11 Ways To Be A Decent Person

It’s incredible how much I struggle to be decent as a human being. It’s much easier to sit in one’s own little world and never consider anyone else. I prefer to stew in my own selfishness when I’m feeling particularly petulant, which is every day.

1. Chill out.  Don’t be the loud sigher, the watch tapper, or the leg shaker. The waitress will bring the check, this line will end, and we will eventually get to wherever we are going. Try to muster an iota of fortitude when things aren’t going as originally planned.

2. Be Kind. Nice doesn’t equal kind, there are kind people who aren’t nice. Nice is being agreeable, smiley, giving compliments, and using emoticons. Kindness is a genuine concern for the well-being of others that is acted on. Someone can be generally cranky, but still be the one at your door with macaroni and the entire series of Seinfeld when you go through a break up.

This is a photo of my sister as a cat
This is a photo of my sister as a cat

My sister is a good example of this.  If your pants are ugly, she will laugh at you and your ugly pants. If she doesn’t feel like smiling, she will not smile…she will frown at you like frown cat (see photo to the right). But she is kind. If someone needs assistance, she will find a way to assist, and wont mention her efforts to anyone else. I imagine someday, when she dies (probably early from all the frowning) people will have lots of stories to tell about how she showed up when they were in need without ever being asked.

I don’t care if my friends are nice, but I do care that they are kind.

3. Laziness is not next to godliness. Nobody likes a lazy bum. Do you know if you are one? An appropriate litmus is if you are willing to replace the toilet paper roll. If you don’t know how, follow these 4 steps: Step 1- Take off cardboard. Step 2- Insert fresh roll. Step 3- Throw out old cardboard. Step 4- Smile and sing the “We did it” from Dora the Explorer. Should you follow these steps, violence will stop in the world.

4. Remember birthdays. As you would have others remember yours.

5. Do not use your cell phone at dinner for collectively more than 2 minutes aka 120 seconds. These 120 seconds can be used in spurts throughout dinner, but any longer than that and I don’t care who you are, what your job is, or how popular you fancy yourself to be, I will be staring at your phone trying to blow it up with my mind powers. If you wont be present, you can’t sit with us.

Note: At lunch on a weekday this may be acceptably extended to 3-4 minutes. Its good to on a Tuesday at 1 pm to have conflicting interests outside of eating a taco with me.

6. Call if you’re going to be late. Alternatively, be gracious when others are late. I am not always gracious with the lateness of others. For example, I was heading to a climbing competition, and one acquaintance was quite late. This was cutting into my pre-comp zen time. When she said, “It’s ok if you need to leave without me”, what I should have said was. “We will wait 10 minutes”. Instead, I said, “k, BAI”. She is now one of my favorite people and I realize she would have been an asset to my overall zen state had I not impatiently left her behind. (Sorry Emily!)

7.  Don’t talk smack. I am the worst, I talk way to much smack for someone who is such a mess herself, but we should all make every effort to avoid this. And when you do slip up, at least have the courtesy to feel guilty about it.

8. Even if you don’t agree with the beliefs of others, do not attack them personally. Be loving, especially when it comes to the topics that matter.

9.  Clean your hair out of the shower of the drain. This is gross. I don’t think it requires further explanation. See also: Toothpaste globs.

10. Stop Flaking. The flake-out is very tempting. And even more so when it’s something you don’t want to do. In general try to follow through, but if you cannot bring yourself to go bowling today, at least be honest about it. I think most of my friends have at one point gotten a text that says “sorry cannot make it tomorrow. I want to sleep and never put on clothes that aren’t made of stretch cotton ever, ever again ever” This is the most relatable text a human can send. Even more importantly, stop flaking out on yourself, your New Years resolutions, your determination to run before work, to actually start that creative thing you used to do and miss. I believe that “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” You don’t need to be constantly moving like you’re on the crank, but do stop flaking out on yourself. Push through.

11.  “K” & “Thx” Text someone “k” when you want to destroy their soul. “K” is not a word. It is a letter. A letter with the potential to reduce its viewer to a pile of ash. I don’t care if your mortal enemy texts you while you’re juggling a plate on a broomstick, Cat in the Hat style, for the love of all free-thinking beings, at least type “Ok”. The same goes for “thanks”…

Hey — so I organized all your files and they are now color-coded and labeled. I also updated the database and entered all 8,000 emails of new patients. I then fed your goldfish and bought you a brand new car.


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