Life: An Informal User’s Guide

Otis Galloway
5 min readJul 10, 2020


I did…It’s in Swedish, and I have some parts left over…

This year will mark my fifty-second orbit around the sun.

I’m kind of shocked, to be quite frank. I expected to be dead in a puddle of vomit by forty. (Mine or someone else’s)

But here I am, in (relatively) good health and (questionable) sound mind.

So I have decided to impart some wisdom I have accumulated over the years. I gained it through a succession of catastrophic fuck ups, ones which have cost me roughly about the same amount as a small developing nation.

I could, quite possibly be driving some exotic supercar right now, had I chosen a better path.

I would also more than likely be an insufferable dickbag.

So I chose wise, humble and poor instead…GO ME!

Here is what I learned, and now I pass it on to you. Hope it helps…and I mean that sincerely.

The timer starts counting down once you get your womb eviction. Enjoy the easy part while it lasts.

Remember the three-year old you? PROTECT THEM AT ALL COSTS.

Never give up the curiosity. It’s a superpower. Keep it sharp.

Colouring outside the lines is perfectly acceptable, as long as you know where it’s headed.

The cookies, juice and naps thing is highly underrated.

Don’t hang out with the mean people, and don’t become one. That kind of power is short-lived.

Leave your hometown and don’t look back…you can NEVER look back.

Even if you don’t become a creative as a primary career, keep some skin in the game. It will save your sanity.

Some people are just assholes because they want to be. Avoid them. (Unless you are an asshole, like myself, in which case, be the best possible asshole and choose your targets. Don’t be random.)

Racism will NEVER not be fucking stupid and pointless. Educate yourself. It’s the twenty-first century. You have zero excuses.

Trans/non-binary people ARE STILL PEOPLE. It costs you NOTHING to simply be civil and let people live, even if it’s not your thing and you don’t grok it.

Educate yourself on how money works. It’s a resource, NOT an endgame, and until capitalism is dead and buried, it’s the game we gotta play, so learn how to play well enough to give yourself an advantage, so you can do good shit with what you have.

You can get the bag, and STILL be a decent person. Spread the wealth if you make it big…trust me, it will come back to you in spades.

Bad things happen to good people. It sucks, but it is what it is.

You can’t control what happens, but you can control your reaction. Read up about Stoicism…it’s not what you think, and it helps…A LOT.

It’s okay to lose your shit, cry, break down, get mad…Just don’t take up residence in the neighbourhood.


Listen to music as often as possible.

Never apologize for being yourself if it does no one injury. They’re not entitled to an explanation, and they can go fuck themselves.

Ask questions. Always.

You don’t have to believe in God, but understand that there are greater forces at work than you or I could possibly conceive. NOTHING is random. Even in Chaos, there is a pattern.

Sometimes, silence is the best sound you could hear.

The hottest thing you can do with someone you fancy is just listen and engage. Try it some time.

Travel at the earliest convenience and don’t stop. Your mind will expand and you will be better for it.

The Golden Rule. ‘Nuff said.

There is such a thing as pizza too shitty to eat (Papa John’s)


College is helpful. A library card is cheaper.

Learn all the rules…so you can break every last one of them.

Violence works if used correctly.

The one who talks the most is the (perceived) leader. Eliminate them first, and the others won’t know how to react. Whatever you do after that is up to you and your skill sets.

You may find weed useful. Or not.

Travel to Amsterdam and visit the Anne Frank House. It will change you for the better.

Travel to Amsterdam and have a slice of Dutch apple pie. You’ll thank me later.

Say ‘no’ when everyone else says ‘yes,’ and vice versa.

If they’re trying too hard to sell you something, it’s probably not worth buying.

If you are trying to sell something, then make it something that is a solution to a problem. That’s how you get filthy rich.

For every two alcoholic drinks, take a glass of water. Your liver (and head) will thank you in the morning.

Say ‘thank you’ to your one-night stand. They chose to rub naughty bits with you.

Make your partner’s orgasm a top priority

NEVER argue with a woman on her period. EVER. It will not end well for you.

The sexual charisma of redheads is a mystery worth diving into whenever the opportunity presents itself.

We’re ALL a 3 on the Kinsey scale on a good day.

Living in large cities is overrated. Visit them instead.

Never pay more than £/$20 for a burger.

Go to a bar alone, sit outside, if possible, and just look at everything. People will think you’re either a writer or the coolest drunk ever.

Even if you suck at it, learn to play at least one instrument.

Even if you suck at it, learn at least one other language. Don’t piss off the Duolingo owl.

Before you do anything, consult the two Rogers…Steve and Fred. If they wouldn’t do it, then neither should you.

Shaw Brothers kung-fu movies are EVERYTHING.

Anyone who says they hate jazz has actually never listened to it.

All that classical literature you were supposed to read in college? 90% of the people you come across haven’t actually read it. It’s okay if you know it exists and who wrote it. That still counts. Some of it is okay.

Russian novelists will use half the fucking novel to tell you something a Western novelist could have told you with a sentence.

NEVER fuck anyone who says they read The Art Of The Deal. Just…don’t.

ALL of us are immigrants. End of.

Don’t send a dick pic until you are asked to send one.

The Internet is forever. Choose what you say with care.

You’re gonna get your heart broken. More than once. Put the pain to good use. That’s the best revenge.

Always have a good pair of walking shoes.

Try to eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can.

To be continued…

Remember that part about music? Here’s another playlist



Otis Galloway

Composer/Musician. Scribbler of Random Thoughts. Amateur Chef. Professional Pain In The Ass. Proud And Confident Black Nerd/Geek/Dork