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Friday, February 03, 2006

The Owner's Manual

"Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes along." ~Samuel Butler, "Speech at the Somerville Club," 27 February 1895

My new alarm clock came with an owner’s manual and the requisite warranty information. I didn’t read it, but it was there. My cell phone came with one too as did my digital camera. Again, not read, but duly noted. Pregnant women can pick up What to Expect when You’re Expecting from their nearest Barnes and Noble. And nine months later, What to Expect The First Year. And subsequent toddler editions. Now let me ask this, why hasn’t Random House published; What to Expect when you’ve spent all your money on Starbucks and you don’t make enough to contribute to your 401K, but you’re still expected to pay the rent Or possibly; What to Expect when you’re parents cut you off and they expect you to learn how to pay your own taxes and navigate the DMV by yourself ?

Seriously now; why hasn’t anyone thought of these things? Am I expected to actually learn about things like insurance and Roth IRAs and mortgages?

I always thought that adults had manuals. A book that says, “ok dumbass here’s how you purchase stocks while simultaneously cook a magnificent four course meal. And later we’ll discuss the proper way to clean up a milk spill and how to get the best price for car insurance”. I fear the day that I have to purchase a car or buy a car. What the fuck is escrow?

But prior to that, why didn’t anyone tell me what I’m supposed to do in order to become a semi-functional person? It was like May 8th came around, I lost my health insurance and my father’s exact words were “I wish you well ‘cause I’m tapped out”. Why isn’t there a warranty that comes with the Owner’s Manual of Heather Barmore that states “if you seriously fuck up, you won’t go to prison, but you will get a do over”?

Though, now that I’ve successfully completed my taxes and garnered myself a very lovely refund; I’m feeling slightly better and that maybe instinct and the wisdom of Peg will teach me such things. But I still feel there should be a book entitled “What to expect when you get your first gas bill”.


Blogger unforgiving b*tch said...

You should write that book...

Stepping out into the real world sucks especially when the parental units cut you off.

*knock on wood*

I hope mine don't cut me off completely just yet.

3:38 PM  
Blogger AJH said...

My dad has been weening my over the last year. Fortunatly, he still takes panicked calls from the DMV and is generously picking up the tab for the drugs that keep me alive while I negotiate the fucked up health insurance system we have in the states. (I miss GB.)
I would totally buy that book. So would most of my friends.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

UB: I'm contemplating it...we shall see

AJH: My parents still give me money. Hell, I have to bribe them when they want me to come home: "I'll come home, if you're paying" And it works everytime.

5:31 PM  
Blogger wunelle said...

UB stole my comment! I think if Stephanie Klein can get a book deal for HER blog, you ought to be able to get a book deal for THIS post!

I'll get right to work on that.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

ok Wunelle, then I'll need a title.
Any suggestions? anyone, anyone...Beuller?

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Ali G said...


hopefully one that doesn't say "buy pretty shiny things until you've maxed out the credit card and feel like a rotten person" (though one with pretty shiny things!)...

i'm thinking more along the lines of "how to cook economically yet fabulously and never wear wrinkled clothing to work while not hating your life and suddenly binging on starbucks and online shopping two days into new life plan"...

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Kristin said...

Oh my god I've always wanted to write a book like that. Especially for things that no one ever tells you to do like get your car inspected, change your license when you move, that sort of little stuff. AND...I think I've solved the Starbucks problem...I used to spend like $3.50 a day, but I've switched to the tea which is half the price. Still more than I should spend, but that's why I'm still begging Mom & Dad to send down Starbucks cards!

10:26 PM  
Blogger Buffy said...

Taxes. I should probably do mine.

7:43 AM  
Blogger LisaBinDaCity said...

Congrats on your refund!!!

Ya, I wish there was a manual for my life that did not everyone else's personal agenda in it.

8:51 AM  
Blogger LisaBinDaCity said...

er "that did not INCLUDE everyone else's personal agenda in it.

Geez, next time more coffee before posting a comment ;-)

2:16 PM  
Blogger Sue Ellen Mischke said...

Did your dad seriously say he was tapped out? Cuz if he did, that's hilarious. Whenever I've asked my dad to bail me out of a rough spot, he usually says yes and refers to it as "water on a drowning man."

3:00 PM  
Blogger LisaBinDaCity said...

Oh and you've been linked Missy ;-)

8:30 AM  
Blogger Tanisha said...

LOL> heather you are a mess and life comes at you hard--ok commercial i know--but it does and sometimes we need amanual because some of our parents are still trying to figure that shite out right. Hmm the joy internet exploring. You'll always find it there. Good luck snooky..

12:32 PM  
Blogger Larissa said...

taxes blow. i hear you on this. so many times i feel like i'm still playing at being an adult.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Lizzie said...

I agree with the others. You should write that book! Your blog is basically my manual.

ps- you've already done your taxes? I thought that's what April 14th was for?

2:32 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

All I'm saying is that I wish there had been more guidance. I mean you learn all this crap in college about international economics and an aggregate market, but God forbid anyone tell me about personal economics. I still can't balance my checkbook.
I spent 17 years in school and now I feel like I've learned nothing about the real world, though I could recite aspects of New York Times Co., V. Sullivan in my sleep. The latter is so not helpful in everyday life. Just so y'all know.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Nap Queen said...

Oh my. I'm speechless. I think I had these thoughts exactly 7 years ago when I graduated from college. And it hasn't gotten any better. I'm now 29, and believe me, I could write your chapter on "Escrow:Not French for Snails".

2:34 PM  

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