Adding to my “40 Lessons I’ve Learned in Life,” here are another 40 lessons I’ve learned:
1. Never pee on a fire. Never, ever, under any circumstances. The smell is ungodly beyond description, you will be trapped in it while you are peeing, and the yellow cloud produced will blight everything in its path as it moves across the landscape. Don’t even think about doing this. It is not funny. Seriously.
2. Men and women were actually destined for different planets when the shipping papers got mixed up and we both wound up here together. We have been trying to make the best of this error ever since.
3. If you are driving the wrong way up a one-way street and a car full of cops is watching you do it, quickly roll down the window and shout out to them, “I am going the wrong way!” Such admissions of obvious wrong-doing go a long way with police. Don’t say, “But, officer, I was only going one way!”
4. Bike with traffic, walk against it. Wear light colors after dark. Don’t use only your front brake.
5. Light blue cars incite birds to poop on them. They must think they are small ponds. Red is the only color for a car, anyway. Or so a former girlfriend once said. Sounds right to me.
6. If you want it to rain, wash your car. Or cut your grass. If it is a torrential downpour you want, wash your car and cut your grass.
7. It is good to make an effort to wash my car at least once a year, whether it needs it or not. We could use the rain.
8. Whether you think you can do something or you think you can’t, you are probably right.
9. When lost in the wilderness, telephone poles indicate a road. It might not be the right road, but it likely will be a road.
10. Never live with two other roommates. Two will gang up on the third, and it is likely to be you. Go for one or three roommates or, better, don’t have any roommates at all.
11. Whenever someone says, “Don’t worry, no problem!” begin to worry and rest assured that there will be a problem, most likely a large one.
12. The more verbally agreeable someone is to an idea the less likely they will support it in practice.
13. There is no such thing as “very unique,” “quite unique,” “somewhat unique,” or any other kind of unique, except unique. If something is unique, it is unique. Leave the modifiers be.
14. The less you want to get to a place, the faster you will get there.
15. Most parents do the best they can do. Some just do better than others.
16. Young people need to train their parents starting at an early age or wind up living with the consequences the rest of their lives.
17. Time equals money, money equals time. No one has all the time, or all the money, in the world.
18. The second half of whatever will always go faster than the first, unless it is something you want to be over with. Then it will seem as if your watch has stopped.
19. Do not serve wine and rich food for lunch at a technical conference. You’ll see why not if you do.
20. A watched clock never boils. Or something like that.
21. Never do today that which can just as easily be put off until tomorrow. All things in their time.
22. Only burn a bridge when you get to it (corollary to the previous lesson). You might never get there.
23. Speed does not kill. If it did, we’d all be dead. Running into things kills.
24. Falling a thousand meters will not hurt you. The last centimeter will, though. Small details count.
25. Do not say mean things behind someone’s back nor compliment them to their face. Well, maybe sometimes.
26. You cannot reach the end of a rainbow, nor is there a pot of gold there. It is an optical illusion. Trust me on this. I’ve actually tried it, though it wasn’t my idea.
27. If you don’t know where you are going, any path will get you there.
28. You can’t be two places at once, especially when you are really nowhere at all.
29. We are the people our parents warned us about. Really.
30. It is usually easier not to make a mess in the first place than to clean it up.
31. ‘Tis better to have lived, or loved, than never to have lived, or loved, at all. But sometimes it sure hurts like hell.
32. Believe what people do, not what they say.
33. You should use reason and kindness to persuade people, but sometimes you have to hit them across the eyes first to get their attention.
34. Waiting for Godot, he never gets off the goddamned train.
35. Better to make things happen on one’s own than to wait for others to act. Though sometimes you have to, anyway.
36. Sometimes one must be dependent on the kindness of strangers, and in those circumstances it does no good to fight it but just accept it and be grateful. Return the favor when you get a chance.
37. With a suspicious stranger in the car, drive fast enough so that they know if they try anything they will die, too. It’s called deterrence or mutually assured destruction.
38. Try not to make the same bone-headed mistakes more than once or twice. Good luck with that one.
39. Perfect geometric symmetry is the death of many a well intentioned diet.
40. Life is short. The time is now. Just do it.
And another bonus lesson:
41. Sometimes thinking of life’s lessons is a good excuse not to do anything meaningful.
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