How to lose

This entry is part 9 of 39 in the series Manual


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Learn to love silence and the taste of water.

Let birds nest in your best suit.

Live at home.

Change your mind often to prevent wear.

When called upon to speak, let words escape you: ululate.

Weep at weddings, dance at funerals, sleep-walk in parades.

Peg your moods to the weather.

Keep careful records of the shapes of clouds.

Burrow like a star-nosed mole into the task at hand: blindly, guided by an extinguished light.

Give yourself up like a river in flood.

Whatever you accomplish, make it look as if it happened on its own.

Form a committee for the reinvention of the wheel.

If you’re boring enough, even death may forget about you.

Erase your tracks with a worn-down broom.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. This is the best yet, for me, Dave.

    It’s cool Vasko Popa is an influence . . . _Homage to the Lame Wolf_ is a favorite.



    1. Yes, and G-d bless Simic for translating him (and Tadic, and Lalic too).

      I’m glad you like this one — it’s undergone more revision than any of the others so far, to the point where I have a hard time maintaining my objectivity and perspective.


    1. Well, I don’t know about that. You are a success story as far as I’m concerned. But I can tell you that the line about tango in today’s installment came straight from last night’s Facebook thread.


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