Duh-Ploma: The School of Hard Knocks

Student With Diploma Shows GraduationA mentor once said, “To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid.” I think I’ve solved the “young” part of his regimen; however, I find that I’m still prone to fits and spasms of stupidity.

Even though I’m a high school graduate (EHS class of ’71), have both my B.A. and M.S., I think it’s my S.H.C degree that has been the most beneficial. The latter degree was awarded from the highly esteemed School of Hard Knocks.

Let me share a few of the lessons that I have learned along the way.

1. Be careful who you challenge to a fight: When you pick a fight with a trained boxer, you get your ears boxed.

2. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should: With the skill of Spiderman I climbed up the outside of the old Junior High and fell as I was crawling in a second story window. Yes, all the way to the ground.

3. Even though Mr. Blackmore goes inside his office, you should respect his rope rules. Another fall—this time it was from the top of the ropes to the floor of the old gym.

4. Big feet do not fit through small holes, and basement walls break hands. The fashion fad at the time (8th grade) was Super Slim Levis, and anyone who has ever known me knows a couple of things: First, super slim has never been an adjective used to provide an accurate description of my physical dimensions. Second, I’ve never been accused of having small feet. I’ll leave it to you to discern what I did because my big foot got stuck in the small leg hole of the pants.

5. When the hand-writing on the wall is read, you better not be the author–you just might become a ghost writer!

6. Never light fireworks in the house or you will burn a hole in the carpet and Mom will smolder.

7. With thanks to Jim Croce, I also learned that you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, spit in the wind, or pull the mask off the Lone Ranger.

When my children were just kids, they asked me one day: “Dad if you could go back and start your life all over, would you want to?” I replied: “Not if I had to have the experience of living through all of my stupid mistakes again.”

I’ve received an education from my experiences; however there is a difference between the two: Education is what you receive when you read the fine print; experience is the result of not reading it; and, as Rita Mae Brown said: “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”

8. Here’s one more. Life can be incredibly short, so take the time to make memories. I’m so grateful for the memories I have of my dad: baseball, fishing, hunting, the sound of his whistle and his voice as he sang in the shower.

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