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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, February 29

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Roni / September 21, 2004 11:06 PM

My grandmother use to tell me all the time:

"School comes first. Then boys"

You didn't ask if I followed it.

shechemist / September 21, 2004 11:33 PM

"time is going to pass. it is going to pass if you are doing something that moves you towards what you want to do. it is going to pass if you are just bitching/doing dick about what you want to do. all the same, it time is going to move on so just fucking do what you need to do to get where you want to be."

that was from my best friend when I was in a job that I unhappy with, and fucking miserable in my personal life and felt overwhlemed with the effort and time it was going to take me to switch careers. it was exactly what I needed to hear cuz she was right.

the years that I needed to put in getting my education were (unless I got hit by a fucking bus) going to happen. they were either going to happen if I was back in school or if I was at the job that was making me want to eat the barrel of a gun.

shechemist / September 21, 2004 11:41 PM

PS. when I am talking to kids at career day type things, I tell them the same thing when they start groaning and rolling their eyes upon hearing the years of school it takes to be a scientist/nurse/Dr/random professional.

I tell them the years it takes to get though school are going to pass even if they are staying home working some min. wage job fucking around having fun with their friends. chances are they are going to live to be 25. and they can live to be that age and earned a degree, or they can be 25 and have no formal education and little prospect for a job that will support them.

Naz / September 21, 2004 11:50 PM

Shechemist - props.

My mother instilled this in me, not necessarily advice but a sort of rule to live by, under the circumstances of buying something:

"Yes, but do you need it?"

Said with my mother's voice in my head, it's quite a powerful deterrent to impulse buys.

From my father:

"If you're going to buy it, buy quality and buy it once. Otherwise, you'll be replacing it forever."

Suffice to say, my parents were at one time quite materialistic and afterwards, learned from those mistakes, which is the important thing because they passed it on to their kids.

BikerBen / September 22, 2004 1:58 AM

Buy her flowers once a month.

Carlos / September 22, 2004 8:35 AM

"Do or do not, there is no try."

Pete / September 22, 2004 8:59 AM

My dad has always told me: "Keep your options open."

Not in the sense of avoiding commitment at all costs, but affording yourself some leeway at all times.

Mike / September 22, 2004 9:00 AM

"Do on to others...", "What goes around comes around" and the best one: "Some people talk because they have something to say, other people talk because they have to say something."

There was a lot of stress on empathy and humility in my house when I was growing up. Even though I've been in a church maybe once since I was 15, those Catholic roots are still there.

amyc / September 22, 2004 9:05 AM

"Pain is only temporary."

(This was spraypainted on the ceiling of a punk/fetish shop called Noir Leather that my friends and I used to haunt in high school. It's surprising how often this advice has come in handy since then.)

Anthony Ina / September 22, 2004 9:05 AM

My dad once told: "It's about fun. Make sure you're always having fun."

In college I used this as an excuse to party, but as I've grown up I've realized that my dad is the smartest person I know. He has a great time with whatever he does and never acts out of fear.

vit / September 22, 2004 9:13 AM

"you either make a living using your head or your back, and your back gives out earlier" -- grandpa

This was a big part of my motivation to be the first person in my family to go to college.

Cristabel / September 22, 2004 9:22 AM

My parents warned me that nothing worthwhile in life comes easy--nothing is promised. Having survived the Holocaust and the Argentine dirty war, it was a little difficult for them to dole out "be happy" advice. But they were right, and it helped me feel truly grateful when something wonderful happened.

miss ellen / September 22, 2004 9:28 AM

--- life isn't always fair ---

from, who else, but mother ;) rings true now more than ever.

Tom / September 22, 2004 9:34 AM

I tend to come back to the tried-and-true "you can't please all of the people all of the time".

My interpretation of which is that there will always be self-serving interests (and people) in this world. I've grown committed to not letting their perspectives taint mine. As long as my actions are true to my beliefs, they are valuable indeed.

anne / September 22, 2004 9:41 AM

My brother and I always laugh about my Dad's favorite advice to give: "Drive for the conditions!". I could go on a long analysis of how this sage advice is all about adapting to your surroundings, whether they're a "sunny stretch of highway" or a "blizzard-packed mountain pass." But I think he really just wants us to drive slower on the highway. It works either way I guess.

Joe / September 22, 2004 9:50 AM

Buy low...sell high

Made me a fortune.

amy / September 22, 2004 9:58 AM

You are not crazy.

When I'm feeling overwhelmed and alone - I have a few friends/loved ones/therapists that remind me of this. Usually it means it's a bad situation and I need to get out of the crazy.

Pat / September 22, 2004 10:00 AM

"Wear comfortable shoes. You never know when you'll be walking all over creation" i got from my mom. True enough, I always seem to be doing a ton of walking especially after moving to Chicago.

ksquared / September 22, 2004 10:01 AM

"Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you"

Mr.Forgatsch, 10th grade history teacher

This is my mantra at times and holds true to many life experiences.

Alice / September 22, 2004 10:10 AM

This one was passed down from my grandmother:

"Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe."

I've always understood the canoe part as reminding one never to give up control of their own life to anyone or anything. It's been my personal motto for a long time.

steven / September 22, 2004 10:32 AM

my father's advice on money:

"it's not how much you make, but how you spend it."

very, very true...but it is nice to make a lot...

Michael / September 22, 2004 10:32 AM

You tried your best, and you failed miserably. The lesson learned is 'Never try'.

- Homer Simpson

kate / September 22, 2004 10:32 AM

"never trust someone who hasn't paid their dues."
- my mother after john 'golden boy' doyle broke my heart.

"never let school get in the way of your education."
- my sixth grade teacher.

i don't think "make sure you're always having fun" is very good advice. i'd rather get to the end of my life and be able to say something other than "that was fun." coincidentally, it was also john doyle's personal motto.

Andy / September 22, 2004 10:51 AM

"Try not be such a bastard-"

My brother says this to me all the time.

steve_sleeve / September 22, 2004 10:56 AM

"Traffic isn't going to get any better when you're mad about it, so you might as well just not care."

Qwert / September 22, 2004 10:58 AM

"When settling conflicts, there is a difference between being right and being fair. Don't make things worse for yourself by always being right."

"Love your friends, tolerate your relatives."

"Leave things better than how you found them."

Andrew / September 22, 2004 11:14 AM

"Keep learning those marketable skills."
-- My dad, dropping me off junior year at college. My roommate *loved* that, and started saying goodbye to me with that phrase. Woohoo.

My personal mantra is, "Lighten up, Francis." I tend to get a little too serious, and this line from Stripes reminds me to relax and take things easy (my middle name is Francis).

Craig / September 22, 2004 11:16 AM

"Living is expensive."

- My Dad on having to pay for things like car repairs, heating bills, etc. Not exactly advice per se, but it always reminds me to stop freaking out about life's unforseen or banal expenses. It costs money to live in this modern world. Period.

paul / September 22, 2004 11:21 AM

I've always lived by the creed - "If a bar has human ears nailed to the wall, don't pass out there".

amanda / September 22, 2004 11:38 AM

"Only boring people get bored"

This is applicable in all sorts of situations, but mostly as a cure for complacency.

suzanne / September 22, 2004 11:52 AM

1. "Mind your p's and q's".
"Keep your nose clean".

Yeah, she wanted me to mind my own bizness!

-My mom.

2. Not sure it's really advice but I really like & it's constantly in my thoughts...
"The fortune of one man means less for some".

Donna / September 22, 2004 12:11 PM

Some aphorisms from my old man that have helped me cope in recent years...

On being frustrated at work: There’s no anchor in your ass.

On people pissed off at you: They get mad, they get glad.

On decision making: Let your conscience be your guide.

He also used to say "A dog needs his smells" quite often. Not sure exactly why, considering we didn't have a dog.

Betty / September 22, 2004 12:29 PM

"Don't get married."

-my mom

robin.. / September 22, 2004 12:29 PM

"never leave the house when the yard is on fire."--my pops
"stop searching forever; happiness is just next to you."--fortune cookie, ca.1999
"don't let the f*ckers drag you down."--propagandhi

emily / September 22, 2004 12:39 PM

"life's too short to be unhappy"

- from a random homeless man i passed last week while walking through the ukrainian village.

Eamon / September 22, 2004 12:54 PM

I believe it was the American actor Patrick Swayze who once said: "Pain don't hurt."

Carly / September 22, 2004 1:07 PM

BikerBen: Or at least, buy her flowers for no good reason.

Betty: My mom said the same thing. That and "don't have kids".

The best advice I've heard recently is in regards to optimism vs. pessimism. Basically, don't get bent out of shape over the things you don't have control over.

SJ / September 22, 2004 1:23 PM

When I was going to Germany for the summer at 14, knowing no one, from my mother:

"You're going to go and be all excited about being there. Then you're going to wake up the next day in a strange house; no one will be speaking your language; you'll be jet lagged; you'll miss your friends, and you'll feel like you made a huge mistake and want to come home.

"By all means, call me, but give it a week - it'll get better. If you still feel like that after a week, then you can come home."

Of course, she was completely correct on all counts, and I stayed and had a great experience. This advice has proven sage throughout a ton of changes and taught me that you're not wrong to be nervous about big change, but it'd be a bummer to not give it a fighting chance.

Trance / September 22, 2004 1:43 PM

"Get over yourself".

Wise words.

Sue / September 22, 2004 2:04 PM

"Chance favors the prepared mind" - Samuel Johnson

It is so true - you've got to be ready when opportunity knocks, but more importantly, be open to what life has to offer.

"Your legs reach from your ass to the ground" - My dad/brothers

Usually said when I wanted someone to get me something. What I took from it wasn't just don't be lazy, but learning that I can do for myself.

winterfresh / September 22, 2004 2:29 PM

If your going to drink, don't drive! DON'T DRIVE! DON'T DRIVE! But when you drink...
When you drink, give me a call.

That's from my neighbor. Good advice. Especially if you need a close trip home.

Missuh / September 22, 2004 3:11 PM

"Leave him."

Alex / September 22, 2004 3:29 PM

Simple and to the point:

"Fuck 'em."

jennife / September 22, 2004 3:37 PM

"You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose."

"No matter what, it'll be okay."

--my mom

Jake / September 22, 2004 3:44 PM

My dad: "You should always buy good shoes and a good mattress. Because if you're not in one, you're in the other."

My mom: "Don't pay interest. If you don't have the cash, don't buy it." Her personal motto was "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you." But I don't really follow that one. Unless you consider beer and records to be the Kingdom of God.

Adam Verner / September 22, 2004 3:46 PM

"Shoulda, woulda, coulda...three of the saddest words there is"

- Kentucky Cycle

Kevin / September 22, 2004 3:54 PM

To stop blogging.

Oh and not to drink the water because "fish fuck in it".

Mike / September 22, 2004 4:06 PM

Beer and Records are actually the foundation for many faiths. It's really those Kaliber/Smooth Jazz or Berryweiss/Slipknot* cults that you have to watch out for.

*BTW, the thought of a Berryweiss/Slipknot cult made me spit my coffee out.

miss ellen / September 22, 2004 5:20 PM

One drink (alcoholic) per hour. --- from dad, good advice i don't always follow ;)

Mike / September 22, 2004 5:39 PM

From my dad, on girls with boyfriends:

"Just because there's a goalie doesn't mean you can't score."

Cinnamon / September 22, 2004 5:58 PM

"You better learn how to do it yourself cause I'm not always gonna be around." --my mom

My mom also tells me that the first sentence I ever spoke was, "I can do it all by myself."

I've since learned that sometimes it's better to ask for help instead of trying to do everything yourself.

Bill / September 22, 2004 6:14 PM

"All politics is local" -- Tip O'Neill

"Don't get mad, get even" --Edward Everett Dirksen

Shylo / September 22, 2004 7:11 PM

watch how if someone treats the people around them badly, because sooner or later, that's how they'll treat you. -- Me.

you don't have to be your parents. -- My small Belgian psychiatrist.

Krissy / September 22, 2004 8:23 PM

My mom keeps saying,
"If everyone waited to have kids until they could afford to, no one would be here."
I think she's trying to tell me something.


Lucy / September 22, 2004 10:27 PM

What my grandmother says to all the girls in the family moments before they walk down the aisle. all the married gals swear by her advice:

1. Here is a little money. Go and open your own account and just hold onto this. You will need it one day. Just trust me. (They always do.)

2. Make whoopee everyday. It'll keep your bodies, minds, spirits and love connected and in good health. Those french women look fabulous and that is their beauty secret. Plus, it is just too fun not to do. Your grandfather and I have been together for over 60 years.

3. He will go to bed thinking you are over it and made up. We are women we don't get over things so fast. Sometimes you just have to roll over and give him a kick in the ass in his sleep.

4. Never bring him shopping. Your beauty routine should be a secret and so should the price of those heels that make you the best looking women in the room. Don't let him see everything you've got. That way he will always be looking at you. Men aren't interested in the details just give him the big picture. Don't ever make him stop wanting to look at you.

5. Sometimes you have to move the furniture around to shake things up in your house.

6. You will do and say things you never thought would enter your mind or come out of your mouth. Eventually you will forgive yourself.

7. Marriage is harder than anything else you will do including raising your children. Your children move out after eighteen years, but he will stay.

8. Dance together, eat together, cry together, laugh together, but most importantly fight together. Never fight alone.

9. Remeber who you are, where you came from and then go somewhere new, but always have a backup plan because you will probably get lost somewhere on the trip.

10. Always be full of suprises and magic tricks. Never make him stop guessing.

charles / September 22, 2004 10:32 PM

My mother always told me as i left the house: "Remember, No drinking, No drugs, but most important HAVE FUN!"

Lyle from Lisle / September 22, 2004 10:51 PM

Andrew, quotes from classic-era Bill Murray flicks are the glue that binds us. Touch my stuff . . . I'll *KILL YA*!

Sue, that was from PULP FICTION, right? I love all that crazy wisdom that Samuel Johnson spouted.

Uncle Sooyoung once told me, "Man who owns Korean restaurant can't get elected dog catcher in this town." But he was a bitter deposed Daley machine hack . . .

Ann / September 22, 2004 11:23 PM

"You're never going to be beautiful, so you'll have to get by on being smart."
-my father

jenny / September 23, 2004 6:10 AM

I haven't really had reason to test this advice yet, but:

"pay attention to how he treats his mother. It's how he'll treat you"

from Dad, actually...

This from mom...

"Do it," (regarding whatever hairbrained scheme her daughter's come up with) "You'll never regret having tried."

jennifer / September 23, 2004 10:35 AM

mom's advice of the day--

"if you're not getting what you want, move on."

aerial / September 23, 2004 10:49 AM

my mom's advice: "he who hesitates is lost"

I have to say I've made a lot of stupid mistakes but at least I tried.

Claire / September 23, 2004 11:23 AM

Mom sez: Even if you marry a rich man, make sure you have the resources, talent and drive to be financially solvent on your own.

Leo / September 23, 2004 11:57 AM

Mom: "Men who do that all the time feel bad about themselves."

Toni / September 23, 2004 1:06 PM

Mom: "No puedes tapar el sol con un dedo."
(trans. "You can't hide the sun with a finger.")

Basically, you can't hide from the truth and the realities of life.

Sounds better in Spanish, I know.

Onid / September 23, 2004 3:03 PM

Opios dev exei mialo; Exei podia.

"He who doesn't use his brains has feet."

Greek saying that my mom always said to me mostly when she would send me to the store and I forgot to bring home some things on the list. I guess it means if you use your head in the first place you wouldn't have to work as hard later.

(On behalf of all my Greek family and friends. PLEASE no more 'Big fat Greek Wedding' jokes. Windex. We get it. It was a bit funny in the movie but that's about it. Thank you.)

liza / September 24, 2004 9:26 AM

its better to regret doing something then regret not doing it.

Phillip / September 28, 2004 10:57 AM

I used to work in a Ford plant. I was on the line with another guy talking about something crazy that happened in Detroit. He sighed and he said, "Man, you don't have to act a fool just cause you see a fool act a fool".

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