Latest 3 Things

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

38 Things

I started out with the best of intentions on a third year of THREE THINGS, I really did.  But as it’s want to do, life sometimes has different things in mind and an unintentional sabbatical was born.  As time wore on, I looked to the seminal pieces from the previous years as places to measure my interest in restarting, and while a number of holidays passed without inspiration, the annual anniversary of my arrival on this planet – which had previously used to list and share the lessons I had learned up until that day – loomed large.  Because for the great many things that seemed to inadvertently go on hold, the one thing that didn’t was the discrete learning process that has marked much of my adult life.  A young life spent training in mathematics did not leave with me any remarkable skill in doing arithmetic in my head (though it seems everyone wants this to be the case), but rather, a penchant for reducing inductive discoveries into rules.  In this form, they take on a utility, both to me and to others.  In this form they can be tested and tried – and most importantly, passed on.  And so, in the interests of doing something to celebrate 38 years spent breathing, here are 38 things I’ve learned:

  1. The answer to the problem of people not reading enough is not to give them dumber things to read: it’s to make them smart enough to read the things that are already written (are you listening Stephanie Meyer?)
  2. Each decade of one's life has a different most valuable commodity.  The first four (in order) have been: my toys, my friends, my lovers, and my time.  I have a strong suspicion that my next one will be my health.
  3. There is no more universal regret, when looking back on one’s youth, than what we wore.
  4. I’ve decided that it makes more sense to hate individual athletes than whole teams: so my sports hates are now Alex Rodriguez, Chris Bosch and everyone that plays for Notre Dame.
  5. Three things that women are universally bad at judging: what constitutes a good movie, how long they can wear their shoes without pain, and how attractive their friends are.  
  6. Forty is only the new thirty for men.  For women, forty is the new sixty.  But hey, you didn’t have to buy your own drinks for twenty years so shut up.    
  7. If the success of Mad Men, Robert Downey Jr., and Fifty Shades of Grey has taught us anything, it’s that, appropriate or not, we still love some man in our men.
  8. After military school, everything else seems leisurely-paced.  Including the law?  Especially the law.
  9. There is a name for clubs where you spend extravagantly to watch pretty girls dance on top of things and pretend they like you, and it’s not dance clubs, ultra lounges or country bars.  
  10. If you’ve got a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, and you’re out without them, if your first sentence to a stranger doesn’t work that word into it somehow, you’re a piece of shit.
  11. No, I do not want to teach you how to dance.  I’m 38, I need you to already know how.  Do you want to teach me how to talk to girls?
  12. Eye contact three times is the universal signal for “come talk to me.”  Making eye contact three times and then being an ass is the universal signal for “you’re going to die alone.”
  13. The color of the President’s skin is a terrible and ridiculous reason not to trust him.  The idiots he’s surrounded himself with works much better.  
  14. The ability of gay marriage to impact the moral fiber of society is somewhere just below that of the new season of Jersey Shore.
  15. If you can’t flex it, it’s fat.  
  16. The two least attractive words you can say to a woman at 38: “My boss.”
  17. Real Women don’t have curves, Real Women have a sweat suit they actually sweat in, and yoga pants that they… well, you get it from here.
  18. The more you started with, the less I respect what you’ve got.  
  19. The three movies that your failure to have ever seen are justifiable grounds for me to stop talking to you immediately are: Star Wars, Top Gun & The Breakfast Club.  Because there’s simply no chance that you’ll get me otherwise.
  20. The more technology we devote to making something “easier”, the harder it gets.  Case-in-point: communicating, knowing what’s going on in the world, and dating.
  21. Justin Bieber turned out to be worse than N’Sync.  By a lot.  
  22. The worst of us are vastly more entertaining than the best of us.  This is probably because one reminds us how good we are, and the other how terribly average.
  23. The great tragedy of religion is that, given the ultimate gift of the ability to look forward and perceive our future, we keep looking backwards to find something to believe in.  
  24. I would rather spend time with the Manson family than the Kardashian family.  
  25. There is always another train coming.
  26. Be wary of any place where you get the same advice for success as you get in prison (e.g, keep your head down, do your time, keep an eye out in the shower, etc.)  This is especially true for jobs
  27. Best friends come from the most unexpected places.  Of my four best friends, none of them are lawyers, only one has a degree, two of them are cheerleaders, three of them are hairier than me, and all four are better friends than I deserve.
  28. Though actual feral children are quite rare, you can closely approximate the experience at any local Wal-Mart.
  29. The great success of modern fashion is that we have finally convinced idiots to label themselves.
  30. There is nothing more terrifying or more satisfying than going out on your own, doing it your own way, and working without a safety net.
  31. People suck.  This is both cause for despair and a reason to truly appreciate those precious few people you know that don’t. 
  32. The greatest modern civic failure is traffic; a system that, after nearly 100 years, is still completely controlled by the dumbest person in line.
  33. Making someone feel stupid isn’t abuse, it’s motivation for them to get smarter. 
  34. The absence of a good ass-kicking from the vast majority of modern childhoods isn’t progress, it’s tragic.
  35. No matter how much better, higher-resolution, three-dimensional or otherwise awesome they make it, nothing will make me happier to see on a TV screen than Super Mario Brothers.  
  36. I’m not scared of marriage – I’m scared of divorce; which is governed by laws based largely on the 1950's.      
  37. The only really good gamble to make is on yourself.  Everything else is just luck and wishful thinking.
  38. I would rather fail spectacularly attempting some great thing than succeed at doing something average.

Here’s to a 39th year attempting great things.  Come what may.