Not to put too familiar a spin on FatScribe (the ole "porkster"), but I'd like to share a few insights gleaned over a lifetime's worth of living, living well, half-living, behaving boorishly, and occasionally sucking the life out of a party.
My kids are the salt of the earth (please, Lord, let that be true for the remainder of their lives), and I'd like nothing more than for them to avoid the mistakes and obnoxious behaviour of yours truly ("Do as I say, encourage, aspire boys, not as I, occassionally, boorishly behave!").
These little nuggets of "things noticed" are not in any way the "official" guidelines for my sons who are (way too fast) becoming inured with the good life we have here in Southern California and all of its distractions, delights, and dalliances. This week and next they have been or will be whisked away to church camps in Big Bear and a little mountain range in Central California. Inured be damned; it's time for them to be removed from LA's climes and environs and enlightened and run ragged at a brisk pace for seven long glorious days ... allowing our young charges to be, once again, returned to their family exhausted, but in a good way, with nary a sign of an X-Box, cell phone to text on, DS GameBoy, or Nickelodeon.
I may not be quite the dandy from the above photo, but I do offer a day-old baker's dozen of FatScribisms. So, here goes:
1. Never, under any circumstances, get a credit card before graduating from college. Period. Especially when mom or dad will most likely offer an assist during this time. Unless of course, either of them are asking you for a short term loan against their 401(k)'s which are disappearing quicker than Houdini in a Scotland Yard jail cell.
2. When the guidelines from the pharmacy say "do not take while operating heavy machinery," there's a good reason for it. Remember Grandpa's 1999 Silver Corvette? No? Well, he does. He's like an elephant that way. 'Nuff said. I said enough said!
3. When you are much older, and you're waxing eloquent, enjoying the sound of your own voice, in general hogging the conversation at a bar or restaurant with several female friends, I suggest you stop. Rather, immediately ask in a serious tone, "Enough about me. Tell me, what do you think about me?" If they laugh, continue on your bit until spent, sated, or satisfied that you are in good stead. If not, look off beyond their eye-line and say, "Oh, isn't that Godfrey Jones from Gimblesplat and Whosits? Pardon me, ladies." And then exit straight-away for a regroup drinkie-poo.
4. Oh, btw, never actually say "drinkie-poo."
5. And, whilst we're on the subject of "never," never do underwear ads. And, especially never, under any circumstances, including threat of personal bankruptcy, do underwear ads and say the word drinkie-poo. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
6. Become gloriously skilled at the art of the awkward silence. When someone is behaving ridiculously, saying crass things, or otherwise gossiping about others, say nothing. Do not fill in the gap of that moment when they realize they've stepped in it, especially if they are on a rant directed at you. Let them stew in it for a good long while. This non-conduct by you can only mean one thing to them: you are a person of substance and character -- one who is not drawn into foolish behavior, especially if this mean-spirited buffoonery is aimed toward a colleague or friend or, yes, even yourself.
7. Okay, now that you've taught someone a lesson, be gracious. Always be gracious toward others, even the folks who can't stand you (and, yes, even those you can't stand; though this number should be few). This is a tough one to get right, but since we have a good God who takes us as we are, we have no excuse do we?
8. Remember: Small people talk about people. Average people talk about events. But, great people talk about ideas, no matter what your mother said about me at the Great Pumpkin Festival. Wait, I think I just broke all three there. Like I said, tough to get your arms around these. Quite.
9. When you're dating or married or walking your mother or elderly grandmother back to her car, ALWAYS open her door. Period. Do not worry about what a feminist columnist, some misguided, misogynistic blagard, or your girl friends say. You are your own man, and you are a gentleman, and this is your rule. Well, it's actually my rule, but I've given it to you, so there you are my boy.
10. A "booty call" is not calling Trader Joe's to order more Pirate's Booty. Nor is it acceptable behavior by you or your brother. However, your receiving late night calls to help out a girl friend is okay, but know that when your grandmother said, "nothing good happens after midnight," she was right. Besides, you'll have "write-on" essays to grade for the Harvard Law Review in the morning.
11. Don't put off what you can do today. Do this and you will own the world. Dad doesn't actually do this one, which is why he sort of only has a lease on a small corner of the 'hood, and is 90-days late with a nasty balloon payment coming due very soon.
12. Do not run with the bulls in Pamplona. It's only fun until someone gets hurt.
13. Become an expert in at least ONE thing. The Renaissance man is very cool in theory, but won't make you any real wealth, except in your love of knowledge and learning and tons and tons of books that will sit and collect dust. I know of which I speak, I have the student loans, dusty books, and speak perfect, fluent, Renaissance Italian, with exactly 160 lire nel mio acuenta. Regardless, my boys, "with all your getting, get wisdom," is the best thing to chase after.