Riding Shotgun: My Guide to Life

Then again, perhaps you should ask someone else.

I should: Be kind and patient with my fellow man.

I should not: Fantasize about having a hood-mounted Gatling gun on my car with which to strafe other drivers.

I should: Give people the benefit of the doubt.

I should not: Suggest that President Bush suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome.

I should: Let a smile be my umbrella.

I should not: Piss out of eighth-story windows.

I should: Laugh, so the world can laugh with me.

I should not: Kick the world in the crotch.

I should: Go to the gym when I get home from work.

I should not: Eat a whole bag of Craisins and fall into a TV coma.

I should: Cut back on stimulants.

I should not: See what happens when I brew coffee using caffeinated water.

I should: Let pregnant women have my seat on the Metro.

I should not: Tell that joke about sudden infant death syndrome.

I should: Give that homeless man outside my office a dollar.

I should not: Give him ten dollars to kick another homeless man in the kneecaps and sell the video as a pilot to Fox.

I should: Love, honor, and cherish my wife.

I should not: Poke her with a stick until she admits that cake is better than pie.

I should: Accept her love of soap operas.

I should not: Expect her to reciprocate by sitting through three back-to-back seasons of The Wire on DVD.

I should: Accept that not all television pundits will agree with me politically or socially.

I should not: Drug one unconscious and have “DOUCHE BAG” tattooed on the back of his neck.

I should: Accept that some people will never say “Excuse me” when they bump into me on the street.

I should not: Call down the fiery wrath of Nyarthlotep, Hungering Beast Of The Outer Darkness, to consume them.

I should: Respect long-standing American icons.

I should not: Shoot Captain America in the stomach with a sniper rifle.

I should: Stop making esoteric pop culture references.

I should not: Use this moment to plug Phonogram, a wonderful indie comic from England that drops Britpop references like glittery mouse turds.

I should: Appreciate this space I’ve been given on a monthly basis to talk about whatever I think is important.

I should not: Mention that space on the Internet is free and most of it is filled with broken links and fetish porn. (Note from the eds: We’ll start sending Steve our Web-hosting bills.)

I should: Understand that reality TV is an ephemeral pop culture phenomenon.

I should not: Clothe myself in sackcloth every time the contract for Wife Swap gets renewed.

I should: Accept people of different religious beliefs.

I should not: Prank call Jerry Falwell at 3 a.m. pretending to be Jesus, saying I was caught in traffic and asking if he’s got my “bitches and blow.”

I should: Come to the conclusion that not every should has a should not and, generally, there are a lot more should nots, and they’re inevitably more interesting than the shoulds.

I should not: take the monthly topic so literally.

I should: close this column on an appropriate note.

Article © 2007 by Steve Spotswood