In prehistoric times, there were endless ways of fucking up. You could zig when you were supposed to zag while hunting woolly rhino. You could get an infected cut. You could get caught sleeping with Og’s girl and have your skull cleaved in two. You could fail to adapt when your world suddenly freezes over and your previous food sources disappear.
Even in the agricultural age a lot of things could go wrong. Most of them related to invasion or whether it rained too much or not enough. New diseases emerged. Having the wrong social or spiritual views could get you barbecued.
Today things are pretty easy but we rarely pause to appreciate it. No more hunting megafauna, armed police to protect us from those stronger than us, a nuclear umbrella, reliable food supplies, antibiotics and liberal constitutions. It’s annoying when the local supermarket is out of our favourite brand of pesto but it rarely gets any worse than that.
Today there are only a very few ways to really fuck up your life. Humans, being all-to-human as we are, keep on determinedly stumbling into them, though, don’t we? Like the way that a car careening off the highway into a paddock will always manage to collide with the only tree for miles around.
For the benefit of my younger readers, I here list the ways you can still fuck up in our modern world:
- Get into a car with a drunken driver. This is the modern sabre-tooth tiger but we are adapted to fearing long, dribbling canine teeth, not to dribbling drunken mates winding down car windows and slurring at us to get in, ya fuckin wimpy poofter bloody piker cuuuunt!
- Unintentionally knocking a girl up. Suddenly you’re on the hook for fatherhood, child support, restrictions on your freedom and all sorts you never signed up for. Nice work. There are currently over fifty types of contraception – why not use one of them? And never, never, NEVER rely on girls unless you know them very well, and even then, accept that you’re taking a risk.
- Studying something stupid, especially if you get into significant debt to do so. This is a good way of getting stuck with few good options for getting out. ‘Dig up, stupid!’. I only went 30% down this road and I still regret not having made much more sensible choices (and being better advised) way back when I was 16 and choosing the high school subjects which would form prerequisites for further studies. Maths, kids. Do the maths right up until you can’t do it any more. You’ll eventually hit your native IQ ceiling and I finished a bit lower than mine.
- Getting into significant debt. Aside from education, the biggest risk is credit cards and loans for flash cars you can’t really afford. And too-big houses. Many people with good educations and decent incomes have really messed up just by failing to resist the temptation of debt.
- Marrying the wrong woman. Here’s the typical story: you meet a really hot chick, you get hitched soon after you’ve been bamboozled by amazing sex, and then you realize she’s BPD or something like that. I recommend two years minimum dating beforehand and seek advice from others before taking the plunge.
I no longer recommend avoiding marriage altogether as this is an extremely influential blog and it is perhaps the primary cause of the alarming decline in birth rates seen throughout the Western world and Clever Asia. Keep on breeding those future taxpayers, guys. Don’t worry if your girlfriend occasionally throws plates at your head. That just means she loves you.
- Getting addicted to drugs. Use them but don’t let them use you. If you can’t do the first without doing the second, don’t do the first. I even know people who have been addicted to marijuana. Be careful, and stay away from the hard stuff until you’re so old it doesn’t matter anymore.
There are other risks but these are fairly minor when you look at the number of ordinary people they affect: AIDS, adventure tourism to Iraq, rigging your microwave so it can cook with the door open etc.
The fact is, the vast majority of people in developed countries die from age-related illnesses. Those who die young are mostly suicides, car accidents or those purely bad-luck cancers that there’s just nothing you can do to prevent. Avoid those six fuck-ups listed above and you’ll probably be sweet.
Did I miss anything?