Thursday, April 18, 2024

20 Years: 50 Things I've Learned


This year marks my 20th year as a professional writer. Over the course of 2024, I'll be sharing a few of those offerings you may have missed along the way.

When I turned 50 a few (cough) years ago, I was asked to write a piece for Shore Magazine about what I'd learned in those 50 years.

I just re-read this piece and I stand by all of it.

50 Things I have learned in 50 years

1. The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but everyone still hates the squeaky wheel.  Everyone.

2. Never trust a grown man who doesn’t cry at the end of “Field of Dreams”

3. When your kids ask for your permission, they’ve almost certainly already asked and received a “no” from your spouse.

4. People who claim they don’t lie, are in fact, lying.

5. The whole town is NOT talking about the Webb boys.

6. If you use the word “sincere”, you aren’t.

7. If someone says “that’s a fact” it means “I hope you don’t look it up”.

8. A mechanic’s eyes turn into cartoon cash registers when you try to explain a knock in the engine.

9. Sedentary people may not be as healthy as exercise junkies, but they almost never need knee replacements.

10. Never trust anyone older than thirty…to fix your computer.

11. If you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, don’t ever buy a house with a long driveway.

12. Make friends with the high school mathletes. They will eventually be hiring.

13. If you roll your eyes when your spouse tells a joke or story, you are ruining the moment for everyone in the room. 

14. “Self-Help Seminar” is an oxymoron.

15. When someone tells you to do things that scare you, they don’t mean do EVERYTHING that scares you. There is no good reason to wing-walk.

16. Punching the car radio when you hear the “Kars for Kids” commercial may turn off the jingle momentarily, but it cannot kill it.

17. “Oh Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind” is impossible to read without singing.

18. He who laughs at himself gets the most laughs.

19. The Do-It-Yourself crowd always eventually creates more business for the Do-it-For-You occupations.

20. Remember that even though the person tailgating you is enraged, you are giving the people he or she is rushing to meet five or six extra seconds to relax.

21. NEVER use the word “fetch” when asking your spouse to get you something.

22. No man has ever satisfactorily loaded a dishwasher.

23. If you think of a joke about someone’s name, resist the temptation. They have heard that joke a thousand times.

24. Never trust a man who calls you either “Sport” or “Chief”.

25. “High Maintenance” is never worth it.

26. People who wear sunglasses indoors should be avoided at all costs.

27. Basketball coaches are ten times more likely to have a combover than any other profession.

28. The only place to find someone without mother or father issues is Madame Tussaud’s.

29. You know who never runs out of small talk? A weatherman.

30. The most oft-repeated lie of all time is “I’m happy for you.”

31. A person who isn’t bothered by bad reviews is someone who has never gotten one.

32. Instant messaging someone is like jumping in front of them and screaming: “ANSWER ME NOW!”

33. “Stop and smell the roses” is great advice even if you take it literally.

34. If you need to talk to a musician, don’t do it before noon.

35. Pabst earned their blue ribbon 120 years ago. Look for a more recent winner.

36. If being an outdoorsman was so great, they wouldn’t have invented houses, furnaces, or air conditioning.

37. Every time your child says “I’m bored” you are justified in deducting the cost of their toys from their college fund.

38. The deliciousness of a meal is directly proportional to how bad your breath smells after eating it.

39. Telemarketers will never answer “yes” to the question “Can I call you right back?”

40. Your elected officials may be pathetic, but they were elected by you.

41. The person who tells you the best gossip is also telling your secrets to everyone they know.

42. No one has ever listened to the phrase immediately following…”When I was a kid…”

43. “Undetectable Plastic Surgery” is an oxymoron.

44. Little Tykes is the most ironically named company of all-time. They make toys the size of my house.

45. The only way to avoid naming a child something that doesn’t rhyme with a dirty word is to name them “Orange”.

46. Paul Anka was only 27 when he wrote “My Way”. His regrets are no longer “too few to mention”.

47. 100% of people working on your house will tell you the last person who did work there clearly didn’t know what he was doing.

48. Your family may love you, but your dog is the only one truly happy to see you when you come home.

49. There hasn’t been a “Caddyshack-quote-free” round of golf played in America in more than three decades.

50. All of your life accomplishments will be forgotten immediately if you die an embarrassing death.