6 Real How-To Guides You Won't Believe Anyone Needs
One of the best things about the Internet is that it contains a wealth of information to guide you through life's unexpected obstacles. If it wasn't for the wise words of complete strangers, I never would have been able to fix my own toilet, master a delicious lasagna recipe, and stretch my rectum to the point where I could successfully smuggle a kilo of cocaine through Guadalajara International Airport.
But in an attempt to provide guidance on every possible challenge someone could face, the Internet's how-to writers have crafted guides that could only be of use to the desperate or the insane. God help you if you ever find yourself consulting one of the following.
How to Pierce Your Own Penis
Every man has thought about driving a steel rod through his penis at some point in his life. But some of us are hesitant to show our willy to Willy, the coked up ex-biker who will charge a hundred bucks to help you set off metal detectors with your dick. What's a shy, cash-strapped genital piercing enthusiast to do?
Thankfully, the good men and women -- nay, the good heroes -- at WikiHow answered the call of what has to be, like, six people, which is why I can no longer get an erection that doesn't immediately wilt away in terror. We're told that a dong piercing can improve your sex life, make you feel cool, and give you a piercing that "nobody knows about." The last point contradicts the first, and the second is the worst misunderstanding of what it means to be cool since the socially awkward started wearing fedoras.
You think that dude can't take a punch? Look at him. LOOK AT HIM!
Credit where credit's due: This is a well-written guide. It's comprehensive and easy to understand, and I've had surgeries that took fewer sanitary precautions than they recommend. That makes it even weirder, because the best way to ensure that you don't get dick dropsy is to go to a goddamn professional. The guide even suggests this several times, and also mentions a few of the many, many ways doing it yourself can go horribly wrong. I don't know what sort of man decides to go ahead with the personal touch after reading these warnings, but I know I'd want him to have my back in a bar fight.
And oh boy, can this ever go wrong. It's suggested that you get a pair of clamps so that, when you make the first hole and start screaming like a little girl who's being mauled by a tiger, you won't accidentally miss your mark on the exit and give yourself a second urethra. If I ever follow the Internet's advice to apply a clamp to my foreskin, the next step in the guide had better be "Question every life decision you have made up to this point as you star in a Bulgarian porno to pay off your gambling debts."
We'll now take a minute to let every male in the audience cross his legs and cringe.
Look, I'm no prude. If you want a genital piercing, go nuts (although not literally). But for God's sake, get it done by a professional. The "jam metal through a stranger's genitalia" industry is probably traumatizing enough without them having to worry about losing business to a self-starting go-getter. Not to mention that if you mess up, you'll have the most humiliating emergency room story ever.
How to Give Yourself a Tattoo With Household Items
If the penis-piercing guide was written by a well-meaning professional who lacked foresight, this guide on tattooing yourself was put together by a man who spent a decade in prison putting these skills to use and could not give less of a fuck if you infect yourself, because he's seen shit that makes your infection look like a chipped nail. If going to a tattoo parlor while drunk is ill-advised, this is the equivalent of stopping off while on your way to rescue your parents from a Terminator.
We're first told that getting a tattoo requires "desciplin," so make sure you have whatever that is. Next you need to assemble a tattoo gun like you're MacGyver after he stopped believing in germ theory. Just tie a needle to a pencil and you're pretty much good to go! Maybe wash the pencil "a bit," if you're a "germophobe or even a little paranoid." Those nutty paranoids, always going on about how "the CIA's monitoring my movements!" and "breaking your skin with unsanitary equipment can cause medical complications!" Wackos.
Look at this crackpot. I bet he's all "controlled demolitions!" am I right?
Next, get drunk. Just enough to dull the pain, mind you, because tattooing yourself while you're hammered would be irresponsible. The author doesn't specify what kind of alcohol to drink, but I assume he's put together a guide for making bathtub gin with nothing more than rubbing alcohol, juniper berries, and "this totally kickass chemical my cousin Marco scored, yeah of course it's legit, what are you, a pussy?"
Then, once you sketch the anchor or flaming skull on your skin, it's time to get some ink on your needle and start stabbing yourself. This can take a while, so we're told to maybe throw on a movie or something. Yeah, because who needs to pay attention when they're tattooing themselves? Hell, invite a few friends over, start a game of beer pong. You really only need one free hand.
But OK, as much as I mock, I admit that it would give you some pretty serious street cred to tattoo yourself with nothing more than supplies you stole from work. And the end result has got to be pretty ... Christ, what the hell is that?
"No, seriously, that was all freehand."
Is that a knife made out of a corncob? Nobody's going to be impressed by that. They're going to wonder what sort of ridiculous bet you lost that forced you to go to the worst tattoo artist in all of the universe's population of organic life. It looks like a cattle brand for LARPers.
So I'll say it again, kids: Always get your body modifications done by a professional. We're about a step away from having guides on how to give yourself breast implants, and no one wants to see the results of that.
How to Become Good at Knife Fighting
Much like learning to play an instrument or picking up a new language, mastering the art of knife fighting is one of those skills we'd all love to do but can never quite find the time for. But then you find yourself in a foreign country and/or in the midst of a battle between two surprisingly well-choreographed street gangs, and you'll curse yourself for watching that Who's the Boss? marathon when you could have been slashing noses open. Thankfully, there's a knife fighting guide you can quickly consult after you try to ask a surly Moldovan where the nearest washroom is and accidentally call his mother an unusually unattractive yet embarrassingly slutty goat.
If knife fighting seems like one of those skills you'd pick up from experience rather than fancy book learnin', you are absolutely correct. Step one might as well be "plan ahead by pre-emptively calling an ambulance. Be sure to mention your blood type!"
This is what the average knife fighter looks like, apparently. You do not want to fight someone who looks like this.
This guide is a mixture of the obvious and the insane. "Be physically fit" seems implied, because I've yet to see a movie where the heroes are intimidated by an obese henchman who needs a breather after he's introduced. But then there's the step where you "get faster reflexes." Well, OK. Sounds good in theory, but how? Become Spider-Man? I'm just joking, of course, that would be silly. You should play racing video games and run in the woods.
Part of me always knew that the countless hours I've sunk on Mario Kart and F-Zero would prepare me for fighting knife duels. "Don't fuck with me, man -- I won the Star Cup on 150cc mirror mode," I'll say, as my opponent's eyes widen in fear. "And do you know how many forests I've run through? Like, all of them. I make deer look like shit!" Hell, I'll never even have to fight if I can trash talk like that.
"See this shit? I ran it. Yeah, that's what I thought."
We're also advised to "never get nervous," although there are no suggestions as to how to magically master our emotions. Just picture the 6-foot speed freak waving a machete in your face as a cherry blossom tree swaying in a warm spring breeze, I guess.
And, of course, practice makes perfect. Well sure, but what post-apocalyptic wasteland do you live in where you can get knife fighting practice on a regular basis? Is this part of a guide for being a Shadowrunner? I feel like if you're getting practice sessions, you don't need to consult an Internet guide, because you're already either pretty good or pretty short of a functional jugular.
"Whoa there, buddy. Not cool bringing those guns to a knife fight."
Speaking of which, the guide wraps up with a warning that we should always think about the consequences of knife fighting, because "Stitches, surgery, and perhaps a slow and painful death may await the person who loses." Are you saying that after all this awesome advice I could still lose? Goddammit, how many forests do I have to run through?
How to Cheat on Your Spouse and Not Get Caught
There's a worrying paradox where the quality of an Internet how-to guide is inversely related to how appropriate the subject matter is. Trying to improve your diet? Contradictory advice abounds. Trying to commit adultery? Here's a thorough common-sense guide on covering your tracks, which will ensure that the only people who know about your philandering are you, your paramour, and the bartender you break down and confess everything to at three in the morning on Whiskey Wednesday. I'd name the paradox, but there are no good guides on doing so.
Some of the marriage-ruining tips are obvious, like always use protection, don't come home with new hickeys, and tell the kids that, yes, it is absolutely their fault that mommy and daddy are getting divorced. Other suggestions veer more into the realm of spycraft, which is great because you can pretend you're a secret agent on an important honeypot mission. Role play spices up your passionate romance and distracts you from remembering that you're a terrible person.
"Don't ask. Just roll with it, man."
Paying for everything with cash and tossing the receipts makes sense, although buying a burner phone seems extreme, not to mention environmentally unfriendly. Are you cheating on Mother Nature now, too?
To account for all your missing time, it's suggested that you pick up a new hobby, but don't commit to it as much as you claim to, like how I tell people I'm a writer but outsource half of my articles to a team of Chinese freelancers. The example the guide uses is to start taking a karate class twice a week but tell everyone that it's three nights, which is almost as ridiculous as how big your manhood will be when you buy our genuine herbal love enhancer to make the best happy times to your sweetheart, buy today!
You're also told to always use public computers. That's smart, but Christ, this is turning into a serious commitment. If you've already got to take up the jazz flute or learn to crochet, when are you going to be able to hit up the local library while still finding time to at least pretend to love your spouse?
Not to mention the fact that you keep getting kicked out for loudly celebrating nude pictures.
Oh yeah, that's encouraged as well. You should buy your cuckold roses, draw their baths, and make them feel special, all while being prepared to take your cheating to your grave. Don't do anything crazy like not cheat; just maintain an elaborate web of lies that will in no way come crashing down. Because where could anyone who needed to Google search for adultery tips go wrong?
How to Cut Yourself Off from Society
This guide is just sad, and anyone who searches it out should be automatically redirected to a list of suicide hotlines set on a background of kittens hugging puppies. Why would anyone even want to consult it, you ask?
"Ever just felt like you are sick of being hurt repeatedly? Alternatively, maybe you yourself hurt people by accident and want it to stop? Either way, this is a last ditch effort to stop any sort of hurting."
So it's a guide for people who imagine themselves as the moody stars of young adult novels, basically. Truly, having friends is like entering an emotional Hunger Games. What soul-crushing tips can we follow to avoid all that painful human interaction?
Start by working on shutting down your emotions, like you're a Vulcan going through his eyeliner and My Chemical Romance phase. This already sounds difficult, but don't worry -- you don't have to avoid people completely. Just don't interact with anyone unless it's absolutely necessary, which is a good way to become a brooding badass in pop culture and the student whose name is highlighted and placed in the counselor's "Potential Shooter" folder in real life.
Next, only go out when you're forced to. And on your rare outings, remember that "smiles should be used as little as possible." Parties are definitely a no go, unless there's a corner you can slink into. Oh, man. Reading this is like watching a Zoloft commercial in reverse.
Remember to keep physical contact to a minimum, and that hugs are absolutely verboten. The guide doesn't explicitly state that you should start storing your urine in jars, but it's implied. Singing is still permitted, strangely enough, although only in private. Which, yeah, actually is kind of sad.
"People, who need people, are the luckiest pe- ... pe- ... oh God, oh God. Oh God!"
There are plenty more tips for setting yourself up as a future suicide victim, but let's skip to the climax, because making readers cry is a sign that my comedy article may have gone astray. To make up for our new lack of flesh-and-blood friends, we're advised to get some imaginary ones, because "they can't hurt you unless you want them to, they love you, they want to be with you." Guys, I ... I need a minute.
God, don't you want to find everyone who's consulting this guide and give them a big hug? From the constant references to school and the general existential angst, I suspect it's mostly addressing teenagers, so as a wise and elderly 20-something, I can assure you that things do get better. Well, for most of you. A few of you will end up as lonely alcoholics who cry yourselves to sleep every night while you dream of what could have been, but the rest of you will be cool.
"No matter how colorful I make the drink, my heart always remains black."
How to Drive Safely While Drunk
Hopefully we all recognize that "drive safely while drunk" is an oxymoron, like "jumbo shrimp" or "thought-provoking BuzzFeed article." These guides begin by saying as much, clearly stating that you should never drink and drive. Buuuut sometimes you just really need to, so it's totally OK and here's how to do it.
A drunken-driving guide should be one word long and followed by a montage of car accidents. They should not say that it's OK to drive drunk only when you're just tipsy and not completely smashed, because people who've been drinking are not known for being able to accurately judge their intoxication level. That's why your buddy Chad yelled "I'm totally fine, dude, I'm going to nail this!" right before his attempted backflip into the pool broke three people's arms. It's always a Chad. Those wacky guys.
Tips like "lemon water will clear up your head" aren't just wrong, they're enough to activate a scientist's gag reflex. If lemons were a magical alcohol sponge, the world's most common idiom would be "If life gives you lemons, do a sick kegstand!"
No, Chad, that's not really a ... goddammit.
We're told that if all else fails you should stick your fingers down your throat and vomit, because stumbling out of a bar with the remnants of the wing-eating contest clinging to your shirt will definitely convince everyone that you're good to hop behind the wheel. And once you're cruising down the road at "Fuck, I don't know, those numbers are kinda blurry" miles per hour, you should munch on a chocolate bar or a pack of chips to help keep you alert, because to the writer of this guide, "distracted driving" is worrying that you didn't throw enough Milwaukee's Best in the back seat to last you through the party.
But uh-oh! You're on your way home, thinking about getting your high school band together for one last gig and calling your ex to see if she's willing to give it another shot, when you spot a roadblock. What do you do, hotshot? What do you do?!
"I bet I could ramp it."
Simply shove a stick of gum in your mouth or take a bite of an apple to hide the stench of bad decision making. Why do you have an apple? Because "If going out on the town, why not put an apple in your car?" Why indeed. Whenever I go out for the night, my first thought is to make sure that my car's produce crisper is adequately stocked.
Once you reach the check stop, lie your ass off. I only had one beer because my buddy had to cancel. Oh, I'm just on my way back from my girlfriend's place. Was I at a bar? No, I'm not a lawyer. Alcohol is the devil's drink, and the 18th Amendment will rise again! Look out, angry walrus!
The guide ends with "acting smart may just save you a lot of time and trouble." It then immediately vanishes in a puff of irony.
You can read more from Mark, including his guide on human trafficking, at his website.
For more guides people are likely using right now, check out 21 Social Situations Explained Via IKEA Instructions and Instructional Diagrams for People Who Suck at Everyday Life.