Monday, April 06, 2009

John Hawkins: 50 things every 18-year-old should know. Add to the list if you have other suggestions.


Blogger TMink said...

Good list. I would add, don't get married before you are 25, and don't marry anyone until after you have had several arguments with them. Don't have kids till you are at least 27.

Oh, and go to church or synagogue. 8)


10:51 AM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...

(For the young men especially) Resist the temptation to have sex with someone who has been drinking or taking drugs, especially if it is someone you do not know very well.

If you do give in to that temptation, be aware that you may well be charged with rape later on, and have your life torn apart.

And, for the young ladies, don't go to parties and get "hammered". You're bound to do things you'll later regret - especially if those things end up on Internet pictures and videos.

If you choose to get drunk and do stupid things, don't go blaming others. A charge of rape against a young man can have enormous consequences.

For both - your stupid decisions are your fault. Grow up and take responsibility for yourself.

Better still, avoid those stupid decisions.

Since either drugs or alcohol plays a significant role in most such stupid decisions; limit your intake to levels that you can easily manage. A few minutes or hours of inebriated pleasure is simply not worth dying over, nor is it worth doing time in prison, nor the regrets you may have to carry the rest of your life.

Use your brain for the sober judgments for which it was given to you.

11:11 AM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

If I were to add to this list, I would put this at No. 1:

One sperm cell = 20% over 18 years

One gold ring = 50% over the length of a marriage

11:48 AM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

"Do unto others as you'd have done to you."

If you're lucky enough to have a sister, listen to her over older embittered men. Usually, their advice is dangerous, as they see females as "aliens" to be handled with special "tricks" rather than human beings with similar intelligences, drive and strengths that will help you get through.

Plenty of good parents, men who started before 27. And plenty of good first marraiges that worked out before a set age -- there's sadly no magic number for maturity, kiddo.

Remember the "do unto others as you'd have done to you" and pick a partner who shares similar values. (Oh and learn to cook basic staples, and clean up after yourself too.) Good luck!

11:56 AM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Misanthrope said...

Number 34 is sadly too true. I'm not sure 35 is true.

I submit two more: you know far less then you think you do. This will change, but never presume to know what you know you don't.

You are more like your parents than you would like to admit.

11:59 AM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

When men have a problem and they tell you about it, they want to know how to fix it. When women have a problem and they tell you about it, they just want you to listen.

When men have a problem they will generally just assume responsibility for fixing it themselves without telling you about it. When women have a problem, and tell you about it, that's generally a bid to get you to fix the problem for them.

12:01 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Be very careful and constantly aware of potential danger. There are more ways to die, get killed or injured than you ever imagined.

12:07 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"When men have a problem and they tell you about it, they want to know how to fix it. When women have a problem and they tell you about it, they just want you to listen."

My advice: Be who you are and don't worry too much about how a man or a woman is supposed to act. In other words, if you are a man it's OK to want somebody to just listen to you every now and then (my husband does, and I do listen) and if you're a woman it's OK to want somebody to help you think through how to solve a problem (I do, and my husband helps.) And don't make unwarranted assumptions about other people based on their sex. They may indeed follow a stereotype, but let them demonstrate that to you first.

DADvocate, something I told my girl frequently as she was growing up: the world is not a playground. This was shorthand for "just because it occurs to you to do something, and you can, doesn't mean it's a good idea".

12:18 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Mary, if I may, I would like to expand on your advice a bit.

Can I turn it into, Listen to happy, succesful people, not unhappy people who constantly struggle?


1:00 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

Good observation a guy at my first real job gave me: Never assume your loyalty to a company will be reciprocated.

My observation and the hardest lesson I'm still learning:

Most people in charge got there because they are good at getting promoted, not because they are smart, good at what they do or better than anyone else (and even those that are, are still better at getting promoted than anything else.) They are also deathly afraid of being found out and will destroy you if threatened.

* * *

My #1: Find out who you are and be honest to that.

#2: Be wary of advise from anyone over thirty. They don't know nearly as much as they think they do. Which, of course, means this may be complete bullshit.

* * *


#20 - You never had kids.

#25 - I assume the phrase "of them" is missing since having a boyfriend who photographs naked women for a living may not be a bad thing. (And the word "film"? Is the writer eighty or something?

#31 and #35 are bullshit.

#37 is a good way to get fired. So yeah, talk to a manager, but be prepared to lose you job after you do.

#40. Well, yeah, unless you actually are.

#43 - What is it about anal retentive control freaks and their fucking lists and day planners? Why can't they be happy in their own fucking world and stop trying to convert everyone to their cause? They're almost as bad as vegetarians, but not as bad as extreme extroverts.

#48 is just silly--reminds me of the 80% of statistics are made up.

#49 is romantic bullshit. (Getting religion out of my life was one of the best damn things I ever did. I wish I'd done it at twelve.)

#50 is another idiot piece of advice. For some people "action" makes them miserable. My older brother learned by sad experience that being an anti-social boring anti-action guy gave him the highest level of personal satisfaction.

(Like most such lists, they start out practical and then turn into metaphysical bullshit.

1:28 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...

Mary suggests – “If you're lucky enough to have a sister, listen to her over older embittered men. Usually, their advice is dangerous, as they see females as "aliens" to be handled with special "tricks" rather than human beings with similar intelligences, drive and strengths that will help you get through.”


Would you mind expanding on this a bit, as I’m not quite sure just what it is that you are suggesting here?

Is your advice aimed at young woman? Young men? Or, perhaps both?

If you intended it for men, why should they not listen to older (as you call them) “embittered” men? I think you’ll need to provide some justification for that.

As for myself, I hardly think that I am embittered. I’ve been happily married for 25 years (that’s 25 out of 25, lest there be any consideration otherwise), and have three children – one daughter who’s 23 and now married, another daughter 19, and a son who’ll soon be 17.

While I have some reservations and concern about my daughter being/getting married, I truly fear for my son as marriage would affect him.

The reality of things today is simply that the legal deck is highly stacked against men as it regards marriage/child custody/child support. Frankly, I, as a happily married man, would have a difficult time advising him to marry with things as they are now. And, I’d certainly be much more objective (and rational) that either of his older sisters. They go for the “romance” of it all, while I’d take a larger look at not only the potential upside, but the potential downside as well.

Thus, if you advice was, as I’m guessing, aimed at 18 year old men, I’d have to say that you are way “off base”.

I advocate for neither MGTOW nor PUA (hopefully, I don’t need to explain these) lifestyles for young men, but would encourage a great degree of caution for them wherein women are concerned.

1:37 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

*Can I turn it into, Listen to happy, succesful people, not unhappy people who constantly struggle?*

You can advise whatever you like, Trey; this is an open thread.

Thanks for the correction, but I think I'll stick with the traditional "Do unto others as you'd have done to you".

I'm sorry you've had trouble with bad judgment in your first marraige, but personally, I know there are plenty of men who choose wisely the first time out, many well under 25 or 27 too, who years later are happy with their choices and are raising their own biological children too, as a result of their marital choice.

I know you mean well, and often think that you are speaking for your "group", but a wise man knows that what has worked for him is not necessarily the magic that will work for others. But of course, you can offer your sons and daughters any magical numbers and advice you like, as well as here.

It's an open thread, but I still say the "Do unto others" advice, if practiced properly, would take care of those poor early marraige choices under 25.

*Is your advice aimed at young woman? Young men? Or, perhaps both?

If you intended it for men, why should they not listen to older (as you call them) “embittered” men? I think you’ll need to provide some justification for that.*

Both. If you want to learn about women, you'd be better off listening to a woman (and a sister-woman presumably is a contemporary and has your best interests at heart) rather than a bitter divorced man making generalizations, I'd say.

It's good to learn from others' mistakes too, if what they have learned is applicable to your own situation. I'd hate to see a good 21-21 marital match be put on hold though, just because someone advised a number limit based on their own past mistakes and person situation.

Does that make sense? (For advice on men, I'd ask a brother-figure too, if possible, over someone who maybe got chewed up and spit out in a divorce.)

And I'm bumping up my "learn how to cook basic staples" too, for both genders. Poor nutrition often leads to poor temperments, which leads to conflict and then come the gender generalizations, imo.

2:22 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

No idea what this is MGTOW nor PUA, but if it's something crude or generalized, I'm happy here not knowing.

Good luck to your sons and daughters, and congratulations on 25 of 25, and the first go round at that! Sometimes children pick up less on what we verbally "tell" them, and more on what we daily "show" them.

Hence the "Do unto others..." advice.

2:26 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

For the record, I think you misread me.

There should be an "and" between the "older AND embittered" men.

Taking advice from a confident, successful married man of any age is fine by me. But I wouldn't listen to the older and emittered ones, because chances are you can keep yourself out of certain situations that perhaps led to their personal unhappiness.

(You see that here at Dr Helen in the comments: when a woman does a man wrong in either divorce or child support court, often he turns on all women. Sadly, all women are not likely to act like his former spouse, but in his blind sadness, he fails to realize this. I'm just saying, listen to those men but take what they are saying about their knowledge of "women" in general as a grain of salt, and turn to your sister-figures instead who often came up under different generational expectations -- ie/not expecting, nor wanting, a man to do all the heavy lifting in a relationship.)

2:30 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

*Frankly, I, as a happily married man, would have a difficult time advising him to marry with things as they are now.*

Luckily, by the time they are adults, most sons rely on their own needs and intelligence, and don't let their dad's tell them if it's good to marry or not.

Ah, freedom and independence! Practice it wisely, doing unto others as you'd have them do undo you.

2:32 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

One piece of advice I gave my sons was "Every man has two heads. You're bound to get into trouble if you go through life thinking with the small one."

Bill Clinton was a good example in that regard.

2:50 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

"When they say it's not about money, it's about money." --H. L. Menken

When women start to respect men again, they will begin to appreciate the investment men make in them. That is, 50% in income and assets (community funds, community property) and presumptive paternity (20% over 18 years for children that may not even be theirs.)

If a woman were to want a man to invest that much in her, then the first thing on her mind would be to provide him with clear and convincing evidence that the return on his investment is worth more than he puts into it. But that's not the case, is it?

Is she going to be his life partner? No.

Is she going to be his helpmate? No.

Is she going to be a mother to his children? No.

She doesn't make a commitment. She merely makes a promise, with the option of changing her mind.

But a woman has the absolute right to change her mind, doesn't she? And what does that mean exactly?

It means the marriage contract is null and void from the very beginning.

The modern American woman has a problem. It's a real problem, it's an attitude problem, and it's her problem. It begins with a fundamental and total lack of respect for men. The only one who is ever going to do anything about that is her.

What is she worth? To the modern American man, not much. A tequila shot, a lie to the face, one quick fuck and dump.

That's all she's worth. That's all she made herself worth. And now she wants to complain about it.

Yeah, that's what stupid, spoiled, conceited little girls do. They whine and complain, about anything, about everthing. That's all they do, because that's all they're capable of doing.

At some point it has to become obvious to the modern American woman that figuring out how to fuck does not make her much of a woman. It certainly doesn't make her worth 50%. It doesn't even make her worth 20%. It merely makes her worth a tequila shot, a lie to the face, and one quick fuck and dump.

You are only worth what you make yourself worth. A woman, a life partner, a helpmate, a mother has value, real value. Any man would swim through lava to find her, and wouldn't think twice of investing 50%, because the return is so much greater than he puts into it.

But a bar slut? Please.

2:56 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Brooklyn Redneck said...

There is no reason for an American man to get married in any western country. Don't do it. If you want to get married move to South America or Asia.

2:57 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...

Mary - ” You see that here at Dr Helen in the comments: when a woman does a man wrong in either divorce or child support court, often he turns on all women. Sadly, all women are not likely to act like his former spouse, but in his blind sadness, he fails to realize this.”

Sorry, Mary, I’m just not buying this line.

I’ve personally borne witness to far too many situations to be that easily duped.

While I do not believe that “all” women behave alike, the percentage of those who do behave quite badly towards men (the men they once professed to love) is really quite high. Even in situations where the woman has been “at fault” (having affairs, falling in love with another man, and choosing to leave & divorce their husbands), under the “no fault” laws, they still seem to regularly use the court systems to extract every last penny possible as a means of “punishing” their ex’s for having failed to make them happy.

Having been a reader of sites like this one, and others like Glenn Sacks’, I’ve found that my own personal observations tend to line up with what others have also seen. Taken as a whole, I believe that the best evidence is that women no longer act in accordance with the “sugar & spice” notion once assumed of them by the overly chivalrous.

Today’s “woman” has been largely spoiled by decades of feminist dogma and feminist social experimentation.

You advocate for marrying young (which I agree once had merit – I was 21, my wife 18), but seem not to realize that the feminist “ideal” no being pushed on young women is for them to be career oriented and sexually liberated. It’s the “Sex & The City” notion of promiscuous sex with “hot” guys through their 20’s and 30’s, then settling down around 40 years of age. This is the new backdrop to the cultural scene where young men will be encountering young women.

Guy’s will be meeting women, many of whom, while outwardly professing a desire for HIS commitment to her, has little or no intention of reciprocating. Far many of them, their always looking for the bigger, better deal.

And, even when women do marry, it seems that more and more of them are finding the institution rather unsatisfying. Not only are they cheating at a rate once believed only to apply to men, they are unilaterally starting the majority of divorce proceedings, often for little more reason than that they are unhappy.

But I take it you’ve managed to isolate yourself away so as to avoid any recognition that the world has changed from what it was in the 1950’s.

It you were right, I’d heartily agree that young men should seek out only the advice of their happily married elders. But the new reality is that they had better pay heed to those who have gained their knowledge through the time-tested means of experience.

This has actually always been true. It’s just that now, that “experience” is more-often-than-not to have been a bad one.

3:15 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

27) If you ever get arrested, don't say anything until you talk to a lawyer.

And I would recommend not saying anything to anyone else even after talking to the lawyer. You may be totally innocent, but if you run your mouth, you might find yourself running afoul of a procedure crime.

If you think there's no such thing as a vindictive prosecutor, ask Ted Stevens, Tom DeLay or the Duke Lacrosse team about that.

3:16 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Verbosity Dogood said...

I'd have to add:

Don't cohabitate.

Stay away from marriage.

Don't have unprotected sex. (That means you need to use protection, and so does she [pill, IUD, depo...etc]) If she won't use any, no matter what the reason, she wants to be pregnant, and you should stay away unless you want to be a daddy right then.

3:22 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...


BTW, MGTOW is the acronym for Men Going Their Own Way, a lifestyle based on the observation that marrying (or even becoming serious) with a woman is now so fraught with peril that the risk-to-reward consideration is so low for the man as to make choosing life-long bachelorhood the most viable alternative.

Some MGTOW now eschew women altogether.

On a related, but differing vein, many men have come to the conclusion that since young women (and even a number of older ones) are “putting out” and “giving it up” so easily, that they might as well go ahead and take full advantage. Given their (supposedly) consequence-free sexual liberation, women will (naturally, it seems) tend to be drawn towards a select, smaller percentage of men who exhibit a naturally higher level of sexual attractiveness to them. Some put the number of such so-called “alpha males” at about 10 to 20 percent of the total male population.

Thus, for the men not in the natural top 10 to 20 percent, they discovered that in order to get in on the action, they need to adapt so as to display the characteristics of those alpha males, making themselves seem more attractive to those sexually liberated women looking for sex with those aforementioned “hot” guys. Thus, that other acronym I mentioned, PUA = Pick-Up Artists.

I realize that you probably did not want to know about these things, but I figure unpleasant knowledge is always better than ignorant bliss. So, there you go…

3:32 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...

Verbosity Dogood - ”If she won't use any, no matter what the reason, she wants to be pregnant, and you should stay away unless you want to be a daddy right then.”

Small issue, I admit, but…

The term “daddy” still carries a certain charming notion of lovingly holding and interacting with the children one has sired.

Perhaps a better way to more accurately reflect the point that I believe you are trying to make would be to use the more accurate phrase “legally liable child-support providing unit”.

A lot of women with biological clocks pounding in their ears have no intention of involving their sperm-donor in the lives of THEIR (meaning the mothers, alone) children in any other way than a monthly check.

PS - Sorry, Mary. A bit more of the reality you didn't want to face.

3:49 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

*Sorry, Mary. A bit more of the reality you didn't want to face.*

Oh, I have no trouble facing reality, sir.

I merely said if your acronyms involved crudities or gender generalizations, I wanted no part.

Carry on, no need to insult me.

4:44 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

And for what it's worth, I stopped reading as you kept generalizing.

Maybe it's for the best -- honest innocent women should keep as far away from the bitter generalizing men as possible. Hopefully we won't cross paths in the workplace or raising children or in any community activities. Keep on hatin' (but I will say a quick prayer for your son to find his own "realities" and not let dad poison his thinking tooooo much.)

4:46 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...

Mary - "Keep on hatin'"

You can call it "hatin'", if it makes you feel better.

But, assessing a situation for what it really is could more reasonably be termed "common sense".

If my suggestion that you seem to prefer to remain in denial is insulting, then just what would labeling men who've learn a healthy skepticism of the modern western women who now predominate our culture "old and embittered men" be be? High praise?

Here's a hint... If one doesn't like to be insulted, then one shouldn't go about hurling insults at others.

How was it that you put it? Ah, yes, "Do unto others as you'd have done to you."

Sounds like a good rule to live by. Why, I do believe it's an absolutely "golden" rule.

You really ought to give it a try.

5:13 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...

Mary promises - "I will say a quick prayer for your son to find his own "realities""


I did also intend to respond to you on this inane remark as well (I do apologize for the delay, but it's dang near impossible to type anything while rolling on the floor in laughter).

"His own realities"!?!? What, are you one of those new-age Christians who believes each person has their own reality? Give me a break!

I had (a now ex-) sister in law like that. Seems her "reality" was that she was supposed to have sex with other men while married to my brother. As she claimed, she prayed about it, and it was just the "right thing" for her to do to make herself happy. No, really, she actually did claim just that, I kid you not.

As for my son, his own personal "reality" seems to be that he is invincible, can do no wrong, shouldn't have to follow the rules we set out, and doesn't even need to do his school work.

So, thanks, Mary, but no thanks! I think I'd prefer for a real Christian to pray for him to find God's reality.

(Gee, I hope that doesn't insult her.)

5:40 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

... I just scroll to the bottom, and I see such hate:

So, thanks, Mary, but no thanks! I think I'd prefer for a real Christian to pray for him to find God's reality.

(Gee, I hope that doesn't insult her.)

And that's all I bother read, sorry if that saddens you. It's like pulling a pigtail huh, the only attention you can get is bad attention, so perhaps because I'm a woman, I'm your "enemy" of the day...

OK, no more checking the thread then. "Do unto others..." I'm sorry if my advice isn't proper enough for you men of today. Happy Holy Week to all.

5:47 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...

Mary - "OK, no more checking the thread then."

Just as well, I suppose. Try to have a dialog with a Christian is just a waste of time anyway.

Given Mary's views and attitudes it's little wonder that American men are leaving so-called Christian churches in droves.

Oh, wait, another piece of advice for 18 yr-old men - don't waste your time going to a Christian church - it's nothing more than warmed-over feminism anymore, anyway.

5:59 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Verbosity Dogood said...

Mary -- "Maybe it's for the best -- honest innocent women should keep as far away from the bitter generalizing men as possible."

Mary, slwerener may be riding you a bit hard (pun intended). In reading through the thread I'd like to offer that you decided to paint older men with the bitter brush. That is your choice, but I wouldn't be surprised when you receive quick and shart retorts to it.

Increasingly, more men are becoming intolerant of society's intolerance of them. Specifically, they are sick of being called "bitter," "irresponsible," or "misogynist" when they dare question how society, the law, the press, and yes, women, treat them.

When you call a guy bitter who points out that over 70% of women initiate divorce as a reason men increasingly choose not to marry, you treat him with great disrespect by calling him, in effect a playground name. You might as well say 'booger-face.' All you intend is insult.

And please, for the love of anything marginally honest, please put down the kool-aid paradigm that there are so many "honest innocent" women out there, as if they are somehow this morally superior creature. If anything, such a disingenuous proposition proves quite the opposite.

6:25 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Mary, slwerener may be riding you a bit hard (pun intended)."

Could you just spell out that pun please?

6:55 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...

Verbosity Dogood - ”Increasingly, more men are becoming intolerant of society's intolerance of them. Specifically, they are sick of being called "bitter," "irresponsible," or "misogynist" when they dare question how society, the law, the press, and yes, women, treat them. ”

Quite true! And, thank you for explaining my motivations much better than I had.

On the personal side, reading the decrudescence from someone who seemed to be an smug, self-righteous Christian holier-than-thou do-gooder was very hard to stomach (my experience with the “morality” of Christian women I've known would probably knock Mary's socks off), and I do admit to being more than a bit Jaded when it comes to the supposed “wisdom” of such people. But, yes, aside from that, Mary's “take” of things seemed to fit all nice-n-tidy with the attitudes I've seen coming from other Conservative/Christian women (was Marybeth Hicks that Dr Helen highlight not that long ago?).

It's always about young men needing to be schooled in how to be good committed (submissive) husbands – as opposed to women needing to change one damned thing. Mary's call for young men to look to older sisters for marital advice just really caught my attention.

While I certainly believe my own daughters are fine, upstanding, moral young woman; I still wouldn't trust them to be such marital/relationship experts that they could be at all helpful in helping their younger brother to stay clear of “bad women”. I also personally know of a few young women who happen to have younger brothers, but who are themselves so debased as to have only decidedly bad advice which they might offer.

So, Mary did manage to get under my skin a bit. I apologize if I seemed to be too hard on her, or to have carried on more than I should have. I really did want to call her out on her silly assertion, and her derisive dismissal of men who've been used by women and the “system”. Their words of wisdom, learned the hard way, are far more important to young men than any romanticizing of a sister over her brothers love-life (not to mention all the wedding planning they'd be just way too happy to insert themselves into).

For young men, these are truly dangerous times. All the dangers facing our young women are concerns for our young men as well – not to mention the legal perils that can be heaped on top of those men as well.

Well. I'm going to try to stop my ranting (for now). I'm happy to have had a chance to get it off my chest, as they say.

8:14 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger slwerner said...



Just how does a spellcheck get from "condescendence" (which does seem to be in my dictionary to "decrudescence" - what ever that is?

And here I said I was going to stop ranting...maybe if I start drinking instead...Hum?, not a bad idea, at that.

8:17 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Jesus said that. He is my savior. I would not try to rewrite what he said, and I did not.

I was talking about the don't listen to bitter old men line.

But I can see how I was not clear in making the point.

And, I would tell your children to wait till they are 25 to get married. It is based on the data that marriages after 25 do MUCH better than those before. Same with child rearing. Not my ideas, they are the results of running the numbers. I just know the numbers as part of my job.


8:33 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Trey, some kids are mature at 21. I was married at 21 and, at 48, am still married to the same person. (Mature, or just lucky? Hm, don't know.) Others aren't mature at 30. I think the numbers are good to know, but if a parent is giving advice to his or her own child, that child's maturity level ought to be known to the parent and ought to trump statistics. Just my opinion.

(How about don't listen to bitter old anybody.)

8:50 PM, April 06, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"1 If you are buying something that you will use often and for a long time, never go cheap. . . ."

Agreed. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Save money on a vacation, if you can, not on a car. Get a car that runs, and that will run tommorrow. A bad car is almost as bad as no car at all. A bad vacation? No big deal.

" 2 Don't spend money on a credit card that you can't afford to pay back. The interest and late payments can put you in a hole that can take you years to pay back."

Absolutely correct. In fact, use a credit card like cash, except that a few times, maybe once a year, pay the minimum, and then pay it all off the next month. For some reason, this is seen as building a credit history whereas always paying off the balance every month isn't.

"3 Compound interest is your friend. . ."

Yes, the problem is that inflation is your enemy. Certainly, you should save and invest. But it is not necessarily the case that all, or even most, of your savings and investments should be in compound interest earning CDs (or the like). Unfortunately, you have to try to do more than that, and guess which way the wind is blowing. You'll probably end up with some of your savings in interest bearing instruments, but not all.

"4 If you're working with someone who can be bargained down on a price,it seldom hurts to try. The exceptions may be someone of exceptional talent, someone you're going to have to work with on a regular basis, or someone whose help you're going to need in a timely manner."

True. Save your hardest bargaining for one-time economic relationships. Say you know you are about to move, if you are buying a new car, don't hesitate to squeeze every last cent out of the dealer. But, if you plan on living in the area and having your car serviced by that dealer, it is a bad idea. Caveat: some one time transactions are so important that the savings aren't worth the risk of hard bargaining. EG, if you are having your "Dream House" built to order by a general contractor, it probably is not a good idea to nickle and dime him, as "things" (issues, decisions that could go one way or the other and still fit within the contract) always come up during the course of construction. Give him his price, and he will do it your (the more expensive) way; bargain him down and he will do it the cheaper way and dare you to not pay in full.

"5 Try to keep enough cash to pay your bills for at least six months in reserve. .. ."

Yes, if not even longer.

"6 Dogs are fantastic animals. They deserve to be called man's best friend. But, if you are under the impression that you just need to buy a collar and a bag of dry dog food every month and you're set, you're in for a rude awakening. Dogs tend to be much more expensive and time consuming than you'd think."

Good dogs are, at least. Think of a dog as a mini or half child. As good practice in parenting.

" 7 Don't have any children or get married until you can support and love yourself first."


" 8 Don't trade your vehicle in on a new one just a couple of years after buying it. . ."

Yeah. Ride it until it is no longer reliable. Which can be a lot longer than you think. Then dump it.

" 9 College is a lot more work than high school and your job will be a lot more work than college was. . ."

Not sure about this one. For some people, going to any school is harder than any job. For others, going to any school is easier than any job. For some folks, high school, with all the social and adolescent stuff that goes into it, is a lot harder than anything else will ever be in life. For others, high school was the easiest, precisely because they excelled in that stuff.

Certainly, college is intellectually more challenging than HS. But, you can usually do college at your own pace, in your own way, and where you choose. For a lot of folks, HS is like prison.

Most jobs are more like HS than college. You have to go to the same place every day with the same people and do the same things on the same schedule as everyone else and so on.

One thing left out. . .do your absolute best in HS and college. For most folks, this is it. You get one chance to go to school. And one occasion where it is free (to you, at least). And everything (scholarships, work-study, etc.) is set up for you to do it NOW (when you're 14 to 22). Not later.

I think a lot of young people, particularly poor and lower middle class kids, don't realize the value they are being given in a free education, nor that this is likely their one shot. Yeah, as I said, HS can feel like prison, but it does cost money and "the man" is only going to give you one bite at the apple. One chance to make the most of it. This is the first (but also the last and only) time that they will be given it for free. Their best chances of social mobility are tied up with and hinge on their HS and college performances.

"10 Start looking for a new job BEFORE you quit your old job."


"11 Don't take any job that only pays commission unless you're either an expert salesman or ready to spend months working without pay to gain the skills you need to become an expert salesman."


"12 Ideally, you should choose something you love to do so much that you'd do it for free and find a way to make it into a career."

Yes. That is the ideal though, not a necessity or a likelihood.

"13 When asking for a salary, always have a figure you want in mind -- and then ask for significantly more than that number. That way, you may get more than what you want and even if you don't, you have a better chance of getting the amount you had in mind than if you had blurted it out right off the bat."

Yeah, most people are actually worth more than they think. And, within reason, it actually looks good to ask for more than they're ready to give you. Women seem to be particularly bad at this.

"14 There's no shame in taking any honest job."


"15 Getting fired or laid off isn't the end of the world. . . ."

Yes, particularly getting laid off, which is never your fault. If you get fired from a lot of jobs, though, that is bad.

"16 If you're not happy with the job market, the government, or the schools in your area, remember that you can always move to another city or another state. Lots of Americans do just that every year."

Yeah. Especially when you're young. Even it there were lots of jobs in your home town, it wouldn't be a bad idea to look around and see more of the world, and life, than you can from within your cacoon. Especially true for folks not going to college.

"17 I wish that I had known to check the oil in my vehicles and to have changed it regularly. It would have saved a lot of money that I spent on repairs -- directly due to my lack of changing the oil per the mechanic."

Basic maintainance on your car is well worth it.

"18 Lefty loosey, righty tighty. Turn it to the left to loosen it and to the right to tighten it."

There actually are some exceptions to this, but they are very rare.

"19 Don't ever open a hot radiator cap or you can get seriously burned."


"20 Here are 3 keys to keeping a reasonably clean house: don't leave any dishes in the sink overnight; every time you have a full load of clothes, wash 'em, and take out the trash every time the can is full. You do those things, wipe up your messes, and vacuum when the floor gets filthy, and you'll keep things reasonably neat."

I don't even think the part about the clothes is necessary. Wash the clothes when you start to run out of clean ones. Do it all at once, several loads at a time (commercial laundry) if possible. But, do the dishes even more often than it says here. Dirty a dish, clean it after you eat. Same with the garbage. "Food" or "wet" garbage (as opposed to "paper" or "dry" garbage) should never be left in the house. Eating a meal should be a three step process. Cooking it. Eating it. Doing the dishes and taking out the trash.

The key is NO VERMIN. Everything else is either negotiable, or can be done in a whirlwind manner on a short deadline.

"21 If you use a computer even semi-regularly, it's worth your time to take a typing class."

Most useful class I took in HS or college was typing. Hunting and pecking sucks.

"22 It's not enough to buy a gun and stick it in a drawer like a lucky talisman. You need to learn to use the gun."

I'm not a gun guy. If I were, I think that this is correct.

"23 When you move, sell, throw away, and give away as much as possible or you'll just end up moving boxes from one closet, where they have been sitting for five years, to another closet, where they'll be sitting for the next five years."

Too true. Keep it simple. One box of important papers. One box of sentimental shit. The rest is negotiable. With downloads and what-not now, the need for artifacts is greatly reduced.

"24 Don't ever loan your friends money if you want to keep them as friends. After all, if they were good with money and were likely to pay you back in a timely manner, they probably wouldn't need the loan in the first place. If they really need the money, you want to help them, and you can afford it -- just give it to them."


"25 Women should never allow a boyfriend to take naked pictures. If it's on film, you shouldn't be surprised if it goes public in one form or fashion after a break-up."

Men too.

"26 When men have a problem and they tell you about it, they want to know how to fix it. When women have a problem and they tell you about it, they just want you to listen."

Yes. Although it's up to you to decide if it's worth playing the game of silent, mute, empathetic "listener" just to make a woman happy.

"27 If you ever get arrested, don't say anything until you talk to a lawyer."

Tough one. Sometimes, the cop on the beat will cut you a deal right then and there. And that deal won't be available later, once the paperwork is filled out, etc. I would say if the charge is serious, and if you know you are innocent, don't talk until you see your lawyer. If the charge is mild, and you know you are guilty, you have to make a judgment call.

"28 If you don't know the agenda of the people you're getting your news from, then you don't have the information you need to know if what they're telling you is true."


"29 Government is a necessary evil. It's best to keep its tentacles out of your life and out of our society as much as possible."

Keep it out of your life, unless you have something tangible to gain from it. As for society, that's politics and outside the realm of personal advice.

"30 When you're 18, you worry about what everybody is thinking of you; when you're 40, you don't give a darn what anybody thinks of you; when you're 60, you realize nobody's been thinking about you at all."

Not sure about all that. People do think about other people. You should follow your own star though, which is what I take the little quote to mean.

"31 Trust your instincts. They're usually right."

Yeah. Think long and you'll think wrong.

"32 If you think a doctor's wrong, don't hesitate to ask for a second opinion. Your health is vitally important and doctors make mistakes just as often as anyone else."


"33 Don't ever say anything that may offend someone who is going to be serving you food. You never know what they may stick in it when you're not looking."

Yeah. In general, don't piss off service people until after they have already performed the service.

"34 If you get into a business deal with someone who goes to unusual lengths to convince you of how honest or Christian they are, watch your wallet and make sure you have an iron clad contract. They "doth protest too much.""


" 35 You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

Not sure I buy this. You are who you are. It's generally better to not write people (friends, family) off for not being what you want them, or yourself, to be. As you succeed, if you succeed, you will make new friends of "higher quality," but that doesn't mean you should dump the old ones because they are bringing the average down. Of course, friends that are literally "no good" for you, in the sense that they make you feel bad, or insist that you engage in self destructive behaviors becasue that's what they do, you should jettison.

Really, the issue shouldn't be whether you are spending time with the "right people" or not. Dance with them what brought you. Don't look down on anyone. But also be open to new people and don't let old frinds or family members force you into bad decisions on the basis of "loyalty.

"36 If you want to do something exceptional, don't expect anyone to believe you can do it until you've done it. Unless you're already perceived as exceptional, most people won't believe in you. That's doubly true for the people who know you best and have therefore seen you at your most mediocre, like your parents, family, and friends."

Yeah. You're not a "genius" just 'cause you say so. Do it first. And, even then, to your mom and dad, your brothers and sisters, and your HS friends, you're still the same old guy you always were. If you really are a genius, society as a whole will recognize it.

"37 If you don't feel like you're being treated fairly by a company, don't hesitate to ask for a manager. Oftentimes, a manager has gotten to where he is in a company because he is good at pleasing customers like you in the first place."

Very true. Work your way up the ladder if you feel you are not being treated right. Don't be an asshole who kicks every stone in the road, but do realize that the "higher ups" have the discretion to make exceptions to "company policy" that the subordinates don't. Certainly, don't waste your time or your anger arguing with a subordinate after he tells you that what you want is not within his power to give you. It's not fair to him and won't do you any good.

" 38 You are not invulnerable and you are not going to live forever. You can (make) mistakes at 18 that you will have to live with for the rest of your life."

This is a general statement of what I was trying to get at with the HS and college performance thing. Not only do mistakes you make now "count," but they count more because they start you down certain paths, or close off other paths, in ways that mistakes when you're 40 don't.

If you really are a genius, or have an exceptional talent, that's great. But, be honest with yourself. If you're not, or if you don't, or if you're not sure, it probably isn't such a smart idea to blow off school now.

Same thing with getting married and having children. Those are things that aren't like "kid mistakes." Your parents can't bail you out. It's not like signing up for the wrong class or taking up the wrong musical instrument. You can't bring a child back to the hospital. And you can't "break up" with a spouse as easily as you can with a HS sweetheart.

"39 Nobody owes you a living."


"40 You are not a victim."

May or may not be true. You may be a victim. There are plenty of newly minted 18 year olds who have been abused sexually, physically, and emotionally as children. Or have been victimized in some other way. But, and I take this to be the point, even if you are a victim, unfortunately, it is still going to be mostly up to you to come out of it OK.

"41 If you just assume that every conspiracy theory is wrong without even examining it, you will be right 99.99% of the time."

True. But not everything labelled a "conspiracy theory" really is one. For the most part, people act according to which side their bread is buttered on. And it will do you no good to be either too "idealistic" or too "skeptical" to see that.

" 42 It's likely that whatever challenges you have faced in your life currently could have been avoided by some better decisions upstream."

Perhaps. But that's not terribly useful. The key is to learn from your past mistakes and not to repeat them.

"43 At a minimum, keep a basic "to do" list, a schedule, and a budget."

I'm not a big "list" person. Some people need them, some don't. If you find yourself running out of money right before each pay day, maybe you need a budget.

Same with "scheduling." Own a nice big calendar. You can usually get one for free from your local pizza parlor or whereever. Write the dates for important shit on the calander. That's all the "schedule" you need, unless you find yourself missing stuff.

As for what "to do," you should know that without writing it down. Again, if that doesn't work, do the list thing.

But my experience is that there are doers and there are listers. People in the latter category seem to get a psychic boost out of the act of listing. It's almost as if, by listing a task, they have already done it. But, obviously, that's not how it works. If you're in college, you know you have to write x paper and study for y exam. Just listing them doesn't change that. Do one of the things that would be on the list instead of making the list in the first place, and you'll be better off.

"44 Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better."

True. Most people are not geniuses or super talented. They get better at doing things by practicing, and by practicing as hard and as often as they can.

"45 If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters most. Never confuse activity with productivity. You can be busy without a purpose, but what's the point?"

I'm not sure I buy this one. Why should you "prune away even good activities?" Heinlen (who I don't always agree with) said that specialization is for insects, and that every man and woman should know how to hunt down an animal, buthcher it, cook it, clean up the dishes, sew, make a fire, shoot a gun, balance a checkbook, write a coherent paragraph, carry a tune, draw a map, etc., etc. Almost any skill you learn will help you at some point in life.

Particularly when you are young, you should try lots of things. Especially fun things and extra especially fun things that you can't or won't be able to do when you get older. Travel now. Go camping now. Go surfing or rock climbing or snow boarding or whatever now. Not everything is about "productivity" or "purpose." Life is also a series of experiences. Once you get married, want children, and settle into a career, then those things can be more important. But, for now, yes, keep your shit together. Don't fuck up your health, your criminal record, or your education, but do go out and enjoy lots of things, even frivolous ones.

"46 Ironically, successful people tend to fail a lot more than unsuccessful people. They also tend to ask a lot more questions."

Yes. Don't be afraid to fail. And don't be afraid to ask questions either.

"47 When you consider Christianity, keep in mind this classic quotation from C.S. Lewis, "If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?""

I'm an atheist, and I don't want to start a big fight here, so all I'll say about this is that you should not take anything for granted when it comes to religion. Read, study, ask questions, investigate, do your own research, etc. Be respectful of everone, but be intimidated by no one.

"48 You beat 50% of the people by just showing up. You beat another 40% by working hard. The last 10% is a dogfight in the free enterprise system."

This may be true. I would only add that, if by showing up and working hard you are already "beating" 90% of the field, you needn't necessarily worry about the last 10 per cent. Life is not like an Olympic foot race, where only the top finisher (or top 3 finishers) "win." If you show up and work hard, you will almost certainly succeed materially in life. After that, if what you want is to be the very best, go for it. Just remember, though, that there are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a year and so many years in a lifetime, and if you spend them all at work, you are going to miss out on a lot of other, important stuff.

"49 There are at least six key areas of your life: health, career, romantic, social, money, and religion. If you neglect any one of those areas, it will harm you in the other areas and keep you from being as happy as you can be otherwise."

I am very wary of this kind of numerological statement. What makes the "big six" and what doesn't? Why religion (again, I don't want to start an argument but lots of people seem to do well without it)? Why not some notion of leisure or sports or games or enjoyment or hobby? How about creativity or artistic acheivement? Or politics? For most people, "career" and "money" are pretty closely related too, so why list them separately?

Each person has to seek out what matters to him or her. Some people really are "loners," so "social" affairs do not interest them, nor do they need to have them. Some people are simply not cut out for "romance." Some people genuinely don't want a "career," they are happy with a mere "job" that pays the bills and leaves them free to seek what they want in other spheres.

Forget the checklist. If your life is out of balance, and if you are truly missing something, you'll know it anyway.

"50 When trying to decide between two closely matched alternatives, always have a bias towards action. In the long run, it'll lead to your having a lot more experience, great stories, and a richer, fuller life."

Yes, most people regret what they didn't do, not what they did. This is also why I disagree with that "prune even good activities" stuff. Go out and do stuff and have fun, now when you're young!

9:13 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Laura wrote: "that child's maturity level ought to be known to the parent and ought to trump statistics. Just my opinion."

And it is the correct one! But our task was to give advice to the world, so I did! For the record, I was not ready to marry till about 30.

"How about don't listen to bitter old anybody."

That was the point I was trying to make, only you did it well. Outstanding.


10:25 PM, April 06, 2009  
Blogger Peter Dane said...

The only person you can depend on is you.

Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.

You don't require a woman in your life to be a complete human being.

10:34 PM, April 06, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see Mary out on the porch of the plantation, sipping lemonade and watching the slaves work. Her husband paid for the plantation, and the slaves do all the work on it. She sips lemonade and watches them to pass the time (and she posts on the Internet).

"Why I do declare that some slaves are grown up and know their place. They do their duties and like it. They are the good ones and the other slaves should listen to their advice. Other slaves are trying to get out of their duties."

Mary pauses as she takes another sip of lemonade.

"You listen to a good Christian woman like me. I've got the best interests of those slaves at heart. I'm only telling them what's right."

2:27 AM, April 07, 2009  
Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

1. Beware what's offered to you "for free." It will cost more than you can afford.

2. People who give unsolicited counsel are worth crossing the street to avoid.

4:41 AM, April 07, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Hmmm, I thought Mary and MB were on the same side.

Shows you what I know.


8:21 AM, April 07, 2009  
Blogger John said...

When I was 17, my father said, "You're always a slave to someone." What he meant was that your employer always had power of your life because he had the power to financially damage if not destroy you. And the more people who have that power in your life are just further shackles on your neck. Which led me to one of my personal laws:

"You're always a slave to someone -- but try to have as few masters as possible."

9:54 AM, April 07, 2009  
Blogger Jeff the Baptist said...

"#37 is a good way to get fired. So yeah, talk to a manager, but be prepared to lose you job after you do. "

#37 isn't about being an employee in a company, it is about being the customer of a company. There is a big difference in what you can get from managers if you're paying them instead of them paying you.

Having worked retail, I can tell you that managers will give away ridiculous things to undeserving customers just to keep the ingrates happy.

5:35 PM, April 07, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

Jeff, I've always argued with my bosses who've said the customer is always right. Sometimes the customer is just flat-out wrong. I think people say that stuff without thinking it through.

7:06 PM, April 07, 2009  
Blogger geekWithA.45 said...

Don't open the door to the unexpected knock after dark for people you don't know. Don't even answer the door at all without a gun in your hand, behind your back.

3:02 PM, April 13, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home