Lisa Kogan
Illustration: John Ritter
In 1977, my friend Brenda and I went for dinner at a little Chinese restaurant called Empress Garden. She had the lemon chicken, I had the shrimp har kow, and we each had an egg roll because in 1977 you could eat sugar and fat and deep-fried everything without its signifying that the apocalypse is at hand. Our waiter placed the entrèes in front of us and ceremoniously lifted the shiny silver domes. Brenda's chicken was crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, lemony all over, and I knew in an instant that I'd made a hideous error in judgment—I should've gone with the chicken.

I tell you this story to illustrate my willingness to admit when I've made a mistake. In fact, I've rarely ordered a breakfast, lunch, or dinner I didn't regret; at this very moment I'm wishing I had an iced tea instead of a Diet Coke. But aside from the food thing and one very adorable guy in the early '80s who was all you'd want in a man except for the fact that he was also looking for all you'd want in a man, I am never, ever wrong.

Now I'm not saying I always take my own advice or trust my own instincts. I'm merely suggesting that the world would be a much better place if everyone else were to do exactly what I tell them to do. Arrogant? You bet. Narcissistic? I suppose. But c'mon, admit it, you've had the very same thought kicking around for years. Still, I'm the one with the column—so now without further ado...

Everything I know about the world and how you (yes, you!) should live your life:

  1. If you can't get a babysitter, for the love of God, stay home! I don't want to be sitting next to little Charlotte and Duncan as they fight over a Raisinet at the midnight screening of Atonement. You wanted kids, so suck it up, walk it off, subscribe to Netflix.

  2. If your outgoing phone message is longer than, let's say, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian of the Year segment of the Oscars, it's time to rerecord.

  3. Calling to let your friend know you're running late does not excuse your constantly running late.
  1. I'd like to say a few words to every crabby traveler who responds with disgust whenever a baby cries on an airplane. Perhaps you don't know how babies work, but there's been a study, and it turns out that giving a 4-month-old the stink eye doesn't actually accomplish anything. Either have a little compassion or a little Ambien.

  2. Here's something for any gentleman who may be reading this: If you look good in a Speedo, you will look even better in virtually any other kind of swimsuit.

Keep Reading: Rules 6 - 14

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