New Orleans’ Little Instruction Book

We’re going to do something a little bit different for “Classics Digest” this time around. Instead of abridging and compacting a book for easier reading, we’re going to rewrite a book in its entirety.

I found Life’s Little Instruction Book: 511 Reminders for a Happy and Rewarding Life by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. lying around my house one day. After skimming through some of this “sage” advice (and swallowing hot eruptions of bile), I asked my housemate Nalcée if I could defile, I mean improve his book.

“Yah. I hate that damn thing. Go for it.”

What started off as a distracting project on a short road trip has turned into quite an ambitious endeavor, for, with the help of a few friends and many cocktails, I managed to rewrite the whole nausiating thing.

If the original claims to be good advice for the SUV/soccer-mom crowd, I claim that Life’s New Orleans’ Little Instruction Book contains equally valuable advice for those of us who live … a different kind of lifestyle.

What follows are 511 examples of good advice, warnings, and plain, stark facts about the joys and perils of living life in the counterculture. Many entries may apply to you in your city, while others are decidedly French Quarter-centric (as 90% of the the population work in bars and restaurants here). Whichever the case, I sincerely hope this project may not only amuse, but instruct you to the finer points of rock-n-roll.

There are two ways to read the following nuggets of advice:
  • The words in white and the overstriked words in grey are the original from Mr. Brown’s book.
  • The words in white and the words in pink are to be read as applicable to the designs of the project.
Marquis Déjà Dû, NOLA, November, 2002

Nos. 1-25 Nos. 26–50 Nos. 51–75 Nos. 76–100 Nos. 101–125
Nos. 126–150 Nos. 151–175 Nos. 176–200 Nos. 201–225 Nos. 226–250
Nos. 251–275 Nos. 276–300 Nos. 301–325 Nos. 326–350 Nos. 351–375
Nos. 376–400 Nos. 401–425 Nos. 426–450 Nos. 451–475 Nos. 476–511

Compliment three people every day, except people with small dogs.
Do not Have a dog.
Watch a sunrise at least once a year every morning, then finally sleep.
Remember other people’s birthdays, and frequently remind them of yours.
Overtip breakfast waitresses, bartenders, cabbies and strippers.
Have a firm handshake, then wipe your hand. You don’t know where these people have been.
Poke stupid Look people in the eye.
Say “thank you” a lot in bed.
Say “please” a lot except in bed.
Learn to play a musical instrument, but not the drums.
Sing in the shower.
Steal Use the good silver.
Learn to make a great chili lover.
Plant flowers pot every spring.
Own a great stereo system wardrobe.
Be the first to say, “Hello.” “No, I’ll play the jukebox.”
Live beneath your by any means necessary.
(For Pamela…)
Drive inexpensive cars bikes, but own the best house most bells, horns and squeaky devil heads you can afford.
Borrow Buy great books even if you never and read them.
Be forgiving of yourself and but hold others to task.
Learn the three clean jokes.
(For Patti…)
Wear polished platform shoes.
Floss your teeth crotch.
(For my cousin Eric…)
Drink champagne, martinis, cosmos, gimlets, whiskey sours, Jägermeister, hurricanes, beer, wine, chilled vodka shots, Jack & Coke, bloody marys, margaritas, daiquiris, brandy and schnapps for no reason at all.
Ask for a raise when you feel you’ve earned it. If you are denied, quit.

“Suffering is Hip” Table of Malcontents   Nos. 26–50