'The Oldest Trick In The Blog' Gloriously Skewers Classic Life Tricks, Because Saying "Cheese" Never Makes You Look Like You're Smiling In Photos
“If you get nervous speaking in public, picture the audience in their underwear.” “Laugh before you take a photo so you'll have a natural smile.” “Never go to bed angry.” We've all heard these pieces of common advice countless times, and often, they're what everyone calls “the oldest tricks in the book.” But isn't that kind of… well, weird? Who came up with these “tricks,” and why does that mean we have to follow them, anyway? Luckily, there's something out there for those of us who question the authority of this mythical book: The Instagram account and website the Oldest Trick in the Blog. Created by Toronto-based graphic designer Kyle Howard, the Oldest Trick in the Blog skewers classic life tricks — and it is absolutely glorious.
Howard tells Bustle via email that he's a “big comedy nerd” with a weak spot for novelty Twitter accounts, funny blogs, and chuckle-worthy Instagram feeds. After a few no-quite-successful attempts at hopping on the Internet humor bandwagon himself, though, he eventually hit proverbial pay dirt during a long car ride with his wife, who's also a designer, and a close friend, who's a copywriter. “One of us mentioned something and said it was the 'oldest trick in the book,'” Howard says. “It was like a light bulb went off. 'Where do we find this trick book? Does this book even exist? Why do we always reference a book that isn't real? Let's make it real.' A couple years of procrastination and overthinking later, [and] you have the Oldest Trick in the Blog.”
Some of the entries in the Oldest Trick in the Blog send up actual “tricks,” both ones that work in practice:
And ones that might not:
(I don't know about you, but every hotel and resort website I've seen recently stipulates that you have to show your marriage license in order to qualify for an upgrade — probably because of people gaming the system early on. We have only ourselves to blame.)
While others take the familiar format of an old trick and offer advice that no one should ever, ever follow:
(Don't do that, you guys. I mean it. Laugh about it all you want, though, because it's hilarious.)
Howard is careful to note that they're less “life hacks” and more life tricks that pop up again and again and again. The upshot, though, is that coming up with the actual tricks for the Oldest Trick in the Blog isn't the difficult part (although he says it's getting harder now, since he's been at it for so long); since they're all mostly “old classics” — that is, pieces of common advice that have been floating around practically forever — he just has to “pick a topic and remember them.” Coming up with the copy below the tricks, however? That's the key. “I get up before work every morning and sit down to write something that I think will put a smile on someone's face,” says Howard (“work” being Shopify, where he's a designer). He adds, “Brevity is essential, so I spend lots of time trimming the fat once I come up with an angle. I spend way too much time on it, but it's really fun.”
It's really fun to read, too. I actually laughed out loud while scrolling through the Instagram feed, and I do mean “out loud” — my cats now think I'm a maniac. Here are what I find to be the 10 most — well, maybe "useful" is the wrong word, but you get what I mean — pieces of advice from the Oldest Trick in the Blog. Head on over to the OTITB website and Instagram feed for more, and don't forget to check out Kyle Howard's website while you're at it.
1. To Take A Smiling Photo:
Cheese is love. Cheese is life.
2. To Escape A Bad Date:
Batman needs days off, too.
3. To Improve Your Punctuality:
Unless we're talking about "worms and dirt," aka chocolate pudding with Oreos and gummy worms. That might OK, then.
4. To Sneakily Discover Someone's Name:
In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream because you forgot an important person's name.
5. To Improve Your Bathroom Etiquette:
Because apparently we still haven't squared with the fact that everyone poops yet.
6. To Protect Your Home While You're Away:
Kevin McCallister is far more effective than any timer or burglar alarm.
7. To Cover Your Ass If You Forget To Email Someone Back:
Don't forget to use fancy corporate-speak while you're at it.
8. To Cover Your Ass If You Forget To Hand A Project In On Time:
Of course it will work on your boss. Why wouldn't it?
9. To Cover Your Ass Literally:
Life pro tip, everyone.
10. To Make The Most Out Of Life:
This. Yes. Do it.
Images: Courtesy of @oldest_trick/Instagram (13)