The Writer’s How-To Guide

Gene Albamonte

Gene Albamonte

Heimlich Maneuver
You are having dinner and your wife is choking on a piece of osso buco—one of her favorite meals. She needs your help immediately. Follow these steps to help the choking victim:

  • – From behind, wrap your arms around the victim’s waist.
  • – Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim’s upper abdomen, below the ribcage and above the navel.
  • – Grasp your fist with your other hand and realize that your house could use a little cleaning. Start in the kitchen. Rinse the dirty dishes in the sink and place them into the dishwasher. Then wipe down the counters and stovetop. There’s nothing worse than a crusty stovetop!
  • – After the kitchen, begin cleaning the living room, followed by the dining room and bathroom(s). Could the bedrooms use a little cleaning?

Better go check.

* * *

It is nighttime, and you’re getting ready for bed. It has been a long day, hasn’t it? Well, don’t end it on a bad note: make sure you floss properly. Follow these easy steps:

  • – Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with.
  • – Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth.
  • – When you’re finished, take a look at your gums and teeth. Do they look good? Probably not. Repeat the procedure ten more times, just to be sure.
  • – Afterwards, step away from the mirror for a little while. When you return to the bathroom, take a closer look. Does it look like the gums could use a little more work? The answer to this question is yes, so floss again.
  • – Continue this process a few more times. Then ask a friend who also flosses to take a look at your gums. Chances are, he or she will find something you completely missed and yet is so obvious!

* * *

Stopping Nosebleeds
You’re at a funeral, giving a speech about your good friend who has passed on, when, all of a sudden, your nose starts bleeding. How embarrassing! Don’t panic. Follow these steps:

  • – Sit up straight and tip your head slightly forward.
  • – Use your thumb and forefinger to firmly pinch the soft part of your nose shut. Keep pinching for a full 10 minutes.
  • – Check to see if your nose is still bleeding after 10 minutes. It is, isn’t it? Okay, try again. Hold it for 10 more minutes.
  • – Stop pinching your nose. Why is it still bleeding? Try another 10 minutes. And another. How about now? Okay, try another 10 minutes.
  • – You know what, why even bother doing it at all anymore? You keep trying, but nothing happens. What are you doing wrong? Maybe you’re just not cut out to stop nosebleeds.
  • – Okay, time to get serious. Make a spreadsheet of all the times you’ve tried. When it doesn’t stop bleeding, mark it down as ‘Rejected.’ When it does stop bleeding, mark it as ‘accepted.’
  • – Christ, there’s a lot of ‘Rejected’ marks. That’s it. You’re not cut out for this. Best to just spend your time doing something that doesn’t cause such anguish.
  • – Quit. Just quit.
  • – Okay, try another 10 minutes. How about now?


Gene Albamonte graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing degree from the University of Central Florida. His fiction has appeared in Southern Indiana Review, Used Furniture Review, Clapboard House, and Fragmentation + Other Stories—a collection of short stories featuring Florida writers published by Burrow Press. He currently writes a weekly humor column for PANK Magazine’s blog (“Gallimaufry” column).


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