Are You Experienced?

Almost everyone thinks they are qualified to give life advice. In fact some feel so qualified that they dispense it without the slightest solicitation.

What’s the qualification? Having survived long enough to give the advice?

Insufficient! It is like you giving me advice on my golf stroke based on your experience of eating at a country club once. Oh, by the way, I don’t play golf.

It is not the giving of the advice itself that bothers me most. It is the unwavering belief that it is good advice, so good that making sure it is followed becomes a crusade.

You say you are right, I hear you saying I am wrong. You walk away complaining that no good deed goes unpunished.

I know of only one other person who advises, based on his track record, to discount his advice.

Have you ever noticed that the down and beaten spend a lot of time giving each other advice. Most of it is practical, like which coffee shops allow you to sit for hours with an empty cup of coffee. The mention of a place with a particularly restrictive policy will lead into a long discussion about treating people with respect, human rights, municipal policies and whatever else affects their day to day life.

I know the man’s story. The how he ended up living in the streets, the sequence of events presented as a why.

I am curious. He is the very model of a modern major city homeless person. Clean, respectful and educated. Industrious with no nasty habits staking a claim to his soul. A cause activist and active citizen of the neighbourhood he frequents. He is a prime candidate for temporary housing, he is eligible for all sorts of assistance and he has zero papers to validate his claims. My guess: he is allergic to bureaucracy to the point that it affects his choices.

The system acts like it doesn’t want him back. He tried getting the his paperwork together once. He ran out of steam after the third link in the daisy chain of documents needed to get the next piece of paper. Extra checks that only inconvenience terrorists and other criminals but stopped him from getting back on the grid.

There is a piece of land that should have my name on it. I am not at risk of losing it though I cannot do anything with it until my name goes on the title.

Am I sympathizing, empathizing, or projecting? My circumstances are different: I can’t afford a personal assistant but I can afford higher prices and penalties.

The only way to follow his advice is to not follow his advice and follow his advice.

I didn’t say it because it felt sappy, because I didn’t think he wanted to hear it: The best advice comes with experience and sometimes the experience comes from bad choices.


If you can just get your mind together
Then come on across to me
We’ll hold hands, and then we’ll watch the sunrise
From the bottom of the sea

But first, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have

I know, I know you probably scream and cry
That your little world won’t let you go
But who in your measly little world
Are you trying to prove that
You’re made out of gold and, eh, can’t be sold

So uh, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have
Ah, let me prove it to you

Trumpets and violins I can hear in the distance
I think they’re calling our names
Maybe now you can’t hear them, but you will (haha)
If you just take hold of my hand

Oh, but are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Not necessarily stoned, but beautiful