Monday, October 10, 2011

#0023: Bart Simpson's Guide to Life

Returned home two days ago after a month-long vacation to the United States, culminating in 20+ hours of flight in one miserable day. Some people find it difficult to readjust to the monotony of regular life, particularly after partying on Bourbon Street, shopping in Times Square and lounging in Waikiki. In my case, I’m ready for action, and more than ready to get back to work.

And by that, I mean I want to get rid of an old object. Not actually go back to work. Does anybody want to take my shift tomorrow? B sure 2 txt me, plz. Either with an affirmative to the shift swap, or if you would like to further discuss Bart Simpson’s Guide to Life.

I reckon that every house should have a bible. Even if you’re not religious, I just think it’s a nice thing to have on hand. Be it as a way of satiating the cravings of your Christian visitors or a way of proving your apparent faith should God ever actually arrive to smite the nonbelievers, the advantages are limitless. Or in actuality, they probably are limited, but I can’t be bothered exhausting all of the possible perks. So we’ll just have to assume that it’s more than two.

In my case, I did not conform to the typical tomes. While most kids learnt morality through scriptures and passages, I decided to veer off onto the respected teachings of Bartholomew J. Simpson. Indeed, I never even realised that I ever owned an actual bible until I found one in the drawer a few months ago. It is titled ‘Good News: New Testament and Psalms’ (labeled ‘today’s English version’: tomorrow, who knows?). I don’t know how it’s actually good news, because all I’ve found so far are a whole bunch of punished Egyptians. I tried to digest it, I truly did, but I got distracted by a Sesame Street book, and all was lost.

Anyhow, the Guide to Life. Effectively, it’s Bart’s way of telling us all about the important things in life, littered with familiar Simpsons in-jokes, frequent references to things that don’t exist that will surely fluster people actually trying to guide their lives, and occasional threats to kill anyone who stole this book. Some may see this as a playful joke, but in actuality it’s Matt Groening’s thinly veiled way of saying ‘I hate you, why didn’t you make me rich(er)!’

Like a late 80s Saturday morning cartoon, the Guide attempts to educate kids on all the things that would be important in their day to day adventures, only devoid of all of the actual lessons of said cartoons; such as ‘share with friends’ or ‘stay in school’ or ‘don’t do drugs or else Kermit the Frog will show you the damage it does to your brain’.

Chapters include ‘art and culture’, ‘psychology’ and ‘sex’. In my case, I flipped directly to the section on sex, because I was a pervert who wasn’t getting any at the time. In that sense, I suppose I was able to channel my frustration through a Simpsons guide book, which in some minds could perhaps justify its existence, but in most other minds (mine included) it just looks fucking creepy in worded form. I might tinker with that paragraph someday. But not today. I’m busy reading about sex.

The tricky thing about this book is that, sometimes, the contents are factual. It’s not uncommon for books of this nature to blur the line between fiction and reality, but how best to utilize and show off your newfound knowledge, when you’re not sure whether or not it’s bull? Do you regale friends (and possibly attentive enemies) with international meanings to hand gestures? Or how to pass cooties?

The choice is yours and yours alone. I choose to say that phrase while sounding like the Mayan god from Legends of the Hidden Temple. Because I am cool like that.

The Guide tallies in at a healthy 186 pages, and they’re all jam-packed with content. In fact, the book is so full it has actually broken its spine over the years. It is, effectively, a read of spine breaking proportions, and I cannot think of a better claim to fame that a book could possibly make.

My favourite tidbits are a catalog of actual phobias like pognophobia (fear of beards) and linonophobia (fear of string), a collection of foreign food-related proverbs, and a list of 25 of the most miserable jobs you can work when you grow up. I used to find that list amusing. However…

Later I managed to get employed as #14.

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