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How to Fill Space

By Bob Woodiwiss · November 9th, 2000 · Pseudoquasiesque

I usually restrict my bookstore browsing to Fiction (looking to indulge my taste for deep, complex novels) and Romance (looking to indulge my taste for shallow, easy women). So it was strictly dumb luck that took me to the How-To/Instructional section the other night (I'd been rousted from the store's men's room by security; the reason why is neither important nor, among we of the Sacred Order of the Pee Wee Hermanists, shameful).

Looking around, I was stunned. I had no idea. No idea that half the population is writing instructional books while, apparently, the other half reads them. On crowded shelf after crowded shelf, in row upon row upon row, books thick and thin, geared to the thick and thicker, covered every topic imaginable: 10 Steps to Financial Security. How to Build a Deck. Beer for Dummies. Ventriloquism for Flesh-and-Blood Dummies. Interpret Your Dreams into Esperanto. Do-It-Yourself Excommunication.


Then, dead on the heels of my expletive, inspiration. I could write something like this. Something to educate and inform. There were just two problems: 1) Almost all the good topics were taken. 2) Book length knowledge on a single subject is not my forte. But I was on an inspirational roll. My book would be a How-To clearinghouse, I decided. An eclectic mix of straightforward, easy-to-digest knowledge nuggets for real world survival. It'd be titled How to Do the Few Remaining Things That No One's Written a "How-To Book" About to Tell People How to Do Them, or HDFRTTNOWHBATPHDT for short.

The first few chapters follow.

How to Get Into Your Top Physical Condition for the 21st Century: Hey, it's so early in the 21st Century, you already are in your best shape. All you have to do now is, starting first thing tomorrow, completely let yourself go.

How to Choose a Gynecologist: S/he should have no prison tattoos and should never refer to you as "sweetcheeks." Examinations should not be performed in the back of his/her car, even if parked. In the waiting room, look for a low proportion of male patients. If, at any point in the examination, the doctor pulls a rabbit, bouquet of silk flowers or an endless length of knotted-together silk scarves from your vagina, you are in the care of a gynoillusionist.

How to Make Superglue: Render a superhorse.

How to Calculate the Circumference of a Circle: Sharpen and weigh a No. 2 lead pencil, then trace the circumference of the circle with the pencil and reweigh it. Figure 1.73 inches in length for every .00001 gram difference in weight due to abraded graphite.

How to Hit the Ball: See the ball.

How to Respond in the Event That Daylight Savings Time and Pony Time Converge: Spring forward when I say, "Gee;" fall back when I say, "Haw."

How to Determine If You're Cut Out for Community College: Is someone who attends or attended a state college reading this to you?

How to Determine If You're Cut Out for a State College: Did a student from a private school have to help you sound out the words "de-ter-mine" and "com-mun-i-ty" when you were reading the above item?

How to Be More Productive in One Single Simple Step: Have your adrenal gland surgically put "on line."

How to Diagnose If You're a Crazed Paranoid Psychotic Son of a Bitch:: Hey. Do you see that? That can't be right, can it? Are there two colons after the word "bitch?" Now why would there be two colons there? Isn't that, like, weird? Hmm? You think that's an accident? Really? Or is it somebody down at the printer's fuckin' with your God damn head? Well, maybe it's time that a certain somebody had a little "accident" of their own, like maybe their head gets caught in a type press or somethin'...

How to Tell If Lassie's Trying to Tell You Something: She's barking for no apparent reason. She's whining pitifully and you smell smoke. She's pulling at your pants leg or shirt cuff. She's taking a dump on the carpet. She's burying the new baby in the backyard. She's taken you to your favorite restaurant and is ordering champagne. She's showing you her most recent set of X-rays from the vet.

How to Make Love to the Same Person for the Rest of Your Life: The trick is, Father, to keep failing the little bugger, so he'll never graduate from your parochial all-boy's school.

How to Tell the Difference Between an Acid Flashback or Attending a Crosby, Stills & Nash Reunion Concert: The flashback will be over much too soon. ©



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