Friday, January 31, 2014

Lessons Learned

I was one dumb kid, I wanna tell you that right now.  The stuff I believed!  The things I didn't know!  in such fields as astronomy and algebra, the dreaded A&A of my unknowing.  But in all that, there was one thing that I thought was right when I was a young man, and that turned out to be all wrong, wrong, wrong.  

And there was one thing I came to learn that I have never forgotten, and I have always offered it to young people who, through some sort of horrible error, turn to me for advice.

First point - like the picture above reminds us, I remember being an adolescent and seeing people in their late 20s, early 40s, middle 60s and thinking, "Man! This (guy) (woman) (proprietor of an Asian carryout) (irate police officer giving chase on foot) really has it all figured out!"  And I figured that all people above the voting age (21 then) were full-fledged grownups who acted responsibly, knew the difference between right and wrong, knew there were limits to all this fooling around, and knew where the lines were drawn.

That was a foolish generalization I made, which is something that all teenagers do. (There's another foolish generalization!)  The fact is, while the overwhelming majority of people old enough to marry and vote are mature, fully-realized and well-functioning adults, there are plenty who are not, who are crooks, vagrants, ne'er-do-wells, boozehounds, cheats, tramps and thieves.  

Not that I have to associate with them, and neither do you, but just remember, they are out there!

On the other hand, there came a moment in my mid-to-late 30s when I came to realize that people who were ding-dong dipsticks and doofuses at age 16 tended to be that way at 26, 46 and 106.   As Isaac Newton, who later invented quite a tasty cookie, once said,  "Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed."  Which means, if you're in the recliner, you tend to stay there unless some force (thirst) compels you to get up.  And without the thirst to do better, people who have found it easy to be fools just stay in that condition.

Fortunately, there aren't many people like that.  And thank you for being none of them.

No comments: