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Life Lessons from Melissa: Uptight attitudes prove to be no fun for anyone

One of my most-important self-imposed guidelines is probably the most effortless to follow: Don’t be a Serious Sally.

These are the people who refuse to laugh at bathroom humor in public, give dirty looks to people who do and usually have some variation of a scowl on their faces even when they’re “smiling.”

If I have learned one thing in my short life, it is the simple logic that taking oneself seriously is incredibly futile.

No matter how straight you sit and how coiffed your hair is, someone is making fun of you, somewhere.

In fact (well, more like tried and true opinion), the more you scoff at immature hilarity, the more people will deem you a prude behind your back, which often leads to quite a few jokes about something being up somewhere you like to pretend doesn’t even exist.

In order to avoid all of this full-circle irony, there are a few simple things you can do in order to lower your nose down in the gutter with the rest of us.

Dry wit and deadpan dark humor are great comical skills, and often make you seem intelligent and strangely sophisticated, but bottom line: Everyone likes a dirty joke whether they like to admit it or not.

Be a person who admits it and — one step further — the person who makes the joke.

One of the most enjoyable things in life is seeing the look on someone’s tight face when you offend them.

Just remember that there is a difference between hurting someone’s feelings and offending them. If you do something embarrassing in public, laugh about it.

Falling is funny, even if you get a little hurt. It’s even funnier when someone else does it, so remember that when it’s your face on the floor in a room full of people. Self-deprecation is always funnier than self-endorsement.

There are many more ways to be less annoyingly puritanical, but there is one in particular that I find to be most effective.

However, it is quite permanent and often controversial: Get a tattoo.

Obviously, this step is not for everyone. I never wanted a tattoo and actually scoffed at the idea for the majority of my years.

Alas, one day I woke up and thought, “I want a tattoo.” Today, I have two. I receive varied feedback about them, mostly in the form of passive judgment that the dealer thinks goes unnoticed.

I smile through it and state that I might not even live to be 60, so worrying about how wrinkly my tattoos will be is not of concern to me at the moment.

I do however agree with the need for available discretion with your body art.

Conversely, it seems as though the times, they are a changin’. Many businesses have switched to casual wear and casual attitudes, which would potentially allow for exposure of your ink.

So why get a tattoo if you’re going to cover it up? This is the question my mother poses to me every time she remembers I have them. My answer is always the same. In our society, we are always covering things up.

Our inner-rebellion, our questionable humor, our desire to test people: Tattoos are something that you can cover up but not hide.

I look at mine and sometimes remember why I got them and what they mean and blah, blah, blah.

But mostly, I remember that I am temporary, as is everything, and the images imprinted on my skin are the only things that will be in my life as long as I have one.

They are the ultimate reminder that I should do what I want now because I might not be able to tomorrow.

They remind me that skin is just skin and that, when I’m gone, no one will remember what it looked like.

In the end, no one will care if you had a tattoo, but they will remember if you could laugh at yourself and life itself.

Looking at my tattoos, that is exactly what I remember to do.

Melissa Knueven is a junior studying communications and a columnist for The Post. Show off your tattoo to her at

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