Words to Live By

My Senior Yearbook Photo

My high school senior yearbook quote was: “If somebody ever asks you do to something, do it really bad so you never have to do it again.” – Paris Hilton.

While I have no idea if Paris Hilton actually said this, I think my dad will adamantly agree that I make it a point to live up to this ambitious standard of life. My dad often refers to me as “Huckleberry Finn”, and although I’m never quite certain what he means by this, I don’t think he means it as a compliment. Especially since the name “Huckleberry” reminds me of squat, dimply children with freckles and makes me want to wipe something down with a Clorox wipe.

Of course, I’m no stranger to name-calling — having such a successful (dog sitting) career, impressive home-office setup and borderline patentable gym-rat routine, I’m bound to be targeted with jealous negativity. Throw Buster and my beefy feline clientele into the mix, and I am indeed someone to be envied.

Gretel from Chicago. Not one of my actual clients, but a good friend nonetheless. Click for full story.

Anyways, from what a gather, Huckleberry Finn was a manipulative little brat of a boy who persuaded someone by the name of Tom to paint an entire fence for him. While I detest children, especially ones whose very names sound sticky and syrupy, I have to admit I admire Huck’s style. “But I don’t know how” is one of my most commonly used phrases around the house. For example, every morning I ask how to make oatmeal, and every morning someone makes it for me in a moment of “teaching.” The same goes for making omelets, rolling up extension cords, cooking rice, ironing, and resetting the wireless router. I’m beginning to wonder if my parents worry about my mental competency to live independently, but it’s a trade-off I’m willing to take.

The other component to this way of life is actually making it a point not to learn how to do something. My example for this is the thermostat. I have never learned how to use the thermostat, nor will I ever try. There are a few things in life that send my dad into a frugal fit of rage, the top two being tossing out expired food (“It’s only a suggestion! That’s how they make yogurt!”), and tampering with the thermostat. My dad has the thermostat set to a very specific and well-planned time schedule. And by that I mean we generally freeze our asses off 10-12 hours of the day.

When some brave soul dares alter the sacred thermostat schedule, my dad begins his witch hunt.

“68 degrees?! It’s burning up in here! Who turned it up? Jo, was it you?”

“No, Dad. I don’t know how.” Ah, how the truth shall set you free.

“Rich, it was me! We’re freezing in here!” My mom will protest.

“Carol, it’s because you aren’t dressed right! (my house apparently has a winter dress code) Layers! It’s all about layers! Look at Jo, she’s got the right idea.”

For the record, I’m usually “layered” in 2-3 fleece jackets, wool socks and my thickest pair of yoga pants. Sometimes I wear a blanket as a shawl.

This was actually taken in college when my roommates and I couldn't afford heat, but you get the idea.

Here are a few more cases of when I’ve used my “Ignorance is Bliss” Rule. All of these events actually occurred within the past 2 months (and worked flawlessly):

Discussing Buster’s maintenance with my mom:

“Jo, while I’m gone this week I want you to clean Buster’s litter box.”

“Buster has a litter box?”


Arguing over yard work with my dad:

“Jo, the lawnmower needs more gas. Go get some will you?”

“Ok. Do I just push the mower down to the gas station, or what?”


Power-washing the house with my dad, while standing on the roof.

“Jo, you need to power-wash the gutters, not just the siding.”

“Oh. Like this?”

“Christ, Joanna. You’re going to kill yourself let me do that.”

And lastly, the fail-proof excuse that works for me every single time, no matter the situation:

“Joanna, will you take/go/pick up (anything) to/at/from (anywhere)?”

“Ok. Where’s that?”

It works because it’s the truth — I don’t know how to get anywhere.

I realize that in writing this post, I’ve probably blown my cover. We’ll see how this goes…

5 thoughts on “Words to Live By

  1. breezyk

    haha I do this all the time! It’s gotten to the point where I won’t even drive myself around anywhere now, because I “don’t know how to get there”. Keep working on it and you’ll parlay this into having your own private chauffeur as well

  2. Pingback: The internet is officially creepy. « Living the Post-Grad Dream?

  3. Pingback: Dad Doing Taxes | Joanna Clark

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