Every month, Esquire runs a feature called “Things I’ve Learned.” It’s answers from an interview with a celebrity about all sorts of things, from general things about their lives, love, business, etc.
I thought that I’d share some of the things that I have learned in my 37-plus years on this mortal coil.
• When it comes down to it, education isn’t about the classes you take or the degrees you earn. The most important things I’ve learned so far weren’t learned in school — they were from my dad and my mom. Pops taught me to persevere, to always finish what I start. He taught me the value of working hard, being generous and giving to others, and pretty much how to be a man. He taught me to fish, how to tie knots, catch and hit a baseball, to use a machete, make the best grilled cheese and the importance of knowing how to use tools. And so much more. My mother taught me the value of patience and perseverance, how to sew a basic stitch, the importance of family and how to love unconditionally. And so much more.
• You’re never really prepared for the death of a parent, whether it’s a protracted, slow fade or a sudden shock.
• Everyone should know how to change a tire. And keep jumper cables in their vehicle.
• Life isn’t fair. Neither is love.
• You don’t have to like your family members in order to love them. You don’t have to like your co-workers in order to do your job and get work done.
• Practice never really makes perfect. However, it does help significantly toward attaining that unreachable goal. Nobody is so good at anything that they can afford to not practice it.
• If you’re in a fight and can land just one, hard punch squarely on the nose of the person you’re fighting, you’re probably going to win that fight. Not only does a blow to the nose hurt like hell, but it also blurs your vision long enough that it’s almost impossible to consciously block following punches, which leads to a correspondingly higher probability that you’ll get beat up.
• It’s very cliché, but it’s very hard to beat a good day on the golf course. Also trite: A bad day of golf is better than a good day of almost anything else.
• Even the smartest of people are capable of doing the most stupid things.
• Words can hurt so much more, and cause so much more lasting and devastating damage, than an actual physical blow. Unless we’re talking about getting struck hard in the nuts; that’s pain. And if you’re a woman, don’t tell me about how much pregnancy hurts — I believe you and I’m glad it’s your burden to push 12-pounds, large-headed beings out of a small opening, rather than mine. But a hit to the balls still hurts bigtime.
• Serving your country, in the military or otherwise, is one of the greatest things an individual citizen can do. I’m thankful and grateful for those in the armed forces, and proud of the members of my family who have served, and those who continue to do so.
• I still really miss smoking. I don’t think that will ever change.
• There’s nothing like the hug of child.
• When people ask you for your advice about their current relationship, they’re almost never want to hear your honest opinion, especially if you don’t think they should be in it, or if the other person is a bitch/jerk. What they want to hear is something that will validate and reinforce their feelings.
• Homemade cookies, fresh out of the oven, are the best cookies in the world. And the smell is hard to beat. I love them — peanut butter, sugar, chocolate chip, ginger snaps, oatmeal and raisin. How come no one has sent me any? My snail mail address is on the sidebar! All homemade cookies welcome! Heh.
• Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if you did your best. But, usually, it really does.
• I will always be a large, fat guy. I can’t see myself as rail-thin (my neck would snap from the weight of my head), or even toned and muscularly athletic. However, I can — and WILL — weigh less and be in better shape.
• If you don’t impose expectations on others — warranted or unwarranted — they can’t let you down. That being said, be prepared to be disappointed. Often.
• Sometimes, the worst things happen to the best people. Sometimes, the best things happen to the worst people. And, sometimes, both good and bad people get exactly what they deserve.
• You can’t get what you want by waiting for it to happen. You have to take the initiative and put in the energy and work required. Unless we’re talking about the lottery. And, even then, you can’t hit the jackpot if you don’t buy a ticket.
Editor’s note: Just because I’ve learned these things doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t act in a manner contrary to the lesson. That’s what being human is all about.
Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• Guam's white sand beaches are, primarily, the product of one thing — parrot fish shit. Parrot fish eat coral, and when they've completed digesting their meals, they defecate sand.