1. Follow the ABC rule: Always Be Correcting the spelling, grammar, and syntax used by your friends and family — even if it’s a casual email, and their meaning is perfectly clear. (“Did you mean Santa CLAUS, Mom? I’ve never heard of anyone named Santa CLAUSE!!!”)
If possible, insert a snide chuckle while you’re at it, so the errant speaker knows how super-dumb their mistake was. Over email or text, an “lol” or “smh” will accomplish the same purpose. (“lol Bradley, I think you mean you have ‘25% fewer’ T-cells than you did at your last draw, not ‘25% less.’ smh”)
DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN, not even for a moment. The sanctity of the English language depends on you constantly policing the word-sounds and typing-shapes created by your loved ones.
Bonus points if your corrections are based on arcane Latin grammar rules that aren’t necessarily applicable to English (see: split infinitives, dangling prepositions). And if you threatened to commit suicide when “selfie” was named the Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year, you’ve got this thing nailed.
2. Tell me about your diet. What are you allowed to eat? What does a typical day’s menu look like for you? Are you hungry because you’re on a diet? Are there any foods you’re not allowed to eat on this diet that you really miss? Which foods are those? Do you get a “cheat day” from your diet each week? If so, what kind of food will you be eating on your “cheat day” this week?
Why are you following this diet? What’s your goal weight? Do you have any friends who’ve had success with this diet? Is anyone else in your life following this diet along with you? What other types of diets have you been on? How does this diet compare to those previous diets?
Does this particular diet plan uniquely address some quirky biological imperatives relating to the human metabolism that I wouldn’t even know about if you didn’t specifically tell me? Have you tried any new recipes as a result of this diet that you think I might find surprisingly delicious? Do you plan to update your Facebook and Twitter feeds with diet-related remarks on a regular basis to share your progress with others?
And while we’re on the topic, do you have any personalized feedback about my diet?
3. Drive anywhere, ever, in any fashion. You’re driving either too fast or too slow, like a homicidal maniac on coke or a grandma on quaaludes. You didn’t use your turn signal at all, or you left it blinking for eight full minutes after your lane-change was complete. You rolled right through the stop sign, or you sat there stubbornly and waved through opposing cars that arrived after you. You forgot to turn your headlights on at night, or your brights are on in the middle of the day. You have a stick-figure family on your rear windshield, or a bumper sticker announcing that your dog is smarter than an honor student. You barreled through a red light, or braked as you approached a green. You believe abortion stops a beating heart, or you voted for Kerry/Edwards a decade ago.
Either way, you parked like a fucking asshole.