Latest 3 Things

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

44 Things

So… nine years ago, the world was a different place, and I was a different man.  My career has gone from nascent to mature, and I have long since passed the point where I might be considered “promising” (and even farther past “young”).  My classmates and colleagues have gone from marking their lives with marriages and children to marking them extraordinary offices and professional accomplishments.  What middle age has taken from my joints, it has delivered back to me ten-fold in maturity, professional competence and wisdom.  And so, once again, I mark my annual trip around the sun with a list of lessons learned over the past year.  As usual, there is as much gravity as levity, because it is the balance of those two great forces that I have always aspired to – and in my better moments, achieved.  By any reasonable measure, I have certainly cleared the halfway point of this run.  After all, I have made enough bad decisions to make nine decades more of a wish than something to reasonably prepare for.  Nevertheless, the back nine is always more fun than the front, and the ride home is always delightfully (and magically) shorter than the ride out.  

So, with that in mind, sit back and enjoy, forty four lessons I’ve learned:

  1. The grand omission of our parents was that despite the extraordinary betrayals visited upon us by our bodies, our minds never feel any older.
  2. Average intelligence is way dumber than you think.  Reminders available daily at Wal-Mart.
  3. My atheism has taught me the importance of religion to everyone else.  It doesn’t make it make any more sense, but it does help me explain mine to the faithful.
  4. My hedonism has been replaced by a carefully tuned analysis of the enjoyment-to-hassle ratio of any prospective event.  This always rules out outdoor music festivals.
  5. Once and for all: talking to God is faith.  God talking back is mental illness.  
  6. Science tell us that you need less sleep as you get older.  Who the fuck is science talking to?
  7. The worst part of modern society is that, despite how it looks, no one is kidding.
  8. The best part of being forty or older is that our teenage years are not permanently memorialized in a searchable worldwide database.
  9. Maturity is the moment you contemplate your next car not being faster than your current one – but you do search the word “heated seats” on the dealer’s website.  
  10. There is nothing more cowardly than ad hominem attacks anywhere but directly in front of who you’re insulting.  
  11. I stopped watching scary movies, because they don’t scare me.  That’s what CNN is for.
  12. No matter how much I learn every year, the thought of all the things I’ll die not knowing is profoundly depressing.  But it does chase me back to Amazon, every time, to buy a book.
  13. If I had my smartphone in one hand and the balance of my physical possessions in the other, and could only save one… man, I’m gonna miss some of those suits.
  14. Of all the evils I’ve studied, by far the most baffling and terrifying is anti-intellectualism.
  15. Looking back, the vast majority of my professional and academic decisions have been made in the pursuit of avoiding interacting with dumb people – and it’s been a dramatic failure.
  16. The Internet has concurrently invested people with the notion that they can do law and medicine on their own, but that it makes perfect sense for someone to do your grocery shopping for you.
  17. In all candor, I simply do not understand the butt implant thing.  Not even a little.
  18. Of all my delights, schadenfreude is the one of which I am most ashamed as well as the one I have the least control over.   
  19. My father’s generation got to watch their pants get looser and looser as they got older. At this rate, I’ll be doing squats into my 70s just to wear an up-to-date suit.  
  20. If I have to go back to my tailor one more time to “taper” my dress pants, they’ll officially be leggings.
  21. Unless you’re in the military or a professional athlete, your hat looks ridiculous.  
  22. Family is vital for life.  However, family and consanguinity are wholly different things.  
  23. Privacy is the new wealth.  
  24. Conspiracy theories are for idiots.  Yes, all of them.
  25. Routine and habit are the fast-forward buttons of life.  I swear I was 37, like, 2 years ago.
  26. It’s better to move in the wrong direction than not to move at all.  This is especially true if you’re in front of me in traffic.
  27. Everyone who claims there is no such thing as an objective truth is trying to sell you a lie.  Everyone.
  28. The cost-benefit analysis of fast food consumption can only produce a favorable result if you exclude the gastrointestinal costs.  
  29. What corporate America knows about my generation: repackage our favorite childhood things, and we will buy them again.  Right, Star Wars, Karate Kid, Top Gun, Transformers, etc.?
  30. Having friends is overrated, having a best friend is underrated.
  31. What millennials are doing to our language is like payback for what our generations did to their planet, government, schools system, etc. … so, fair enough, bae.  
  32. There is not a more ironic phrase than “Facebook is for old people.” Go ahead… try.  
  33. We are all fantastically more gullible than we think.  No, seriously, we are.  
  34. No one reads the things they sign themselves.  I’ve been a contracts lawyer for 13 years, and I pay someone else to read the ones I’m signing.
  35. Collaboration is the new innovation.  No great advancement will ever come from an “individual” again.  Forget your solo act.  Find a band.
  36. Even after all my education and (attempted) sophistication, I still truly believe the world would be a better place if there more fistfights.  
  37. Texas is a great place.  However, Texas public schools, and their curriculum is most insidious and terrible thing I’ve ever even heard of – and I watch documentaries for fun.
  38. Our vanities will certainly be the end of us.  But, damn, we look good sometimes.  
  39. You can keep your fitness forever, but at a certain point, if you lose it – it’s gone for good.  Keep moving.
  40. The world’s most valuable skill is sales.  Everything else is derivative.
  41. Being famous must really be amazing.  Even with all the terrible ways in which celebrities die, no one is deterred.  No one.
  42. Boy, that Bieber kid really grew into a full-sized asshole, huh?
  43. Selling one’s soul has turned out to be far more common and pay much better (or worse, depending on your superstition) than we expected, right?
  44. A life not shared is a life not lived.  Solitude is easy and cowardly.  Open your heart, and you never know who will wander in.  

See you for 45, kids.


Louis Burklow said...

Great list, Glenn. Especially so for 2, 4, 12, 18, 24 and 33. As for 14, it's as American as apple pie. Our parents wanted us to get an education and be smart but neglected to tell us how much of a hassle that can be. Happy birthday!

Unknown said...

Good stuff buddy!

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