I have been lucky in my life. I have met a number of really good people who taught me a lot. It’s only been in the last 10 or so years that I have put that into perspective.
People cross my path every day and I know they probably have something to teach me. I just don’t take the time.
As a young man, Jim Bryant, the man who taught me how to run a die casting machine in the mid-1980s when I worked at Pace Industries, once told me something like, “You do good work, what of it there is.”
I took that as a compliment until I realized what he really meant. (I have never claimed to be the brightest star, even in my own solar system.)
My dad taught me so much that I can’t even explain. One important lesson was when I would hit my thumb with a hammer or drop a concrete block on my toe and he would say, “Oh, son, that’s gonna feel so good when it quits hurting.”
He was right, of course, but the most important thing I learned from him was a simple four-word phrase: “This too shall pass.”
But the years of walking on this little blue ball have taught me a few other things, ones I didn’t have to hear from someone else.
You know exactly where your life has gone when you find yourself at Dollar General buying toilet paper and cat litter.
You can have a patch over one eye, a parrot on your shoulder and a skull tattoo on the side of your neck — right on top of your carotid artery — but it’s tough being butch if you’re also wearing tube socks and a pair of gym shorts.
If you have a certain pride regarding your own personal hygiene, white is not the best choice of colors for your earbuds.
You are NOT invisible while sitting in your car at a traffic signal; think about that before digging for gold, so to speak.
It is possible to win an argument with someone, but probably only because they were tired of hearing you talk. Your argument was probably lame anyway.
And, arguing about politics is like using a flyswatter to kill a bug buzzing around your face. The fly always wins and laughs at your bitter tears.
Rarely does a stranger you meet on the street really mean it when they nod and ask, “How are you?” A detailed answer will almost certainly meet with subtle, mental rebuke.
You can draw blood by squeezing a rock, but the blood will be coming from your own hand.
You have a better chance of getting free money by rifling through the cushions of a stuffed couch than playing the lottery, but it’s not nearly as much fun.
Watching an old movie might make you feel younger, but you’re not.
Good luck to you all.
James L. White is associate editor of the Harrison Daily Times. Contact him at email@example.com or (870) 743-0608.