The Dictionary of Sensible Living

(a work in progress)

“All’s fair in love and war”

Only if you’re a jerk.


Have them. Oh, you must. What good is dignity if you haven’t got any stories to tell?

Airplane Seats

If you’re in the window seat, you get the window armrest and the wall. If you’re in the aisle seat, you get the aisle armrest and space for your legs. If you’re in the middle seat, you get both interior armrests because your seat sucks and you should get a little recompense. Under no circumstances ever should you raise an armrest without making sure it’s okay with the person sitting next to you. (If you are a stranger, that is not okay with me.)


Make it more beautiful.

“But what is ‘it’?” you may ask.

All of it, my darling. Every little thing.


You need a bucket. Everyone needs a bucket. You can wash your hand-washing things in a bucket. You can carry all the stuff you need for painting a room. (Note: if you use your bucket to hold paint, buy a new bucket, because that bucket has now become the Paint Bucket and must be quarantined.) You can put it under a leak. You can scoop out a flood. You can take all your formerly black clothes and make them black again without ruining your tub or your washing machine. Buckets: critical tools.


If you hate it, the only sensible reasons to celebrate Christmas is if you have small children who will be upset to not do it up. But if you don’t have little ones, why torture yourself? There is no rule that you must put up a tree or wear Santa sweaters or exchange presents or anything. You can absolutely opt out. But I hope you will be polite about it. And I hope the celebrators will be polite to you.

If you’re like me, and you love Christmas with every fiber of your heart, here’s what I think: the season stresses a lot of people out, so crabbiness will happen, and “where’s your Christmas spirit?” is not an acceptable response. That’ll just make people feel more stressed out and guilty.

Also, don’t buy presents that you’ll still be paying off in June. The baby Jesus does not want you to bankrupt yourself for his birthday.


It’s very difficult to be a conservative. There are too many taxes and threats to the status quo. Let’s be gentle with them.


Seriously. Don’t treat other people like crap. It doesn’t make you cool.


I am on the road too. So are my family members and friends. Please don’t kill us by driving like a crazy person. Texting is never appropriate while driving. Yup, I said never.

Human Relations

I mean it, don’t treat other people like crap. All you gain by it is the reputation of being a jerk.

Internal Relations

Don’t treat yourself like crap, either. Seriously now: you’re the only you you’ve got.


You may have noticed that I am not a fan of jerks.


It’s very difficult to be a liberal. The Man is always trying to keep them down. Let’s be gentle with them.

Life Goals

I think it’s good to have a goal; gives you something to work on so you’re not just oozing thoughtlessly through the primordial slime of personal development. Mine is “try not to be a jackass.” I am moderately successful at this.


When you’re going on an eating date, focus on eye makeup. When it’s a non-eating event, focus on your lips. (In my life, this means I don’t often wear dark lipstick.)


Politeness is not a lie. Politeness is an indicator that you are more interested in harmony than in standing on a pile of your slain foes. Achilles wanted to stand on a pile of his slain foes. He was a crazy fool who died of being shot in the foot. You don’t want to be like that.


My husband says that sensible people stay away from mayonnaise (and all other white condiments [but white dessert toppings are okay {except for cream cheese frosting, which is a white dessert topping made from a white condiment}]). I disagree with this, because I find mayo necessary for salads of the tuna, egg, and potato variety. Also, I like a nice wet sandwich. But in marriage it can be a good thing to have a topic you can argue comfortably about during long car trips.


It’s very difficult to be a moderate. No one listens to a word they say. Let’s be gentle with them.


Please park straight in your parking space. Everyone around you will sing your praises. Crooked parking is just lazy. One car, one spot, and if you don’t have a wheelchair sticker, you don’t get to use the handicapped spot. Ever. No, not even to wait with the engine running.


I used to know someone who said it “demonstrates power” to be rude to people in the service industry. I guess that’s true, if you like a thin, mean kind of power. And if you like your food filled with other people’s spit.


I’m sorry, I can’t be sensible about raincoats. I just can’t. (I hate them.)


Just live and let be. People are going to believe different things. God, by whatever name, can take it, and it’s not any of your business.


Oh lord, so not worth it. Revenge leaves a stain on your soul. Very difficult to wash out.

Saltwater Pools

The swimming pool of choice of all sensible people. Good for the hair, the skin, and the spirit.


The place where all sensible people wish to live. The fact that I do not lives there proves my lack of qualification to write this.

Service Positions, People in

Please note “people.”As in, not robots or trained monkeys. If you want good service, try being a good customer. Eye contact and basic politeness are a good start.

Showers, Baby/Wedding

Yes, you have to take a present. Preferably you should want to take a present, because you’re happy about the impending wedding or birth. It does not have to be an enormous gift: spend what makes you comfortable.

Yes, we all hate the games. No, they’re not required.

And no, it’s not okay to host your own shower, much less 10 of them. That’s just greedy.

Social Dawinism

Have you ever met anyone espousing Social Darwinism who wasn’t a jerk? Neither have I.


The only recourse if you don’t want to get wet. Also good as protection from the sun. But if there is a perfect raincoat out there, I’d like to know about it.


A good bra is like a secret identity: with the right size and the right lift, under your clothes you’re a superhero.

5 thoughts on “The Dictionary of Sensible Living

  1. Pingback: Scheherezade's Bequest & Cabinet des Fées | I Saw the Angel

  2. Antia

    That was fun, thanks for sharing . And so true about being polite to service people (it is actually being a human being, so is worrying that so many people chose to ignore this). Oh and Social Darwinism, meh!

  3. potofsoup

    I laughed out loud at the conservative/liberal/moderate bits. And my husband enjoyed the mayo entry! (He’s on the pro-mayo side.) Such sensible advice all around!

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