If your elevator breaks free and drops,
Jump up and down.
Your chances are 50-50.
Don’t try to outrun a car,
but if one takes you by surprise,
Your odds are better
if you’re thrown to one side
and not run over.
If you are lost in snow, very cold,
and a Saint Bernard delivers a keg of brandy,
Don’t touch it.
Alcohol opens the blood vessels,
siphons off heat.
Hold on to the dog instead. Dogs are warm.
Soak your lettuce in bleach,
for twenty minutes to half an hour.
Don’t weaken your eyes by wearing glasses.
Don’t worry about living to a great age.
Great age breeds all kinds of foolishness.
Get a seat over the wing,
and don’t wear synthetics when flying.
If your plane catches fire
you want to be wearing cotton or wool.
Before the internet,
I had my father,
preparing me for life in short instructions.
Jasmine Shahbandi is a visual artist whose poems appear in Nowhere But Here, and Sea Above. She lives in California where she champions lost causes and errs on the side of optimism.