How to question authority

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 34 of 39 in the series Manual


Loudly, so the police sirens will be abashed.

Softly, so your blood-sucking interrogator will lean in close where he can be asphyxiated by your garlic breath.

From within, so the authorities will begin to doubt themselves.

From beyond the grave, which affords some form of protection against reprisal.

Through the slogan NO, which, as nitric oxide, reduces blood pressure by expanding the veins during its brief half-life in the bloodstream.

Through songs, which spread by invisible spores and can grow six inches in a day.

In the voice of unreason, since all the reasonable men defer to whomever commands the most barking guns.

Casually, as if walking on hot coals.

Automatically, through negative phototropism.

Surreptitiously, linking to your co-conspirators only through quantum entanglement.

With an absense of authority, which calls the very logic of authority structures into question.

Joyously. Because otherwise what’s the point?

How to drive

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 33 of 39 in the series Manual


Keep both hands on the wheel at all times. The turn indicator may easily be operated with the chin.

Do your best to ignore the dashed yellow line in the middle of the road, which is transmitting subliminal messages in Morse code telling you to kill and kill again.

As an alternative to road rage, try merely counting coup.

Wool-gathering can be dangerous. Avoid distracted driving by coming to a full stop and gathering the whole sheep, presuming you can get a seatbelt around it.

Learn basic auto mechanics—not so you can fix cars, but so you can understand the lyrics of any American pop song written in the past 80 years.

Are you an asshole? Get an off-road vehicle!

Drive as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to drive forever.

Weaponize your fuzzy dice. Because you never know.

In thick fog, it can be nearly nearly impossible not to out-drive your stopping distance. Send a passenger out to patrol the road ahead of you on foot and fire flares at oncoming vehicles.

If you’re a hit-and-run driver, it’s considered poor taste to paint a human silhouette above the right front wheel for each of your victims.

Don’t confuse automatic drive with sex drive. You want manual transmission for that.

Most essential tasks can be performed without getting out of your car: withdrawing money from the bank, purchasing and eating food, falling asleep, screaming, defecating.

To make long trips more entertaining, get a CB radio to talk to truckers with and use the handle “fruit bat.”

Bumper stickers encourage tailgating. Instead, get a can of spray paint and say everything you need to say just as our paleolithic ancestors did: with aesthetically appealing and instantly comprehensible hand prints.

On two-lane roads, playing chicken is a good way to keep adrenalin levels topped up. Do not attempt to play it with Amish buggy-drivers, however, as their “nonresistance to evil” ethos makes them nearly unbeatable. Also, buggies can’t swerve.

Do not listen to polka music while driving, as the infectious, phat beats will have you tapping your feet—and “tapping” other cars—in no time!

You are under no obligation to obey road signs with flawed grammar. “Keep right”? No thanks, I prefer to share. “Watch children”? Only if they do something interesting.

If you want to drive someone crazy, pick up a self-taught preacher from Texas.

When putting the pedal to the metal, be sure to let it roar.

How to exist

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 32 of 39 in the series Manual


Assemble yourself from molecules, cells, electric currents, phases of the moon, words and worms.

Individuate. Break off from the bedrock.

Particle or wave? Better try both to play it safe.

If you happen to possess mass, you can experience gravity. Find something to orbit.

Only 4% of the observable universe consists of ordinary, luminous or nonluminous matter — and who wants to be ordinary? Dark matter, being at this point a complete mystery, is much more attractive to the ladies.

Elude precise definition. The wholly understood thing is a mere fantasy.

Consciousness is a popular option, but if you choose it, be sure to revisit unconsciousness on a regular basis in order to stay grounded.

If you must be a being for whom Being (Dasein) is a question, do not join the Nazi party.

Love. Or failing that, harmonize.

Make a name for yourself using phonemes, morphemes and — optionally — graphemes.

Whether or not the soul exists has no bearing on the problem of existence itself. So can I have your soul?

When life gives you asymptotically free quarks and gluons, make quark-gluon plasma.


How to panic

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 31 of 39 in the series Manual


Flip, flop and fly — not necessarily in that order.

Re-wire all your circuits and don’t ground anything.

Re-calibrate your trajectory every half-second like a butterfly en route to nothing in particular.

Unless you believe in market forces, you will die in your sins. Trust in the rational investor and the invisible hand.

Use the small hammer provided to break the glass.

When called upon to participate in a panic attack, be sure to bring the viable issue of your torrid fling with a goat.

Sew panic buttons into all your shirts for easy access.

Alongside the lyric, dramatic and satiric, pre-Socratic philosophers recognized the importance of the panic mode.

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, you must be some kind of goddamned robot.

Panic, like dancing, worship services and outbreaks of bubonic plague, is best experienced in a group setting.

Love may take you out of yourself, but only panic can save you from the tedium of thought.

Don’t shout “fire!” willy-nilly in a crowded theater. Wait for a quiet moment full of dramatic tension.

Remember, it’s not true that the lemmings in that Disney nature film committed mass suicide. They were pushed.

How to sit

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 30 of 39 in the series Manual


Bend in two places. Ready yourself for the first origami fold.

When choosing a seat, remember: comfort is important. Don’t stint on the gluteal implants.

Get off your high horse and have it shot.

Sit on the earth like a bird brooding an enormous egg. Don’t be surprised if it takes a while to hatch.

Donate your wings to a soup kitchen for Wing Night Wednesday.

Why be normal? Straddle a chair backwards, you rebel you.

Wait until your number is called. Requests to be buried in a sitting position are usually honored.

Before accepting an endowed chair, make sure it isn’t too well endowed. That could get uncomfortable.

Seat belts are for cowards, and also for people riding in automobiles.

Rocking chairs are passé. Find a chair that throbs.

If the ground is rocky or uneven, simply levitate.

Let your legs atrophy like Daruma. Put the fun back in fundament.

Refuse to meditate for only three bowls of rice a day. Join a sit-down strike for some decent drugs.

Contrary to popular opinion, shutting the fuck up is not an inevitable consequence of sitting your ass down.

If you’re visiting the equator, sit down very carefully. The earth is spinning at 1,038 miles per hour!

Let sleeping kundalinis lie. Just between you and me, the subtle winds from the root chakra smell like shit.

Just sit. Sit! Good boy.


holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

My appliances don’t understand me. Random shuffle fails to keep measure with my tics. Unfriending strangers no longer fills me with a frisson of spite. I have been sleeping too much, and in my dreams, great rolls of fencing escape from captivity and flatten trees and houses. I go for long walks with my eyes shut because some days it’s too much work to focus. The slower I go the more I stumble, like a bench grinder with a decaying belt. I’ve been too happy. As my friend the skull likes to point out, it takes no muscles at all to smile. Glowering is a lost art.

How to fit in

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 29 of 39 in the series Manual


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Learn the stars. Everyone around here knows them by their first names.

Drink gin mixed with tears from the visitation room of a state penitentiary.

Who doesn’t enjoy the suffering of the despicable?

Tell jokes in which cats come to a violent end.

Communicate solely through IM and extemporized qasidas.

Wear clothes.

Start an office betting pool for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Stockpile dill pickles, ammunition and expurgated bibles.

Paint by the numbers.

When stopping to see a young lady who is not at home, the gentleman caller should leave a handsomely printed card.

Do things in groups that you would never do by yourself, e.g. burning a cross or playing Parcheesi.

Avoid unprocessed foods.

Have a conversion experience, but don’t let it stop you from being the same old asshole.

Read bestselling books, such as Business Secrets of the Zombies and The Joy Luck Sisterhood of the Traveling Hunger Games.

Two words: hand jive.

Two more words: accordion dirge.

When you meet the Buddha, capture the moment on your cellphone.

How to teem

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 28 of 39 in the series Manual


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When you go outside, bring the inside with you—a book, a magazine, a mobile phone—until the sky becomes the lid on a petri dish.

Let the Rapture play out in reverse: let everything you own ascend to a heaven of pure abstraction, leaving you only your solid bodies and the close proximity in which you find yourselves.

Alternatively, give all you have to the rich, who will know what to do with it so much better than you do.

It’s essential to be as poor as possible.

Surrender your personal space but not your personal agendas. You’re going for chaos, not collective action.

Avoid engagement with the natural world, to the extent that it persists in flaunting its pollen and its noisy card-shuffles of wings.

Pullulate. Flocculate. Agglomerate.

Whenever someone from another world appears among you, searching for proofs of his superiority, be sure to swarm in your best Brownian motion.

How to cast a shadow

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 27 of 39 in the series Manual


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Do not emit light yourself. You can glow, but only with radiance borrowed from elsewhere.

Take corporeal form. Acquire inertial mass.

Become at least partially diurnal, or failing that, inhabit a city that never sleeps.


Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to have a soul in order to have a shadow.

Maintain proximity with another body or surface, e.g. the ground, if you want visual evidence of your shadow.

Do not subsist mainly or entirely on a diet of blood.

If your shadow becomes inky, or disappears into Stygian darkness, you may need to dispense with the fedora and trenchcoat.

If you’re new to shadow-casting, work on getting a crisp, dark umbra before advancing to a penumbra and—for advanced students only—an antumbra.

To make your shadow dance, dance. To make your shadow talk, stand on a streambank.

Learn from your shadow. Broken glass won’t cut it, barbed wire can’t stop it, mud doesn’t stick.

Whether or not you have a dark side, you can do your part to keep the world from becoming a desert, blasted by the implacable light of reason.

At noon on the equator, your shadow will stretch into the earth like a vein of pyrite.

If your shadow is crossed by the shadow of a black cat, throw pepper over your shoulder.

Keep your friends close and your shadow closer.

Do not attempt to make love to your shadow. That’s been shown to cause amnesia in laboratory rats.

Don’t share your shadow with strangers. Ideally, everyone should cast his or her own.

If you see nothing, say nothing. The shadow government appreciates your cooperation.

How to dig

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 25 of 39 in the series Manual


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Whatever you’re carrying, set it aside.

Can you dig it? If not, look for an area that is free of concrete, asphalt, paving bricks, or other impervious surfaces.

Digging need not involve a downward motion. Those who are buried may endeavor to dig themselves out.

When digging into your past or your subconscious, stay well above the high-tide mark.

An earthworm severed by a digging tool will only grow into two new earthworms if the split occurs between the 12th and 18th segments. The head will grow a new tail, the tail will grow a new head, and neither will need a spade to resume digging.

Dig quickly, before your excavation can cave in.

Dig slowly and take many breaks to enjoy the haunting music of the moles.

Don’t stop to fraternize with rocks. Daylight makes them dangerous. Boys have been known to turn them into weapons.

Don’t remove the top of a mountain unless the adjacent valley happens to be devoid of rich people.

The technical name for soil that has been forcibly relocated elsewhere is dirt.

If there’s nowhere else to put it, dirt can be eaten. Bake at 350 for two hours and season with vinegar.

Even in the softest soil, the human penis is a very inefficient digging tool, since it lacks a baculum. Try a trowel instead.

When digging through bedrock, resist the temptation to stretch out and take a nap.

If you’re in a hurry, there are many pre-existing excavations, such as old mine shafts and abandoned railway tunnels, that you can use to escape from the tyranny of the surface.

The deeper you go, the fewer options you have. Blindness is a mercy.

Don’t dig to plant or to unearth. Don’t dig for exercise. Just dig.