Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 16)

When you have a fire in an aircraft,
don’t just sit in one spot and wait.

Walk away.

Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 15)

A pessimist finds himself
at the bottom of a dry well,
begins crying,
and eventually
in his own tears.

An optimist finds himself
at the bottom of a dry well,
and after noting his good fortune
at a chance to spend some
uninterrupted, quiet time
alone with himself,
decides that he can
swim out of the dry well
if he is able to cry enough tears
that would enable him
float to the top of the well
while treading water.

Ever the optimist, however,
he finds it almost impossible
to cry, as he lacks the mental reserves
of sadness and woe enjoyed by
the bloated and deceased pessimist
in the well next door,
and even when he does manage to cry
it is only for a few seconds,
as he can’t help becoming immediately
overjoyed over his ability to produce tears,
which causes him to stop crying.
Eventually, though not without
noting the additional good fortune
of how forced deprivation of food has
lead him to shed a few pounds
and thinking ahead to how happy
his doctor will be at his next checkup
now that he’s finally lost the 30 pounds
Dr. Finkleman has been
sternly recommending
for so long,
he starves to death.

An absurdist strict Freudian Millennial
at the bottom of a dry well
calls his friend on his iPhone and says
"Dude, you’ll never believe this…
but I’m calling from the bottom
of my mother’s womb!"

Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 11)

​If you give a hungry man a fish,
he will eat for a day.

If you give a hungry man a gun,
he will likely aim it at you and say,
“take me to where you keep the fish.”

Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 10)

For an uber-cool community of artists and those devoted to art:
release a procession of sky lanterns lifting Damien Hirst into the night sky,
launch dove-shaped balloons as an alternative to flying doves,
or try White Smoke that has been kept safe from vandals.

To clear the dance floor of all women:
start playing Steely Dan.

My friend Hunter Boyle once said, “There’s no better way to clear a dance floor of women than to start playing Steely Dan,” so he definitely gets an assist on this one.

Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 9)

Do not think that you can judge the value of
            what’s on the other hand
            if your other hand is
            behind your back
            and so numb from frostbite
            that you would not know
            if you were holding a hamburger
            or a ham bone.

Ask a friend who you trust
            who is neither blind
            nor mute
            nor subject to hallucinations
            to go behind you
            and describe out loud
            what it is that you are holding.

Only then can you make your judgment,
            but before rushing to judgment,
            make sure you ask them,
            “Have my fingers turned black yet?”
            and if he answers, “Yes, they are a bit black”
            rush to the nearest ER
            and take what it is you are holding with you,
            and put off your judgment until
            things have stabilized.

And always reserve acting upon your judgment
            if acting upon your judgment
            would contradict
            discharge instructions.

Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 8)

The term, “Aztec,” is a startlingly imprecise term
            to describe the culture
            that formed between
            the Allegheny and
            the Monongahela rivers
            in the 1970’s.

A much better term is “Steelers Country,”
            although if you say “Stillers Country”
            we’ll know what you mean.

Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 6)

A rich man might share shame
        with the poor man,
        but under no circumstances will he
        share his private executive restroom
        with him.

He will direct him to the bathroom in the hall
        past the elevators
        next to the janitor’s closet
        or immediately call security –
        depending on his mood.

If the poor man approaches the rich man
        with a 30 gallon trash bag or tinfoil
        used as an article of clothing
        the rich man will definitely
        call security.

His secretary will in all likelihood
        get an earful as well.

Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 5)

Don’t think even a rich man
        can devour misery
        and it will always taste like apple butter.

Most rich men who devour misery
        report that it tastes like
        a slice of New York-style cheesecake
        made of soap
        or earwax.

Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 4)

Before you book a journey of revenge
        you must always think of the duck
        who took his revenge
        upon the poisoned apple in the road
        and never rose again.

After remembering to avoid eating random fruit found on a highway
        make sure your guns are cleaned and oiled
        and your silencers all fit
        just like you airtight alibis.

Take three times as much ammo
        as you think you’ll need
        and an ample supply of wigs and fake facial hair
        and changes of clothes and gloves and plastic bags.

Make sure your taser
        is charged
        and don’t forget to bring the charger.

Never forget to have small guns
        in ankle holsters
        and several knives secreted on your body.

And it probably never hurts
        to have a couple of cans
        of police-issued pepper spray either.

Redacted from the Book of Proverbs (no. 3)

Don’t forget to understand the lesson
        of the fool
        who tries to trade in his swan
        for an ugly ducking.
        For a wise man
        may easily disguise himself
        as a fool
        to fool
        another wise man.

Although it is unlikely that the ugly duckling
        has swallowed many precious jewels and gems
        or an ingot of gold,
        with lease-to-buy options on portable
        x-rays machines so reasonable nowadays,
        it pays to have one handy
        for exactly these type of situations,
        especially if you deal ugly ducklings in bulk.

Lacking an x-ray machine,
        but still fearing that the fool
        may indeed be a wise man,
        you could also buy an inexpensive
        one-way ticket from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh
        on Southwest
        (which will put you out only about $59 – I know. It’s crazy.)
        and run the ugly duckling through the TSA scanner
        at the airport.

If there are indeed gems, jewels or gold ingots
        inside of your ugly duckling
        you can always feign ignorance
        when asked about it by the TSA agent
        and say something like
        “So that’s why Harold hasn’t been himself lately!”


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