It’s no secret that Larry David — or at least the fictional version of Larry David presented in Curb Your Enthusiasm — is pretty, pretty, pretty bad at being chill when he needs to be. That’s why we love him. Who else would take people to task for minor infractions such as not picking up after one’s dog or messing with the cashew to raisin ratio in trail mix (what the hell were you thinking, David Schwimmer’s dad?). But while David represents all of the things we wish we could say to people who wantonly refuse to follow the minute rules that keep civilization functioning, there’s no way we could be like him in real life if we also intended to avoid stress heart attacks and attacks-by-strangers. So instead of following Larry David toward your certain doom, we’ve taken some of his most iconic fights from Curb Your Enthusiasm (which you can stream on HBO Now) and analyzed them to give you an idea of how to deal with them in real life.
So You Accidentally Broke An Acquaintance’s Glasses
How Larry handled it: In the second episode of season seven, David runs into his former neighbor, who he doesn’t recognize (or like) and compensates for it by hugging him so hard that he crushes the dude’s glasses with the herculean force of pretending to like him so no one catches feelings. But when the guy demands that Larry replace the glasses, David threatens to take the invoice he’s gonna get, tear it up into little pieces and pee all over them. When that doesn’t work, he calls the guy a moron and lets him know that he hates him and his dumb glasses. Fair.
How you should handle it: First, never hug. Especially when it’s someone you don’t recognize or someone you dislike. Instead, say hello politely, shake hands and then try to get out of there immediately. Pretend to use the bathroom or something, because no one’s going to question you about that.
If you do hug someone and you have broken something on the person’s body, you can deal with it in one of several ways: Apologize and then quickly wander off before they have a chance to process it, offer to pay for the damages (usually the offer is enough and no one will actually force you to), or gently agree that you’ll accept the invoice that they plan to send, then just don’t pay it.
And if it’s someone you already don’t like, their being angry with you shouldn’t be too much of a personal hardship. Just make sure to avoid them next time you see them. Let them seethe at your existence, they’ve earned that right.
You’ve Hired A Friend’s Significant Other And They’re Kind Of Awful
How Larry handled it: In season six, Larry hired his best pal Richard Lewis’ girlfriend for a receptionist job in his office. Unfortunately, Cha Cha (played by Tia Carrere) is very annoying (she always wants to talk after he leaves the bathroom!), and he kind of-sort of mentions it to Lewis. Of course, this leads to a fight in which Larry and Richard argue about who’s got the better-looking colon because that’s just what adults do. Hurt feelings all around and still no colon beauty pageant.
How you should handle it: If you’re going to get a friend’s significant other a job — don’t. Especially if you don’t know them that well. If you must help (and it happens), try to get them a job in a department that’s further away from you or help them make a connection with someone in a different office. Not only does this absolve you of responsibility, but it also stops awkward situations from happening if your friend and their significant other break up. It’s just common sense.
Your Pants Make It Look Like You Have A Hard-On When You Do Not
How Larry Handled it: In the very first episode of the show, Larry found that a pair of pants he owns were badly manufactured (unless they were advertised that way, because you never know what people like) and make it look like he has an erection when he doesn’t. Later he goes to the movie with his then-wife’s friend in the same pants and she thinks he’s got a thing for her. The awkwardness that ensues is so nail-biting that some people might have even stopped watching the show after watching Larry trying to talk his way out of this one.
How You Should Handle It: Don’t buy pants that make it look like you have a boner unless it’s what you’re specifically looking for. Try to sit down when you’re trying them on — that’s what that little seat/butt shelf is for. If you buy the pants and discover the problem later, return them. Or just wear them around the house and not in public. It’s your life, but here’s an important word of advice: there are lots of pants out there. You’ll find a pair just as comfortable and won’t have to explain how you don’t have a boner.
A Child Invites You To Permanently Alter The Appearance Of Their Favorite Plaything
How Larry handled it: Poorly. When a guy Larry’s trying to impress invites him to a party, Larry tries to make a good impression by helping the guy’s daughter out with a haircut for her special doll. Of course the result is disastrous and Larry has to steal a doll head from the child of his friend to replace the one he messed up, just so he can get his show on the air. Worse, even after Larry fixes the damn thing, he gets accused of being a pedophile because the kid gives him a hug while he’s got a bottle of water hidden in his pants (long story, don’t ask).
How you should handle it: Recognize that most small children have no idea what permanence is and are therefore fickle little monsters who will want things to go back to the way they were ten seconds after a change has occurred. Also, recognize that the parent of a child who is not your own will always appreciate you saying no and then inviting them to join the discussion before doing anything that might change their opinion of you. To you, a doll with a bad haircut might be a passing moment of annoyance. To a child who has just had their favorite thing in the world (for today) altered, it is an existential crisis. Just wait until they’re at least 14 before helping them with something like this.
When You Suspect Someone Is Well-Endowed In A Certain Area
How Larry handled it: If you’re a fan of the show, you know we’re talking about the Lisa episode. While Larry’s accusations (you have to watch this episode, seriously) weren’t unfounded, he got into a lot of trouble for discussing the anatomical dimensions of other people in mixed company.
How you should handle it: Never say anything ever. That’s it. There’s no other way.
When Michael J. Fox Is Your Upstairs Neighbor And You Believe He’s Doing Horrible Things To You And Blaming It On Parkinson’s
How Larry handled it: When Larry decided that Michael J. Fox, the beloved star of Back to the Future and Life With Mikey was punishing him for a perceived slight by using his Parkinson’s as a way to explain away all the horrible stomping and shaking of cans he was doing, he didn’t hold anything back. For this, he was reviled by his neighbors and eventually had to leave the city. That’s right: he had to leave an actual city. Don’t let this happen to you!
How you should handle it: First of all, resign yourself to the fact that some people are dicks even if they’re beloved by others (we both know there’s someone in your personal life whose appeal you just don’t understand) and recognize that you are powerless to stop it. You can hope that someday the truth will be exposed, or you can let it go. Under no circumstances, however, should you be the one to try and expose them for the villain they truly are. Especially if they are living with a debilitating illness/are going through ostensibly rough times that can be easily turned around to make it look like you’re a massive jerk.
The best way to deal with such a thing — if it’s a neighbor or co-worker — is to document instances of wrongdoing that you can then share with some large governing body very privately and without the need for recognition. But that’d be weird if it was a friend or a friend-of-a-friend, right? It might just be easier if you try to remember that some people just want to watch the world burn and you want to have no part in it. No doctor’s ever going to prescribe you enough Xanax to deal with all the stress this is causing, so move and hope for the best.