Friday, August 25, 2017

Rules for a Son

I found this on Facebook, as posted by Don Comes, and originally posted by Aaron Conrad. This inspired me to write a commentary, which I haven't done in a while.

Rules For My Son

1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
I remember my father mentioning a man who was singularly lazy, and wouldn't even go so far as to rise from his chair to shake hands. That's how I learned to stand up when meeting someone.

2. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain’t one.
I'd just jump in, feet first. I'm not a good diver.

3. The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.
Which gives me no clue at all as to why I was often chosen to be the grill man.

4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
The expanded version is: He who speaks first, loses.

5. Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the end zone.
Something I've never been able to get the hang of.

6. Request the late check-out.
Always, always request late check-out, and make sure the sign on your door is turned to 'Do Not Disturb'; the reverse of this little sign is 'Maid Service Requested'.

7. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
Make sure the person who confided in you will never tell anyone else that you knew.  In other words, I won't tell, but do not ever tell anyone else that you told me.

8. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
These people are heroes or heroines for a reason. Don't make exceptions, and don't let them get away with anything by saying 'I'm only human'.  Our elected officials fall into this category, as do the police, fire, and EMS personnel. 

9. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
This should be obvious to everyone, but it isn't. The first time I did this, the owner of the car acted like I'd given her the moon.  It's also a good idea to run it through the car wash, if that's possible.

10. Don’t fill up on bread.
Even if there isn't anything else to eat.

11. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye.
Be firm, but be careful.  Never give someone a bone crushing grip, and never shake like a dish rag. Make sure your hands are dry, and be certain you look the other person dead in the eye.

12. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
Meaning that morals are important. The people I admire most are my Quaker ancestors, who were a part of the Underground Railroad. They had faith like bedrock and a backbone just as straight as a Winchester barrel.  They put everything on the line to help the runaway slaves.

13. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.
Being forced to endure someone's radio on the beach ruins the entire experience for everyone. Leave the music at home, or risk losing your radio to the ocean.

14. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
Make sure the one in your breast pocket is something you can easily live without - she'll ruin it, but she'll thank you for your kindness and generosity.

15. You marry the girl, you marry her whole family.
Truer words were never spoken, and if you want to know what your wife will look like in 30 years, take a hard look at her mother. Meet the future in-laws over a meal, and go out drinking with the men. Make sure you can get along with all of them, because if you can't, you're looking at an iceberg dead ahead.

16. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
Don't let the other folks know what you're thinking.

17. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.
I've done a lot of this, and by a lot I mean a significant portion of my life. Learn to get out and explore, meet new people, try new things. Live a little.  You'd be surprised at the number of people who have never learned to be comfortable inside their own skin.

18. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.
Just make sure she isn't in a relationship already.

19. Never turn down a breath mint.
Should be obvious.

20. In a game of HORSE, sometimes a simple free throw will get ’em.
Free throws are never simple.

21. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.
So choose your words carefully.

22. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
I've never done this and have no urge to try. I suppose my inscription might read, 'While alive he surely lived'.

23. Thank a veteran. And then make it up to him.
I've always made it a point to thank men in uniform for their service.

24. If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.
This is another thing I've never done, nor do I intend to. I've enough headaches now, why ask for another?

25. Eat lunch with the new kid.
I ate lunch with the new kid, and it turned out that the new kid was an exceedingly dull introvert who was trying to find a pastime, but who was too young to take up drinking and not smart enough to play chess.  Slapjack was a challenging game for him.

26. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
I've done this several times, mainly because it would serve no useful purpose for the recipient to read the missive.

27. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.
We did.  Mom and I invited the Becker family over for dinner, then played a game of Pente afterwards. Mom won twice, out of three games. We all had a great time.

28. See it on the big screen.
Depending on what it is. Star Wars, for certain sure. Annabelle:Creation (2017), not so much.

29. Give credit. Take the blame.
Always give credit where credit is due.  Always include the others who helped.  That said, never tolerate someone who takes credit for your work - such people exist.  As for taking the blame, if you broke it, you make sure it's put right, and don't hesitate to tell the whole story.

30. Write down your dreams.
Go back and read them ten years later, and ask yourself what you mihgt have been thinking about at the time.

To which I will add:
31. Treat everyone you meet with consideration and respect. That means everyone, from the beggar outside on the street to the CEO in the palatial office, from the minister at the pulpit every Sunday to the frantic co-worker who has just made your life more difficult.

32. At least half of communication is listening, yet I observe very little of this in any given meeting. People interrupt, which is rude and inconsiderate.  People raise their voices so that they may be heard above everyone else - who are all talking at the same time.  Instead of talking, listen.

33. Most people think about themselves 90% of the time and other people 10% of the time. Reverse this.  Watch what happens.

34. Learn to say 'Thank you' and 'You're welcome'.  Thank people who help you, such as the waitress when you're being served.  When someone thanks you for any reason at all, say 'You're welcome'; refrain from saying 'No problem' or 'Not a problem'. The implications are different.

35. Be gracious when you win.