s look at the numbers. Gretzky took 5,088 shots during his career and scored on only 894 of them. Forget the fact that that’s actually a shit-ton of goals in comparison to every other player ever, including me in middle school gym floor hockey games. It means he failed miserably on more than 82% of the shots he took. So yeah, by all means, go ahead and take that shot. But you’re no Wayne Gretzky at anything you do, so the chance of you succeeding must be even less than 18%. It probably would go better if you just passed.


No. 1: Just Don’t

I don’t know how many really crappy things could be avoided if we all lived by this mantra. Thinking about wearing that shirt that you think looks good on you buy you’re not sure? Just don’t. Mad at your husband and want to smash his balls with a tire iron? Just don’t. Think your in good enough shape to try out for that adult softball team. Just don’t.

No one has ever been hurt, maimed or killed by ignoring their instincts to act. We’re a dumb species. Really, really dumb. We can’t do nearly as much as we think we can. So whatever you’re thinking of doing today, whenever you are thinking “Do I? Should I? I can do it, right?” No. You can’t. Just don’t.


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