5 Everyday Ways to Be a Better Person

In light of Mandela Day tomorrow, I wanted to write a blog post that would be somewhat lighter in heart, and in content also.

I wanted to move away from the angry, and occasionally badly illustrated, venting that has come to characterise these increasingly frequent electronic effusions, and towards the better, more generous, more forgiving me I know I could be if I could just stop drinking and saying ‘fuck’ so much.

I’m no saint- the closest I get to feeling pious is drinking Franjelico straight from the bottle. But, over the years, I have tried to find ways to feel good that don’t require faking a prescription or pretending to know the difference between skunk and kush.

Here are a few things I have done, and still do, that might also give you the satisfaction of making the world a better place, while making your less socially conscious friends feel like selfish, lazy dickheads. Score.

1. Adopt a Stray

Animals are good for you, and they’re even better when you don’t eat them. Even if you don’t have the facilities that will allow you to adopt a furry friend from the local SPCA, you can still do your bit to give sad, lonely , wayward creatures a better chance at life by adopting a stray human.

Don’t know any stray humans? Try strange humans instead-  chances are you already know lots.

Say yes to a date with that guy from IT with the endless supply of wolf T-shirts and BO . That girl, the one you once watched slowly eat a used tissue? Invite her around for a girl’s movie night. Who knows what stories she’s got? Probably creepy ones.

Ask that old gentleman staggering out of Teasers on a Tuesday morning if you can buy him a coffee. Help him up when he falls over trying to kick you in the balls.

Be wary when trying to adopt human strays though, excessive screaming and struggling on their part could mean you’ve overstepped the fine line between ‘adoption’ and ‘kidnapping’.

2. Recycle

Bottles, plastic, glass and aluminum cans are all great candidates for every day recycling. By separating these items from your trash, and better yet, recycling your vegetable cuttings as compost in the garden, you can greatly reduce the amount waste in your trash can.

Leaving more space for dead bodies.

3. Stop Being so Angry all the Time

Living in Johannesburg, or any other big city in South Africa, is enough to make you want to climb a clock-tower with a Gatling gun and a laser pointer… of course, I’m only joking.

There are no other big cities in South Africa.

Living in Johannesburg is stressful. There’s the endless traffic (which the government now wants to charge us to sit in); the constant threat of crime; the cut throat ambition; and the loud, rude, inconsiderate assholes. And that’s all just on the highway.

But, at least it’s not P.E.

The next time you want to tell your fellow travelers on the highway of life to get out of your lane before you tear their kidneys out through their eyes, just remember that it’s not really worth it. The fact that you get to sit in traffic and listen to the same shitty music you heard the day before, while wishing that the head of the driver in front you would burst open like a cracked egg in boiling water, well, it just means that you’ve won the lottery of life.
You’ve got a job, a car, a radio and an apparently violent imagination. You’re doing alright. Take a breath, relax, remember that none of the little things matter anyway…

As long as you don’t live in P.E.

4. Let go of the Stuff you Don’t Need

Here’s some zen philosophy for the Twitter age: All the pain in your life comes from attachments. Attachment to things, to ideas, to the past, to grudges, to ambitions, to people. It’s only when you learn to sever those attachments, without malice or ill-will, that you can lighten the heavy load on your soul and be truly desire-less and at one with the energy of other universe.

If that all sounds like a pile of hippy bullshit to you, then just think about those dirty slobs on ‘Hoarders’. You don’t want to be a hoarder do you? No? Then give away the things you don’t need, to people who do. Or burn them in a cleansing bonfire. The things, not people. Not all people anyway.

5. Don’t be an Asshole

Not even when someone else has been an asshole to you earlier. Not even when they’re really stupid. Not even when you’re on your period. Don’t treat other people with any less respect than you demand for yourself, don’t interrupt, don’t treat other people’s time like an infinite resource and don’t fart in confined spaces. You don’t need finishing school or etiquette lessons to know what to do in any given social situation. Just ask yourself, ‘this thing I’m about to do, would an asshole do this thing?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ then don’t do that thing.

Unless the person you’re doing it to is an even bigger asshole. Then it all kind of evens out, I guess.

Now, you might not think these were particularly well-researched, interesting or even relevant tips, but they work for me. And maybe this wasn’t the moving, inspiring piece of internet fodder you’ve read all day, but you know what, I didn’t promise you 5 tips to being a ‘good’ person.

Just a slightly fucking better one.

4 thoughts on “5 Everyday Ways to Be a Better Person

    • Sorry to hear about the long ass day, lady-guy. Glad I could add some levity to it 🙂

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