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A number of experiments have revealed it does not take more than five seconds for someone to judge you when you meet for the first time, forming an opinion based on the way you look and behave. Take our advice: don’t be yourself or you’ll spoil it. Making a positive first impression means pretending to be someone you are not – civil, considerate and law-abiding. A smile is always a winner, along with a handful of promises and a positive approach. Do not despair if you flop badly though as supposedly it takes another twenty experiences for someone to change their initial belief. If you are not sure about your mannerisms, demeanor and language, let your house do the talking. Wow your guests by offering them an amusement ride through your brand new world but check first they hold onto the bars to ensure they survive falling off the horses. Do not worry if the experience seems surreal even to you. On the bright side, it’s better than real. It’s pretend.
Joy ride (the wheels on the car go round and round)
Inviting people to your newly-decorated house is intended to invite good luck. Still, it may be as frightening as ceremonial ship launching. What if a sacrificial bottle of champagne does not break? You can relax. Nation & Decoration assures you your guests will be so fascinated by your fancy driveway that they will hardly get their own name out of their mouth, let alone talk about serious stuff, which generally scares you to death. Here’s a quick tip: use sarcasm as a mask for your insecurity and a lack of knowledge in a particular field. If you have a bad sense of humor, forget about it, and help us help you by advertising our business and products, specially designed to withstand whatever wear and tear your driveway may see, including extreme temperatures, freeze-thaw cycles and extensive everyday activity.
Driveways tend to be unfairly perceived as nothing but concrete slabs. Big mistake! In our opinion, they need to play a big role in your home’s appearance and are crucial in image management which should by no means be a one-time thing, but rather an ongoing process. Let’s face it, your current image does not say much about you. Actually it says you are a stressed, unreliable, and dangerously arrogant and promiscuous jerk who has garnered plenty of attention for lambasting other people’s (presidents’) policies and actions. With a little help from our eminent designers, you will get a great-looking driveway that will boost the value of both your precious home and your not so precious self. In short, we will assist you in determining ways you could change to project a more positive first impression and/or control what others see, which will hopefully enhance your status and induce likeability in the long run.
The quality of flaunting your wealth invited hostility long before you came on the scene so don’t be surprised that your spending habits have become one of the most common topics of discussion in the media or elsewhere. Other people have it too, but not necessarily your talent. Imagine making a frugal car purchase or, even worse, not knowing what apartment buildings, hotels and aircraft to buy. Pathetic, isn’t it? Your willingness to invest in the driveway will show visitors you are a force to be reckoned with. Therefore, instead of spending your precious time on improving yourself, you ought to invest money you have in abundance in resurfacing your driveway (that is things such as decorative brick or cobblestone, block paving, gravel or decomposed granite). Keep in mind a well-designed driveway is supposed to provide a framework, whereas an extravagant car collection every billionaire needs to have in their possession will be more than enough to provide the content.
Although some people might think refinement and size are just about everything your land yachts have to offer, you should know better. You will be envied one way or the other. The bottom line is some like it hot, while others like it big and classy, obviously to compensate for their apparent smallness in other departments, but hey, at least you have the cars. Take our word for it – few people can resist sheer luxury and spaciousness. Besides, it’s not every day we see such beauties cruising down the road, let alone come face to face with them. To keep everyone’s mouth shut, show off your awe-inspiring collection of expensive cars, from the most obvious models such as Rolls Royce and Mercedes-Benz to the inevitable Ferrari, classic Cadillac, good old Chevy, stylish Lamborghini, and a beastly extravagant limo, all coming with some great stories. Do not forget to put the most incredible car you own on display, built to suit your needs and lifestyle, that is equipped with the James Bond-type safety advances (read: the ability to withstand small arms fire and small explosive devices).
While thinking of the ways to trick the Forbes list into showing your wealth has declined, make sure you have your coat of arms created and give some spare change to charity every now and then. The latter as a rule helps make a great impression and gain/keep a clear conscience. Come to think of it, the whole charity thing has made you pretty tired, right? Why don’t you board your private jet with leather seats for 43 passengers, 24-karat gold seat-belt buckles, TV screens, two bedrooms, and plenty of gold-trimmed details, fly to your super-luxury water villa in the Maldives and let your guests wonder – what’s with the gold obsession anyway?!
Guns n’ Roses (do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around)
You long for appreciation and like to be in the center of attention but fail to have a standing ovation due to the morals of a scam artist and the methods of a shyster. A guest-ready garden speaks volumes about your character so keep your mouth shut whenever possible and take your visitors out front. With a few tricks, you can achieve a more aesthetically appealing environment, in which it will be easier to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses. Mesmerized by your world of make-believe, your guests will gradually stop frowning even on your readiness to go to war to make a profit and boost your ratings, despite the fact you have never served in the military and are disrespectful to veterans. Our acknowledged experts will assist you by choosing comfy outdoor furniture that fits your garden style, as well as your personality. For one thing, you may want to consider investing in premium-quality pieces that are built to last: corner sofas, ottomans, sun umbrellas, a bar table, stools, BBQ, and even a small outdoor heater when evenings get cooler. One of the recent changes in interior design trends has been the use of curves and smooth edges as a way to get your way. Wooden furniture with its sophisticated natural look is always a smart choice. Luxurious teak is another great option, which, if properly maintained, could outlive your frivolous tweets while at the same time preventing your garden from becoming ‘a dumping ground for everyone else’s problems.’
Lanterns, sun-loungers, and national flags of friendly, rich countries are a trendy addition that could add a personal touch to your outdoor setting. You may need to steer clear of ‘extraordinarily low I.Q,’ ‘inferior intelligence of black people’ and ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now’ rhetoric when your guests ‘come from shithole countries’. To avoid the feeling of discomfort due to their refusal to stand for the National Anthem, the least you can do is ditch the Flags of our Fathers if you haven’t been able to stop seeing radical Islamic terrorists everywhere. Moreover, rumor has it you actually have to include Jews in your anti-Semitic ideology. Show your guests you can be the perfect host by (temporarily) getting rid of front and backyard fire pits, hate speech and attitude on border walls since they pose environmental hazards, along with a global change in thinking.
Garden ornaments have recently been welcomed back into the fashion. Hand-crafted stone statues of meditating frogs, cherubs on pedestal, gargoyles and dragons will satisfy everyone’s taste. Our professionals propose impressively powerful crouching griffins as gate keepers, that is guardians of the divine, suggesting you ‘abandon every hope, who enter here’. Bitumen sculptures that look like melting molasses are equally effective, accentuating never-ending transformations and transience while smartly concealing your love for tarring and feathering. Grotesque garden gnomes are gaining in popularity as well. Whether they pursue a leisurely pastime, fishing in a pool without fish and napping while the world is falling apart or wear executioners’ hoods and stab each other in the back, you have to admit they are adorable. However, as they are traditionally male, showing that sexual equality in the gnome world is only a pipe dream, don’t forget to hide them if you want ardent feminists off your back. Having a small garden pond is very modern nowadays too. Even though it might be a reminder you are a cast out of the duck pond, often teased for your own faults, make no mistake you are slowly turning into a narcissistic swan that will eventually be accepted among other animals and treated as an equal. Bear in mind at all times your guests’ attention needs to be kept so strongly on the water, luscious greenery, works of art and juicy Mexican gardeners and grilled meats that they find it impossible to look away. Under no circumstance are you to mention the past since they could realize the hollowness of the value system and remember better days easier than you think. Voter shortsightedness is your best card so do everything in your power to prevent even a mild degree of myopia from being corrected by disposing of glasses. If they start to question though, pour them another drink. When needed, turn to bribery for total memory erasure and lasting voter gratitude. It may be early for history, but it is never too late for historical revisionism.
Whatever you do, do not allow the house or garden to steal the show for they ought to give a grandiose view of your own appearance and emphasize your talents and aptitudes. No worries, other people’s pursuit of truth cannot and will not overshadow your relentless lies. You and you alone have weaponized nonsense that, thank god, never goes out of stock so they better see ‘the bigness of it all’. After all, you are the real Shady. All other Slim Shadys are just imitating.
I owe a big thanks to Bojana Stojcic for writing with me. If I wasn’t me, I’d like to be her. Until we do this again, I’ll be enjoying her dark but true verse, addictive commentaries and caustic sense of humor. If you want a taste but don’t know where to start, try her memories from war, Weber for parents, and a poem you shouldn’t miss.
© Basilike Pappa & Bojana Stojcic, 2019
Photography: Seph Lawless