Eric Ahrendt Writer

Advice

Posted on December 18, 2017 by

My wife and I routinely give each other advice, which we just as routinely ignore. For example:

  • Get out of your comfort zone. My wife, Elaine, often urges me to do this, but I don’t, because it took me decades to find my comfort zone, and getting out of it makes me uncomfortable. Also, if I do get out, how long do I have to stay out? Better not to leave in the first place.
  • Take drugs. For some reason, Elaine resists taking this sound advice. When her elbow hurts, for instance, I tell her this, but she won’t hear of it. We both grew up in the 60s and 70s, and I for one followed this advice then, with pretty excellent results. I mean, “take drugs,” is simple advice that’s the answer to a lot of problems, so I think I’m in the right on this one.
  • You have to share your own storiesElaine reminds me of this whenever I come home from a party and complain about being trapped by a monologist. I don’t take the advice because I don’t really have stories, and the ones I do have are just as boring as the monologist’s, so I end up being trapped again at the next party. Frankly, I think I should get credit for even going to a party.
  • Tether your cell phone to your wrist. This is the advice I give Elaine when she’s searching for her phone, which occupies most of her time when she’s home. I often help her find the phone by calling it, and when the call goes to voicemail, I leave this advice again. She deletes the message without listening to it.
  • Don’t feed the squirrels. Really, is it a crime to leave a nut on the fencepost they sit on? According to Elaine, yes, it is, because I’m making them dependent on human food. I believe squirrels can accept the occasional handout and keep their pride, so I disregard this advice and sneak out an almond now and then.
  • Start earlier. Elaine tries hard to be on time, but she always has a lot to do before we go somewhere, which is why I give her this advice. She waves it off, so I lie and tell her we’re leaving half an hour earlier than we really are. That works pretty well, and she hasn’t caught on yet, so please don’t tell her.
  • Record something. When I LOP (search for the Least Objectionable Program on TV), Elaine patiently reminds me that she records worthwhile programs, namely, BBC shows, so she doesn’t have to LOP and watch lousy shows with commercials. But I dismiss the advice because her approach requires planning ahead, which I don’t do. It would take me out of my comfort zone.
  • But don’t take my advice. Elaine will be in a fix and ask me what she should do. I’ll tell her, then add that disclaimer. But sometimes she takes my advice anyway, and invariably things go sideways. I feel bad, even though I was giving her good advice when I told her not to take my advice. How much more helpful can I be?

Considering how well we know each other, it’s impressive how bad we are at giving each other advice. Maybe we’d have more luck with strangers, who I’m sure would welcome unsolicited advice. We’ll try that out and let you know how it goes.

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Most of these posts are my opinions and observations about marcom writing; others are about somewhat-related subjects I felt were post-worthy. I'm just hoping none of my current clients leave me after reading these.

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