For those of you that don’t know, your intrepid reporter turned a very young thirty six this past weekend, and as I’m known to do, I’m taking the occasion to memorialize the event in writing. Previously, I’ve set down observations on what each age is like - as a warning to those younger and as a opportunity to reminisce for those a few years ahead. But this year I’ve realized that there a great many things that I have learned in the intervening three and one half decades (give or take a year) - some the easy way, and most the hard way, but all valuable lessons nonetheless. So, THREE THINGS is expanding for just one week - for a little bit longer of a journey which I hope you’ll join me on - so that I can bring to you 36 Things I’ve Learned in 36 Years:
1. It’s not all about you. No, seriously, it’s not.
2. In 2010, there is never a good reason to drive a Trans-Am. Prior to 2010, there was only one good reason, and since you’re not Smokey and/or the Bandit, it doesn’t apply to you.
3. I don’t know what the official costume of apathy is, but I know that Crocs are the shoes involved.
4. A good haircut is worth the money.
5. It’s o.k. to not care what anyone thinks, it’s not o.k. to not care what everyone thinks.
6. The youngest generation is the least prepared in the history of society, and it’s not their fault, it’s ours.
7. Deep down, all organized religions require belief in at least one completely absurd thing.
8. Just because a story didn’t really happen doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value - Aesop knew this... or did you really think that he observed a rabbit and a turtle in a foot-race?
9. For men, there is a time and place to wear white tube socks and sneakers, the time is when you’re exercising and the place is the gym.
10. We don’t appreciate the military enough.
11. There is no such thing as gender equality, and there never will be.
12. The clothes don’t make the man, the man does. This is equally true for Armani suits and “TapOut” t-shirts.
13. The clothes can, however, break the man.
14. You’re not pulling off that facial hair as well as you think.
15. Ladies, men are like a Rubik’s cube with only one color, if you can’t figure us out, you’re just not trying.
16. The only jewelry a man should wear is one ring (class, wedding, championship, etc.) and a watch. Unless you’re Flava-Flav, whatever you’ve got around your neck makes you look ridiculous - actually, that’s also true if you’re Flava- Flav.
17. Reading any of the Twilight books is worse for your brain than not reading at all. Stephanie Meyer is “saving” literacy like Justin Bieber is “saving” music.
18. Everything for sale at nightclub is overpriced. Additionally, everything you see at a nightclub is for sale.
19. The amount of money one spends on making one’s car “louder” is inversely proportional to one’s value to society.
20. Music will never be as much fun as it was in the 80’s. Nor will movies. That being said, nothing else from that decade should be salvaged or remembered fondly (especially the clothing and hairstyles).
21. No one under the age of 20 has any “insight” to offer on anything.
22. The work you do for the people who work for you is infinitely more important than the work you do for the people you work for.
23. Los Angeles is a city designed to make you feel like you’re not cool enough; San Francisco is a city designed to make you feel not unique enough. Both are wrong; you’re better off in Fresno.
24. High school never ends.
25. The douchebag era is not over, in fact, it’s still very much in full swing. Don’t believe me? Check out the crowd at the next Mixed Martial Arts event.
26. The greatest tragedy of modern technology is not that it’s failed to bring us closer together, it’s that we’ve finally put the whole of the world’s knowledge literally at our fingertips, and we use it to watch porn and lo-res nut-shot videos. The second greatest is Microsoft.
27. Smiling almost always makes it better (unless you’re underwater - then stick with grinning).
28. No matter what they tell you, vegetarians are truly missing out... and they know it.
29. It is easier to explain quantum physics than the fame of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. And, as it turns out, much less depressing.
30. The greatest threat to our survival as a society is not Fox News, Oprah or special interest groups (although all good candidates); it’s bad parents.
31. (A blast from the past) To my mind, the only true happiness is in the connections, and the unearthing of like minds and commiserating souls. There is only true happiness in love, empathy, sacrifice, in the grace of unselfish generosity, and in forgiveness.
32. Most people are dumber than you think - don't worry, they’re also the ones that can’t read this far down anything that isn’t a menu.
33. There are precious few truly blissful things remaining in this world, and country dancing is one of them.
34. At 36, the two least attractive words you can say to a woman are “my apartment.”
35. If you can’t be smart, be cute; and if you can’t be cute, be funny (this also explains why I’m always telling jokes).
And finally, one I keep learning over and over again:
36. It’s never, ever too late to change.
Thanks for coming along - and I hope you learned something, confirmed something, or at least had a good laugh at my expense. It's a been a brilliant 36 years - here’s to learning at least one new thing before 37.