1. Replace all your words with more lavish synonyms. “Kiss” becomes “osculate.” “Red” becomes “crimson.” “Chatty” becomes “loquacious.” The more polysyllabic words you use, the more seriously people take you as a human being. You should also overuse semicolons to heighten this effect — excuse me, let me rephrase — utilize a superfluous quantity of semicolons to augment syntactic complexity.
2. In any social situation, cross your arms across your chest and stare around with a blank expression bordering on a glare, never making sustained eye contact. Narrow your eyes like you’re deep in thought when really you’re thinking, ‘I hope people recognize how serious I am and react accordingly. I hope people recognize I’m a significant presence in this room. I hope people are thinking, “There’s a boy who means business.”’
3. Don’t dress up in a costume unless it’s Halloween or a costume party. If the occasion does call for a costume, dress up as something serious and uninteresting like a doctor or a policeman. Better yet, don’t bother attending. You’re too serious for costume parties anyway. If you arrive somewhere in a wizard costume, a fox costume, a cat costume, or a catfox costume, people will say, “Look at that Catman. He’s not living his life in a ‘traditional’ or ‘practical’ manner.”
4. When you sit in a chair, do not cross your legs at the knees in a way that constricts your genitals. Instead, rest your foot on the top of the opposite knee. This is the way serious people sit in chairs. The implicit meaning of this posture: my genitals are too substantial for me to cross my legs. With ladies it’s the opposite: don’t sit in a chair and immediately spread your legs wide open. Why would you do that?
5. Don’t listen to bands like The Aquabats, Tally Hall, or They Might Be Giants. This is not serious music, and when people see these bands on your Facebook, they will say, ‘Only someone who has failed to achieve a commensurate maturity level would enjoy this auditory inanity.’ (They are serious people, so they talk like this.) You should only listen to the >Road to Perdition Soundtrack by Thomas Newman.
6. Don’t suddenly reveal an enormous megapack of Dunkaroos you purchased at Costco. Serious people don’t gorge themselves on Dunkaroos. An excessive personal inventory of Hostess/ Little Debbie products also nullifies your seriousness. If you can’t help yourself, keep “secret snacks” in hidden locations throughout the apartment, and only indulge yourself late at night — covert snacking under the cloak of darkness.
7. Your ringtone should be a standard nondescript ringtone, a default ringtone with a name like “T-Mobile melody.” If your phone plays “Hakuna Matata” or a South Park quote or “Cat Party,” you’re not living your life in a serious way. Instead, you’re choosing to sprinkle it with frivolous nonsense like a child. You’re being a child. A child. Grow up.
8. Before responding to a funny comment, narrow your eyes, frown, expel air through your nostrils as if incapable of fully realized laughter, and then say something like, “Huh. That’s funny.” Say, “So you like to make jokes, huh?” with an ambiguously hostile tone. You’re either belittling him/ her or simply stating a fact, but no one can tell which. At comedy shows, sit with arms crossed and a cold judgmental expression as if you’re Jerry Saltz on Work of Art and the Sucklord is presenting a Styrofoam tree with Star Wars figures glued all over it. Expel air through your nostrils with an occasional light head bob. Your expression should say one thing: impress me if you can.
9. Do not allow yourself to experience things without engaging with them hypercritically. Don’t love anything. How was the movie? “It held together as a cohesive piece of mass marketed entertainment, but [endless list of flaws].” How was your date? “It went fine. We completed our itinerary without incident.” Your friends, family, girlfriend or boyfriend are all flawed individuals you merely tolerate, though you always remind them through subtle condescending remarks that you are a much higher quality human being.
10. Have strong political opinions, and when expressed in conversation, state them as indisputable facts, cold and dispassionate. You speak with the smooth confidence of someone who has never made a mistake, who is infallible, whose full understanding of all things could transform this world into a utopia if only those in charge would listen. Quote a prestigious newspaper or magazine. If anyone disagrees, don’t bother arguing — you’re too serious for that. Just smirk and look around at others in the vicinity as if to say, “Listen to this child try to argue with the divine truth I have so charitably delivered unto him.”
11. Have a degree in business, or anything except a liberal arts degree. If you must get a liberal arts degree, do not get a creative writing degree. You will find yourself at age 23, living at your parents’ house, tweeting what you ate for dinner, posting links to YouTube videos of koala fights, and thinking, ‘Everyone must think I’m pretty great because I always post cool videos to Facebook.” You will work on a book about a guy working on a book about a guy working on a book who lives in his parents’ house and is unemployed. No, a degree in business will allow people to take you seriously because if your goal in life isn’t to make the maximum amount of money possible, then what the hell are you doing? What other objective is there?
12. Above all, don’t share cat videos on the internet. Serious people share documents, forms, and statistical data, but never something as heartwarming as a video of a cat trying to escape a bathtub, but oh, it keeps slipping, and it keeps slipping, and it keeps slipping. You’re going to die one day, and you’re spending your rapidly declining supply of time on this planet disseminating footage of cats. Will that be your legacy? A lifetime of cat video appreciation? Only someone who lives in a basement and spends all his time on the internet would think that was a meaningful contribution to society. This is why no one will ever take you seriously, you loser. You’re a loser. You’re failing at life. People are dismissing your worth as a person, you understand? When you speak to them, they aren’t listening. When they look at you, they’re looking past you. You mean nothing to them. Nothing. Nothing!
Wait, what is that? Did you just put on an old lady wig? Take that off! Give me that poodle mug! What’s in here? This is eggnog mixed with chocolate syrup!
Don’t do it.
You better not.
Don’t put on those sunglasses.
Goddammit, Kanye West shutter shades are not serious!