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Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007 07:04 am

Voice of experience

Sixteen things it took me more than 65 years to learn

Untitled Document Before Dave Barry, the Miami Herald columnist, decided that he had enough money and went to live on the Internet, now and then he’d compose a list called “16 (or 20, or 25) things it took me over 50 years to learn.”
The lists are well worth your time; Dave Barry is a witty and observant fellow. For example, he wrote: “There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is: age 11.”
“If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.”
“You should not confuse your career with your life.”
All of these things are true and well said — but, though I’ll not claim to be as witty as Mr. Barry, I do have 15 years on him, so I know some things he does not. Here are 16 things it took me more than 65 years to learn. 1. All women are beautiful, 100 percent of ’em. There are no unattractive women. 2. Ninety percent of folks using any technology use only 10 percent of its capability; 10 percent use 90 percent, and no one, not even the designers, understands or uses 100 percent. 3. Any machine (technology) requiring you to click on “start” to turn it off is suspect from the beginning. 4. Tom Brokaw is tilted backward at a 12-degree angle; he cannot walk more than 16 steps without falling over on his back. 5. It is better and more exciting to watch your granddaughter get third place in a four-person spelling bee, or to watch your grandson survive the first round of a backyard dodgeball game, than it is for you write the great American novel or to quarterback the Super Bowl winner. 6. In all good and lasting marriages the male of the relationship will not have a clue as to why the female of the relationship is with him, for he believes that she is superior to him in every way. 7. March is the best month — not too cold, not too hot. It doesn’t ask much of you in terms of lawn care or snow shoveling or leaf raking. And it does not suffer the bland sameness of other months: March will occasionally drop some snow, or break a branch with its wind, or rain a day, just to keep it interesting. March never bores us. 8. After a man reaches age 51, the smaller a doctor’s fingers, the better the doctor. 9. The real intent of all blue-ribbon committees searching for the “best and brightest” to fill a position is to find a deadbeat relative of the committee’s organizer to be the best and the brightest. 10. Fat people will not fall over and hurt themselves (or others) if they trim their toenails by going to the bottom of the stairs, maneuvering one foot up to the third step, bending over, and meeting the targeted toe halfway. 11. It’s a very good day when you read the obituaries and everyone listed is older than you. 12. Weddings are sacrament to women. A man could pour all of the excitement of the World Series, a NCAA championship, a hole-in-one, winning the lottery, and establishing world peace into his day and it would not approach a woman’s joy at any wedding — even the wedding of a complete stranger. 13. “First do no harm” should be the oath of government officials, not just doctors. 14. A survey (I found hidden on the Internet) of people over the age of 70 found that “55 is the best age.” The survey is correct. If you’ve done your 55 years well and had a little luck, you finally have a couple of bucks left over after paying the bills, and the aches and pains have yet to arrive full blast. 15. No sane person has ever written a letter to the editor. 16. A pleasant way to spend away three hours on a sleeting January morning is to go far enough from here that you can smoke the last of the $10 cigars you got for Christmas, linger over a pot of hot coffee, and write a list of “16 things it took you more than X years to learn.” It matters not in the least whether the list ever finds the light of public day — it is enough that you spent time doing it. Summary: I had to force No. 16, for I discovered that I only knew 15 things for sure — and that ain’t bad, I think. Fifteen is enough things to know — maybe too many.  
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