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Life is hard and not knowing things makes it harder. Which is why we’re asking ourselves the hard questions. Learn from our mistakes and benefit from our knowledge. These are the tips and tricks you need, baby.

I’m afraid of fireworks. What should I do on July 4?

First off, I’m sorry you don’t have that joy in your life. Portable, easily available explosives are fun, but I get why they bum some people out.

There are really two options here. You can take a day off and hide. Curl up with a loved one or an animal or a pillow and spend the night watching movies very loudly and ignoring everything around you. Think of it as an extra long weekend to reset and relax. Book a spa treatment. Make your favorite food. Go to your favorite restaurant. This weekend isn’t about America, it’s about you. It’s not America’s birthday, it’s your birthday. Kind of.

The second option is leave. Pack up the truck or hop on the train and get the hell out of dodge. Rent a cabin in the middle of the woods and leave civilization behind. Unfortunately, you live in a city with one of the most robust annual fireworks displays, but fortunately, it’s easy to get out of here. Put yourself before America.

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I’m going to a party and I don’t have any patriotic / 4th of July gear. What should I wear?

Wear something that you can climb in. You may drink too much and think climbing a fence to sit on a Port-A-Pottie during fireworks is a good idea. This is something I witnessed friends do on July 4 in D.C.

Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty. Firework residue leaves marks.

Wear something that breathes. It’s going to be hot. It’s always hot on in D.C.

Wear a bathing suit. Bathing suits are only seasonally appropriate a few months a year. Take advantage of the season.

Do not wear flip flops. You’re going to walk a lot and you’re going to walk past people setting off fireworks and you may need to move quickly.

Wear whatever you want. This is actually not the best day to wear your stars and stripes three-piece suit. You don’t want to look like a tourist. Wear your stars and stripes three-piece suit on July 5. Ironic patriotism exists year round.

I’ve been invited to a BBQ but I’m not really friends with anyone going. Should I go? Should I bring something? What should I bring? 

First, yes, you should absolutely go. Someone has invited you because when they saw your cute little profile picture on Facebook they thought, “Hey! BLANK is fun. I’ll invite them!” They might not have been dying for you to come to their party, but they still thought you would have a positive effect on the merriment. Take that and run with it. The best parts about parties is that if it sucks, you can just leave. You’re an adult, you don’t need an excuse to do anything. That’s why being an adult rocks.

Second, evaluate. Read that Facebook invite. Is it asking you to bring anything? Is it ambiguous? If you’re not sure, go with a good mid tier bottle of booze. Everyone likes booze and you might just find a friend who has the same taste in whiskey / wine / beer as you. Now you’re talking about that whiskey / wine / beer and look, you’ve already made a new friend. If the invite is explicit that everyone bring a piece of real substantial food, then you’re going to want to reach out and ask what they need. Don’t mess around with guessing. No one wants to show up at a party with eight different salad options.

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I don’t eat meat. Should I spend July 4th hiding out and order pizza? Should I go out and starve?

Ordering delivery on July 4 is cruel. Thinking there aren’t vegetarian options or even vegan options at a party is silly. This is Washington, D.C.! It’s full of fellow bleeding heart liberals! My apartment has two grills, one for meat and one for vegan. And we are not uncommon! Hell, the best BBQ joint in this city serves a tofu sandwich. And it’s good!

Go the every party you can. Bring MorningStar to every party you can. Vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters love MorningStar. If you’re too good for MorningStar, a product available in most grocery store chains across the country, do not go to a party. Stay in and judge and skip joy.