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On Sale: October 12, 2010
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-307-36786-0
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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents

Synopsis

It may not be great literature — but at least it's handy.

From the mastermind of the hugely successful The Red Green Show comes a book that is going to change your life, or at least make you laugh  — a lot  — whenever you pick it up. And people are going to be picking it up for many years to come, because — like the long-rerunning TV shows  — there's not a topical gag in the book anywhere, so it's going to be funny for the forseeable future. And as its title suggests, this is also a terribly useful book. Among its very many gems of advice, it shows how to cook with acetylene, take revenge on a lawn mower, measure your hat size with a two-by-four, reduce your carbon footprint (it involves moving into a fruit tree located next to a liquor store) and make your own alternative fuel (which involves an empty propane tank and a full septic one).


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

HOW TO SURVIVE THE SEVEN STAGES OF MARRIAGE: Denial, Guilt, Anger, Depression, The Upward Turn, Reconstruction, Acceptance
 
 
For a variety of reasons, human beings find it desirable to stay married to the same person for a long, long, long, long time. Sometimes it’s love, sometimes it’s convenience, sometimes it’s just so the other person can’t testify against them. Whatever the reason, staying married is not easy to do. In fact, for many people it’s a source of grief. If that’s how it is for you, try using the Seven Stages of Grief as guideposts on your journey towards marital bliss. Or at least as a way of controlling your homicidal urges.
 
1. Denial
This initial stage usually manifests itself shortly after the wedding. There are many symptoms, but the common thread is that you’re continuing the same behaviour you enjoyed prior to getting married—hanging out with your single friends, coming home late without phoning, trying to meet women on the Internet, etc. These habits are inappropriate now that you are a husband. You must get through the denial stage quickly, or it could outlast the marriage.
 
2. Guilt
After the first year of marriage, you will start hearing a small voice in the back of your head, making you feel guilty about your unacceptable levels of grooming, your inappropriate responses in social situations and your insensitivity towards your spouse. This small voice will be very familiar to you because it is your wife’s. When it becomes your own voice doing the behaviour modification, you will have successfully passed through the guilt stage and will be ready to meet the next challenge.
 
3. Anger
The day will come (usually right after an argument you lost) when you start to feel a sense of resentment towards the institution of marriage. You’ll be focused on the loss of personal freedom and the need for permission in every aspect of your existence. This resentment will turn to anger as you contemplate how your life could have been if you had never married. Instead of a home, you could own a Corvette. Instead of having a stressful corporate position, you could be a surfer. Instead of being a respected and responsible member of your community, you could be a boy toy in Monte Carlo. At the anger stage, it is helpful to talk with close friends (especially female ones) who can update you on your realistic options. It may be hard for you to hear, but if you are mature enough to accept their advice, you will be on track to returning to a happy marriage. Yes, I suppose the sight of you as a Corvette-driving surfer boy toy in Monte Carlo would be an entertaining one for the locals, but you’re much better off in an environment where someone has already vowed to take responsibility for you.
 
4. Depression
After the anger dissipates, the next stage is a deep sadness from the realization that married life isn’t as great as you expected and it’s only going to get worse. This is the period when sleeping with your wife becomes exactly that. Conversations between you become short and fact-based. “It’s garbage night.” “Yeah, yeah.” It’s a period that’s often marked by significant weight gain and an increase in the number of empty bottles in the recycling bin. Some couples have a brief trial separation, which may be as simple as one of them getting a job. But the key to getting through this stage is to realize that being depressed about the relationship you’re in is actually more unpleasant than the relationship itself. When you see depression for what it is—nature’s way of taking a bad situation and making it worse—you’re ready to move on to the next stage.
 
5. The Upward Turn
The good side of depression is that it sinks you below reality, which means that as you come back to reality you’re actually moving up. Now you have some upward momentum, and if you can find a way to sustain it, you’re on your way to your version of a happy marriage. This is a very important stage, and you must be prepared to do everything in your power to maintain that upward movement. I recommend asking a police artist to do what they call “age progressions” on your photographs of old girlfriends. Seeing what they look like now will remove your sense of lost opportunities. Next, you need to spend time with some really miserable husbands and encourage them to tell you all of their horror stories. It’ll be worth picking up the bar bill, because by the time they’re finished, you’ll feel like the luckiest man alive.
 
6. Reconstruction
This is your best opportunity to rebuild your marriage. You now have a much better sense of the structural weaknesses and the materials you’re working with. You may not ever know what exactly your wife wants, but you have at least ten years of evidence of what she doesn’t want. So start by not giving her any of that stuff. Start dressing better, lose a few pounds, put the seat down. She’ll notice you stepping up your game and she’ll step up hers. Even if you’re not sure you still love your wife, pretend that you do, and pretty soon you will.
 
7. Acceptance
This is the final stage of marriage. This is the goal, the point where you acknowledge that, all in all, you got a very fair return on your investment and really have nothing major to complain about. As in almost all of the other stages, the best way to accomplish this goal is to put aside your biases and seek an accurate evaluation of yourself. I know it’s impossible to stop you from being judgmental; instead, I’m asking to apply that attitude to you. For starters, go to the wax museum and get your picture taken standing beside the statue of Brad Pitt. Then show the picture around and see if anybody has difficulty picking out which one is you. Next, go on Google and find a list of the five hundred richest men in the world. Is your name on it? Stop ten strangers on the street and ask them if they know who you are. Okay, so now you have some sense of where you fit in the rich, famous or good-looking category. Next, draw a vertical line down the middle of a piece of paper. On one side, write the nice things your wife has done for you over the years. On the other side, write down the nice things you’ve done for her. If you run out of room on her side, there’s probably available space on yours. These exercises will not only bring you to the level of acceptance needed to keep your marriage together, they will introduce the shared ingredient that’s going to make the remaining years of marriage the best yet—gratitude.


From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Introduction | How to Survive the Seven Stages of Marriage  | Docking a Powerboat  | How to Keep Birds Away  | How to Drink Responsibly  | Things Not to Say to the Bride  | How to Balance Your Job and Home Life | How to Reduce Your Hotel Bill | Quick Tip #1: Opening a Pickle Jar | Plumbing Made Easy | How to Form a Club | Home Schooling | Reviving Traditions of the Past | Use This, Not This | How to Apologize | How to Get a Job | How to Tell If You Have a Problem Teenager | Quick Tip #2: What to Do About Squeaky Floorboards | Bad Gift Weather Station | How to Check Your Marital Status | How to Preserve Your Internal Hermit | Income Tax Deductions That Are Worth a Try | Behaviour Modification Through Observation | How to Improve Your Gas Mileage on a Long Trip | Hang the Expense | How to Make Dinner More Romantic | Seven Legal Things You Can Do with a Damp Basement | Quick Tip #3: Car Pulls to the Left | Multiple-Choice Sensitive-Man Quiz | How to Dress | How to Survive an Office Job | How to Work Tirelessly | Important Research for the Do-It-Yourselfer | Twelve Ways to Liven Up a Party | Why We Have Rules | Making Alternative Fuel | Items That Don’t Mix | Quick Tip #4: Opening a Sticky Door | How to Tell If You’re Too Focused on Your Job | How Your Pool Can Shovel Snow | Important Life Lessons | Less Is Mower | People Who Shouldn’t Drink Coffee | Ten Reasons to Have a Gravel Driveway | Reducing Your Carbon Footprint | How to Set Up Your Home Entertainment System | How to Have a UFO Sighting | The Easy Way to Raise Children | Quick Tip #5: Getting the Cork out of a Wine Bottle | How to Sell a Questionable Used Car | How to Avoid Conflict | The Importance of a Ground Wire | How to Feel Good About Yourself | What to Do with Your Fitness Equipment | Appearances Can Be Revealing | How to Babysit | How to Balance Your Books | How to Handle Messy People | Quick Tip #6: Fixing a Leaky Roof  | How to Install a Parquet Floor | The Motor-Sail-Cle | How to Take Better Pictures | Your First Cruise | How to Split Firewood | Cooking with Acetylene | Getting More out of Your Furnace | How to Get Back at Your Lawn mower | How to Sell Your Home Privately | Quick Tip #7: How to Measure Your Hat Size with a Two-by-Four | How to Save Money on Auto Body Work | How to Use an Adjustable Wrench | The Benefits of Fishing | Wake-Up Calls | How to Avoid Identity Theft | How to Fight the Aging Process | Good in the Clutch | Starting Your Chainsaw | How to Avoid Traffic Violations | Quick Tip #8: Getting Rid of a Bad Smell | How to Survive the Airport Experience | How to Spot Your Enemies | How to Fix a Leaky Faucet | The Computer Is Your Friend | Pause for Thoughts: Some Words of Wisdom | Choosing the Correct Fastener | The Dangers of the “To Do” List | Safety Rules for the Handyman | The Miracle of Mechanical Advantage | Quick Tip #9: Sealing a Drafty Window | Passing the Torch | Crisis Management | Shades of Green | The Million-Dollar Handyman | How to Catch Mice | The Demands of Boat Ownership | Handyman Fingerprints | Deciding Who Should Pay the Bills | How to Tell if You’re Boring | Quick Tip #10: Slippery Stairs | Another Pause for Thoughts | A Quiet Place | The Dangers of Pointing a Finger | How to Adjust to Global Warming | Beware of Golf | Don’t Play Too Much Solitaire | Friends with Benefits | How to Prepare for the Big Day | Quick Tip #11: Getting Farther on Empty | Power Paint | Respecting the Sensitive Handyman | The Real Ironman Triathlon | In Loving Memory of the Two-Cycle Engine | Translating Sailor Talk | Old-Guy Practice | Animal Defence | How to Build Your Own Airplane | How to Get Off the Grid | Quick Tip #12: Can You Drink the Water? | How to Manage Fire | How to Manage Your Expectations | How to Outsmart a Raccoon | Interpreting Body Messages | High Steppers | The Art of Mind Reading | Rarely Heard Sentences | The Good Side of Bad Reflexes | Think Healthy, Be Healthy | Quick Tip #13: Should You Be Lifting This?  | A System for Gambling | Remote Possibilities | Subjects You Should Not Bring Up with Your Wife | Supply and Demand | Things You Can Learn from Your Dog | What She Does Not Want | The Importance of Being Ignorant | The Handyman’s Prayer | About the Author | About the Illustrator | About the Photographer | Acknowledgements |


From the Hardcover edition.
Red Green|Author Desktop

About Red Green

Red Green - How To Do Everything
RED GREEN is the leader of Possum Lodge, Chapter 11, a northern Ontario eyesore. He is friendly, inventive, cheap and as honest as the day is long, which means he's the least honest on December 21. When he works on his handyman projects, Red is not stupid, he's impatient. So he uses duct tape to "buy time." Red Green is the star of The Red Green Show, which had first runs in Canada and the US from 1991 until 2006, making it the longest running live-action scripted comedy in the world. It continues to be enormously popular in reruns here and in the States. Red Green is the creation of Canadian comedian and writer Steve Smith.

Author Q&A

HOW TO GET A JOB
 
 
There may be times in your adult life when you are unemployed, occasionally through no fault of your own. But regardless of how you got yourself into that predicament, the only way out is to find yourself other employment. And to do that, you will probably need to have a successful job interview. Here’s how:
 
Overdress.
Show respect for the job by dressing a few levels above what you’ll be wearing if you get it. If you’ll be wearing coveralls, wear a suit. If you’ll be wearing a suit, wear a tuxedo. If you’ll be wearing a paper hat, wear a felt fedora. Give the impression that you are just slightly overqualified. Generally, the interviewer will put more stock in how you look than in what you say. Good thing.
 
Drop the bravado. Pretending you don’t need the job makes you look like an idiot. If you didn’t want the job, you wouldn’t be at the interview. So instead of focusing on the contempt you have for the position that’s being offered, try to present yourself as the best possible candidate, even though we all know it’s a crappy job.
 
Do a little grooming.
Get your hair washed and cut. If you don’t have hair, get a buff. Don’t wear any body ornaments that indicate an attitude—earring, nose ring, lip ring, nipple ring, mood ring. Cover up your tattoos, even if it means wearing a long-sleeved turtleneck sweater and a Tensor bandage around your forehead.
 
Keep your answers short.
The less you say, the better. Give pointed responses that directly answer the question. Don’t assume that the interviewer knows everything about you. Most criminal records are kept confidential.
 
Stay positive.
Try to say yes a lot during the interview. It’s what you want them to eventually say, so it’s good to set that trend. If your attitude is negative, they may reject you just to give you another thing to complain about.
 
Act like you already have the job.
If it’s a maintenance position, walk in with a wet plunger and tell the guy that you fixed the men’s room toilet on the way in. He’ll be impressed, even if he won’t shake hands.
 
Don’t dwell in the past.
Try to steer all of the questions towards the future—how you’re going to handle this new job, rather than how you mishandled the last six. If the interviewer keeps referring to difficulties you’ve had at previous jobs, make that an asset by pointing out that only somebody who’d gone through those problems would have learned from those mistakes. Focus on the worst mistake you’ve ever made and remind them that the charge was reduced to manslaughter.
 
Stay in the moment.
This interview is not really about how you’re going to perform in the job once you get it. Nobody really cares about that. It can’t be too important a job if they’re interviewing you for it. They just don’t want to hire anybody who’s really going to screw things up. As long as you’re prepared to do an average job, everybody will be happy enough. What really matters is the interviewer’s perception right now, at this moment. You may not be enjoying the interview process, but think of how they must feel about it. They have to interview thirty or forty candidates, most of whom are like you. They want the process to be over too. So just tell them exactly what they want to hear—that you’re capable, you’re available and you have enough pride to do the job at a satisfactory level, but not enough to ever be looking for any kind of promotion. Chances are they’ll hire you because they feel the same way about their job.



HOW TO TAKE BETTER PICTURES
 
 
There are good reasons why people very rarely look at pictures they’ve taken over the years. In some cases, they don’t want to be reminded that they use to weigh less than two hundred pounds and had hair, but the main reason is that the pictures were crappy to begin with. To avoid future disappointment with your albums, simply take better pictures.
 
Also, I bet that when you give anyone a photo you’ve taken, they either throw it away or put it in a drawer for a while and then throw it away. One of the ways to prevent that happening is to frame the photo first, but a cheaper solution is, again, just to take better pictures. Here’s how.
 
Use a camera. Not your phone. If your phone costs a hundred dollars, most of that is for the part that sends and receives calls. They didn’t secretly hide a thousand-dollar camera in there.
 
Use a good digital camera. The resolution is indicated by the size of the photo file the camera creates. Twelve megabytes is going to give you very detailed pictures. Two hundred kilobytes is going to look like you drew the picture with a tube of lipstick.
 
See the light. Here’s a shocker: when you look through the viewfinder, the brightest thing in the frame will be the brightest thing in the picture. So showing off Aunt Hazel’s tan by having her stand between you and the sun will not give you the best results. Make sure the thing you want to highlight is the thing that’s highly lit. That sure sounds like Aunt Hazel.
 
Put your glasses on. Even auto-focus can’t correct for you failing to get Aunt Hazel in the frame—or including the guy in the background making that insensitive hand gesture.
 
Take fewer pictures. I know, it’s the digital age and you can delete anything you don’t like, but that shouldn’t lower the bar. You’re way better off to take one good picture than a hundred bad ones. I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but if it’s a terrible picture most of those words will be obscenities.
 
Show people the picture from the camera monitor before you waste time and money printing it. Watch closely for their reaction. If anyone says, “What’s that thing?” I suggest you delete the photo.
 
Know your subject. People with big egos want to be the focal point of a picture. Make sure you position them in such a way that their body is blocking anything that might otherwise be of interest. Conversely, people with low self-esteem or a high body-fat index need to be photographed inconspicuously. Have them stand beside (or behind) a giant sequoia.
 
No posers. Take natural pictures. Only the best professional photographers are capable of getting people to pose in a way that doesn’t make them look like they’ve been immortalized by Madame Tussaud. Catch them smiling or laughing or even just staring off, wondering why they came to your party. There’s an honesty in a natural photo that far outweighs the insult they may feel.
 
Know which subjects to avoid. No matter how well you light, frame and focus, there are certain things that will ruin any picture. It’s generally a matter of using your common sense, but if that’s not one of your strong suits, here’s some subject matter to keep clear of: outhouses, drunks, pastel leisure suits, vomit, roadkill, septic trucks, animals fornicating, XXXL spandex, hairy-backed men, hairy-fronted women.
 
Do nothing. This is the best advice I can give. Take as many pictures as you want and then do nothing with them. Just leave them in the camera. If somebody wants one, great. You can print it off or, better still, email it to them and let them waste their own ink and ultra-premium glossy paper. If nobody wants one, that’s also an important message. When you run out of space on the camera, delete the pictures that don’t have you in them—and will the camera to a relative who has always ignored you.


From the Hardcover edition.

Praise | Awards

Praise

“When looking for wisdom on big questions, I turn to either the Bible or Red Green.
Ken Gallinger, Ethically Speaking columnist, Toronto Star

"[H]ilarious, satirical and smart. . . .Some of the advice--such as [Smith's] tips on surviving marriage--is wiser and more honest than anything you'll read in a real so-called self-help book."
The Globe and Mail

"Thankfully . . . Steve Smith is as crafty with words as he is with DIY home renovations."
Toronto Life

"For those suffering from Possum Lodge withdrawal--fear not, because Red's back and he's written the ultimate do-it-yourself and self-help manual all rolled into one."
— Canoe.ca

Awards

FINALIST 2011 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
Related Videos

On the Web


Red Green on his book, How To Do Everything.

Red Green fans know how to use duct tape. Here is a collection of "creative use of duct tape" photos submitted by Red's Facebook fans, set to a bizarre song from Harold.
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  • How To Do Everything by Red Green
  • September 06, 2011
  • Humor
  • Anchor Canada
  • $17.95
  • 9780385667753

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