Thursday, November 21, 2013

Required Reading: How Not To Be A Dick

By Emi Debos
“How Not To Be A Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide” by Meghan Doherty (from Zest Books) is such a fun book and is incredibly essential to being a good person. The sarcastic title gets right to the point of its message. I literally could not put this book down. Ask Paul, he was a witness. Every apartment with two or more roommates should keep a copy of this book in the living room, right next to the TV remote. “How Not To Be A Dick” is a great short read with lots of tips to proper etiquette styled to the iconic “Dick and Jane” book formats, but with current references to pop icons, embarrassing celebrity mishaps, and cheese logs (SOOO MANY CHEESE LOGS).

            The book begins by giving you a contract to sign, certifying from this day forward you will take its word to stop being a dick, and become an overall good person. It is a funny way to show the ownership of the book by making the reader know a quick overview of its contents AND giving you a commitment to become a better person. They always say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem (like being a dick), but the book moves on without asking you to give in to a higher power. Each chapter covers a different social situation where readers should know what to avoid in terms of being a dick. From relationships, home, work, and other necessary-to-life scenarios this book gives you the proper guidelines to making yourself more enjoyable to the general public.

            It might be hard to recognize that you are a dick but do not fret, the book explains situations starting from the dick’s point of view and uses cute cartoons in-between sections to show how it would look to others. It is often easier to see how much of a jerk you are using an outside perspective. After the offending statements are made, the book gives you explanations to the dickish behavior and offers helpful alternatives that will not only improve your conversation skills, but also improve the people around you.

            My favorite chapter has to be Chapter 2, At Home. I had to live with three roommates at one point and it was a total nightmare organizing the smallest of chores. Sometimes we would leave notes above the sink for washing dishes. That sounds like a good idea until you would read the note: We don’t wash your ass so we shouldn’t have to wash your dishes. Half of us thought it was a straight forward note; the other half thought it was a dick move. It was a dick move but that sink was overflowing. I really wish I had this book when I lived with all of them. A few times I ended up acting like a dick because I did not know how to channel my frustrations out in a more constructive way that would later on, encourage them to do better. Granted, sometimes it would be funny to act like a dick, but it still can be hurtful. 

            “How Not To Be A Dick” is a very fast read because of how they laid out the content. Once I started reading the book I finished it that night. Each page has only a few paragraphs of text with the drawings to explain how the scenarios would happen from being a dick, and then by not being a dick. The authors equally divide the amount of dick-like behavior between the girl figure and boy figure in the drawings; although it seems that the boy figure really has a thing for cheese logs. I think they mentioned cheese logs 30 times in the book, if not more. Their pop culture references are extremely current. Within the first few pages, they jump right into people fueled by tiger blood with the cartoon boy shouting “WINNING!” A few times I would literally start laughing out loud instead of LQTM (laughing quietly to myself). 

            The overall message in this book lives in its title, and carries the hilarity throughout all of the pages. Whenever I try to explain to my friends my favorite scenes, it almost seems like I’m telling them why they are a dick from using that example. It is quite hard to share select jokes from the book without coming off as an implied dick, but I do not care. More people need to read this book and enjoy it as much as I did. It is funny, smart, current, and is as hilarious as it is informative. Go out and buy a copy, don’t be a dick.

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