How to Do Stuff Better

One of the perks of being extremely lazy is that you occasionally come up with time- and energy-saving ideas that revolutionize the way Americans do things, and which result in you being hailed as a genius, all without even having to get up off the couch.

I am always trying to conserve energy, and this even extends to the way my brain works. For example, I went to an electronics store to buy a VCR, and I asked the salesman why a 4-head VCR was better than a 2-head one. I knew the 4-headed ones were better because they cost more, and because having four of something is generally better than having two, unless you’re talking about personalities or kneecaps.

Anyway, I asked him why four was better, and he began to explain, and after about three sentences, I was hopelessly lost. I had no idea what he was talking about. Seeing that there was no point in continuing, my brain just shut off. It said, “Wake me up when there’s something we can deal with,” and it went to screen-saver, where it goes dark and little toasters fly across it. Then, when I was about halfway home, it perked up and went back to work, just in time to stop me from driving my car through the front window of Winchell’s.

Another time, my aforementioned car, Pedro, was acting up, as he is prone to do. I called my dad, who knows everything, and described the problem to him. He then started talking about air filters and coolants and blinker fluid, and before long, I was daydreaming about Crazy Bread. To this day, I have no idea what he told me to do with my car. For all I know, he told me to drive it over a cliff, although I frankly doubt that would have solved anything, since Pedro is possessed by the devil and is therefore indestructible.

My point is, I’m always looking for ways to save time and energy, and I have come up with some ideas that will revolutionize America, the world, and perhaps even Provo.


Have you ever noticed that nobody wants to go to wedding receptions? They always HAVE to go. “What are you doing tonight?” “Oh, I have to go to a reception.” Do newlyweds realize that not a single person at their reception really wants to be there? Apparently not. If they did, then when you left they wouldn’t shake your hand and say, “Thank you for coming,” they would say, “We’re sorry. We’re really so very sorry.”

Not only do the guests not want to be there, but neither do the family members. I base this on the fact that I’ve been a family member at two receptions and I didn’t want to be at either one of them. This is probably because the receptions took place at my home ward in California, where I kept getting asked annoying questions by the people in that ward. For example: “So Eric, when are YOU getting married?” And: “When’s the big day for you, Eric?” And: “Getting married soon, Eric?” And: “When can we look forward to YOUR reception, Eric?” And: “Got a girl in mind yet, Eric?” And: “I suppose you’ll be getting married soon, right Eric?” And: “I hope to see an invitation from you, Eric, pretty soon.” And: “Why aren’t you married yet, Eric?” And: “Why couldn’t we make this a double ceremony, with this person and you, Eric, both getting married?” And: “I’m the stupidest person in the world, and so I’m going to ask a question you couldn’t possibly know the answer to, as if you’re some kind of all-knowing guru, like Confucius or Yoda. And the question is: When are you going to settle down and get married, Eric?” So I know I don’t like receptions. I like the nut cups, and I like the little mints. But I can only eat maybe four or five pounds of that stuff before I get tired of the whole thing and have to go lie down for a while, away from all the people asking me about my alleged wedding.

So no one likes receptions — I’m sure I don’t need to mention that the bride and groom don’t want to be there, either — but we can’t do away with them altogether because of one thing: presents. Which brings me to my revolutionary idea, which I think is what this column was originally about. What you do is have somebody’s brother sit at a card table at a major intersection, and let the guests drive up to the curb and drop off their gifts. It would be like mailing a letter. You could also have them fill out their names and addresses on cards, and then have the bride and groom sign the cards and mail them back as thank-you notes. With this system, you get your presents, your friends don’t have to waste a whole evening, and everyone’s a winner.


As you know if you have ever been young, dating is mostly a colossal waste of time. Sure, it can be fun — most wastes of time are — but ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, the point of dating is to get married, and you are obviously not going to marry every person you date, unless you are from Manti. Which means that if you’re thinking of time and energy, dating is wasteful and imprudent.

It costs money, too. Oh sure, girls will insist that the best dates are inexpensive ones, and that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun, but you must bear in mind that they are lying.

The problem with dating, if you’re a guy, is that you are basically spending money just to find out whether or not a girl likes you. It’s like going to an audition, except you have to pay the casting director just for the privilege of being there. In the real world, if a girl doesn’t like you, she’ll say no when you ask her out. Here, girls never say no when you ask them out, because they’ve been taught to say no to a long, long list of various suggestions and propositions, but to NEVER refuse a potential date, as long as he’s LDS. It doesn’t matter if he has the personality of a towel. It doesn’t matter if he has B.O. so powerful it causes blistering around the eyes and mouths of bystanders. It doesn’t matter if he’s so unattractive he spends most evenings fleeing from a mob of angry townspeople who are carrying torches and shouting “Kill the monster!” You at least agree to go on one date with him, just to be “nice.” I don’t know where this concept of blind, self-sacrificing niceness was taught, but I assume it was during Mutual, while the boys were out on those Nazi death march Boy Scout activities, learning practical skills like rebellion against the church, and swearing.

I believe I speak for all guys when I say that if you don’t want to go on a date with us, just say so! You can still be nice about it. There ARE polite ways of saying “No, thank you.” (For example: “No, thank you.”)

But I know this will not happen, so I have a revolutionary idea to reform dating. Here’s how it works: A guy goes up to a girl and hands her $20 and says, “Here’s $20. Do you like me?” If she says yes, he takes the money back and takes her out on a date. If she says no, he says, “The money is yours to keep; thanks for playing,” and he moves on to another girl. This way, a guy can go on several “dates” in one night, whittle down the list of possibilities, and, in record time, either get married or determine once and for all that no one wants to marry him.

Efficiency! Thank you and good night.


[ I think this column is the best example of a “typical” Snide Remarks from the BYU era. It’s got the tangents that some people were so fond of, it makes some relatively coherent points about BYU culture, and it has some funny jokes.
I came up with both of these “revolutionary ideas” several months before writing the column. The ideas are so simple, and if you look, you’ll see that together, they take up maybe one-fifth of the column as a whole. A lot of people told me they thought the $20 thing was a great idea. It struck a nerve with the guys at BYU, I guess.
I know of only one instance in which the $20 system has been implemented, and it’s sort of tangential. But I’ll tell it anyway. Seems this guy knew a girl who lived in Logan, Utah, which is a long-distance phone call from Provo. He could never reach her at home, and she couldn’t return his calls because she didn’t have a long-distance carrier. So the guy bought her a $20 phone card and mailed it to her, with the instructions that if she actually wanted to talk to him and perhaps pursue a relationship, she should use the card to call him; if not, the card was hers to keep anyway.
She called him. The system works. When do I start being hailed as a genius? ]