1. Read This. 2. Nod in Agreement. 3. Laugh Now.

If you fear that society went soft when they invented the toaster, you’ll hate the future. Down the road, we’ll all be softer than a crepe suzette.

That’s because your cyberfriends want to eliminate guesswork from life. Can’t think for yourself? The Internet will do it for you.

Case in point: A friend needed to go to Arrowhead Pond on Friday night. She came face to face with this brainteaser: how best to get from her house in Corona del Mar to Anaheim.

In olden times, she quite possibly would have figured it out herself or asked someone. Instead, she logged on to the Pond’s Web site, typed in her coordinates and, just like that, she had directions. And I mean directions that left nothing to chance:


1. Start out going north on MacArthur Boulevard toward Ford Road. Drive 2.7 miles.

2. Take the 73 North ramp toward Long Beach. Drive 0.4 miles.

3. Merge onto the 73 North. Drive 1.5 miles.

4. Take the 55 North exit on the RIGHT toward Riverside.


5. Keep LEFT at the fork in the ramp. Drive 0.5 miles.

She received 14 separate instructions. Presumably, she found the Pond.

What about life’s other tests? Let’s say you’re a bit of a dunce but need to ask someone for a date. You log on and receive your instructions:

1. Take 10 deep breaths.


2. Knock back a liqueured drink.

3. Pick up phone.

4. Correctly dial subject’s number.

5. Begin conversation with, “Hi, how are you doing? Is this a good time for you to talk?”


6. Chuckle at first opportunity, but don’t force it.

7. When appropriate, respond with, “That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of that.”

8. If he/she says, “I’ve only got a minute,” end conversation quickly, especially if it’s a toll call. If, however, subject says, “Let me turn down the stereo so I can hear you better,” proceed to Instruction 9.

9. Switch phone ear to maximize comfort.


10. Repeat something subject said recently and tell him/her it was so funny or insightful that you passed it on to at least one other person, who also found it entertaining.

11. Do not say, “The reason I called. . . .” That imposes a needless sense of urgency.

12. Identify your plan and say, “It would be more fun if you went with me.” That suggests you’re going whether he/she goes with you or not.

13. If subject agrees to go, respond with, “Wonderful.” If not, resist temptation to reply, “Oh, too good for me?”


The Internet could also help with job interviews, traditionally a source of terror:

1. Ascertain exact location of interview site.

2. Avoid any and all “benders” during 48-hour period preceding interview.

3. Drive to site. (For best directions, type in company name and click on “Directions.”)


4. Wear dark clothing to obscure telltale sweat.

5. Chew fruit-flavored gum or mint-tinged lozenge within 20 minutes of interview.

6. Remove gum or lozenge from mouth five minutes before start of interview.

7. Establish frequent but not constant eye contact.


8. To avoid bonehead responses, count “thousand-one, thousand-two” before replying to any questions.

9. When asked about salary desires, do not respond, “You tell me.” Instead, identify a narrow range and say, “Frankly, I think I deserve to be at the high end of that range, but what I want mostly is the chance to work here.”

10. If job is offered, do not begin weeping or make any other sudden motions. As coolly as possible, say, “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”

Dana Parsons’ column appears Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Readers may reach Parsons by calling (714) 966-7821, by writing to him at The Times Orange County Edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, or by e-mail at