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Those of you who subject yourself to Facebook have probably noticed the “Your Memories on Facebook” feature, which reminds you of  nonsense you participated in on this date some years ago. I got one of those pokes today, a reprint of something I had written while I was at the Monterey Herald six years ago. Apparently it was a slow news day. Cal Am must not have applied for a rate increase.  For subject matter, I was left with whatever was rolling around in my head. It’s about things that age had taught me. I share it here because it’s Monday and, as far as I know, Cal am has not applied for a rate increase yet this week. Please feel encouraged to add on:

The aging process brings so many unwanted things, like wrinkles and sags, creakiness and crankiness, that we tend to forget that some of the baggage it creates is actually worth carrying around.

There is no direct correlation between baldness and wisdom, between age spots and insight, but time is a fine teacher if we pay attention to what’s going on instead of worrying about what we might have missed. Contemplation can be more useful than speed. Sometimes the very best course is to find a comfortable seat.

To illustrate the point, here’s a list, close to complete, of the things I know now that I didn’t know back when I still owned a comb. Back when I thought the world was a meritocracy and that a pretty woman and a little whiskey could improve any situation.

· Nothing is more important than family, but good friends and good neighbors come close.

· To maintain good relations with family, friends and neighbors, you must forgive.

· If you need help, ask a poor person.

· Old people aren’t nicer than young people. They’re just slower to react.

· I should have gone to work for the government.

· The country is divided culturally more than politically. Liberals tend to like Priuses and tofu. Conservatives tend to like NASCAR and cheeseburgers. Swing voters haven’t given it a lot of thought.

· Banjos, vehicular subwoofers and discipline should be used sparingly.

· The stock market gives us a system that worships short-term profit-taking and punishes planning, maintenance, reinvestment and humanity.

· People who say they don’t like children haven’t spent much time with children or, if they have, it was with the wrong children.

· The teacher is as important as the lesson.

· Opera, especially the women, can be wonderful.

· Tomato juice does no good when a dog gets skunked, but baking power, detergent and hydrogen peroxide do help.

· One lazy person in an organization can drag the entire organization down.

· Black shoe polish, the pasty kind in a can, should be used on dark brown shoes. Really.

· If you buy a second diesel-powered vehicle, the cost of diesel will rise beyond all reason.

· WD-40 is not a lubricant.

· An oil leak is no substitute for an oil change.

· A good tomato is best eaten outdoors.

· My dad was right when he said, “Do something even if it’s wrong.”

· Those in power cannot be persuaded to do the right thing unless it directly benefits them. Power is never given away.

· Governments, like unions, can be effective, but only if the people involved insist on it.

· When a woman cries, there is a good chance she is angry, not sad.

And that’s it. There may be others, but I have forgotten them. Circumstances might shake some of the other things loose at the appropriate times, but I don’t count on it. Time taught me long ago that the right answers usually arise well after the question has become moot.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Trish March 13, 2017, 9:19 am

    “I should have gone to work for the government.” Priceless – and right on the money, thank you.

  • gin March 13, 2017, 10:21 am

    “Banjos…should be used sparingly.”
    You must not know Fast Eddie Erickson:

  • Eric Sand March 13, 2017, 11:07 am

    “The teacher is as important as the lesson.”
    I would almost say the teacher is MORE important than the lesson.
    This simple concept goes to the heart of being a human being and interacting with each other. We are not only teaching a subject matter but an attitude and tone, which hopefully elevates us and inspires us. A kind and insightful word with another person face to face will be remembered long after any other form of communication….

  • Jeanne Turner March 13, 2017, 11:22 am

    This post is a refreshing change from all the craziness out there.

    “The teacher is as important as the lesson” – sometimes more important, I think.

    “People who say they don’t like children haven’t spent much time with children or, if they have, it was with the wrong children.” And sometimes the “wrong children” are only wrong in some situations. One year I had a fifth grader who was a real handful in the classroom so I was so amazed at the change in him when our class spent a snowy school week at science camp in Yosemite Valley. Spending most of our days outside, he would look at Yosemite Falls whenever we were nearby to see how it had changed (freezing and thawing). He loved the stories Julia (a resident Native American) told as she worked on a basket in the museum. She had a calming effect on all of us. The rest of the school year was different, as the bonding experience we’d had brought all of us closer together. I loved science camp.

    “Old people aren’t nicer than young people. They’re just slower to react.” 🙂

  • Jean March 13, 2017, 11:27 am

    Heart-warming Monday start, Royal.
    After quite a few moves I’ve learned that when it comes to material goods, if you can’t afford to lose it, you can’t afford it.

  • Stefanie March 13, 2017, 11:51 am

    “Use it or lose it.”

    I really appreciated “Governments, like unions, can be effective, but only if the people involved insist on it.”

  • david fairhurst March 13, 2017, 12:38 pm

    One of your best ever Royal. A sort of “anti-Murphy’s law”, a positive outlook…maybe “Royal’s words of wisdom”. and note that a list like this could only come from life, it’s observation, the beauty and the wonders it brings to us.

  • bill leone March 13, 2017, 1:17 pm

    I agree with Eric & Jeanne, about the teacher being More important than the lesson, having taught for over 15 years.

    An addition to your list: Every moment of Life is a Miracle. (Buddha)

  • Karl Pallastrini March 13, 2017, 1:37 pm

    Jeanne and Eric did not get it right…but Royal did. Eric can “almost say” and Jeanne “sometimes” believe the teacher is more important than the lesson. 32 years in Education has taught me that the teacher is ALWAYS more important than the lesson. That would be in the eyes of the students.

    Banjos get a tough rap from Royal, when it is clear that a poorly played Accordian is much worse, hence the wealth of Accordian jokes.

    Another life lesson is that almost anything can be repaired with Duct Tape…except relationships

    And, if you tell the truth…you don’t have to remember what you said.

    • Eric Sand March 13, 2017, 3:51 pm

      Hi Karl,
      The phrase “almost say” was a lead in immediately followed by the word “MORE” in caps….I had a Ancient History teacher, Mr. Stavrolakis, at my High School in Athens, Greece that could actually make you feel like you were living in Athens 2000 years ago with his descriptions of how people must have lived and interacted. He set the bar very high….

    • Lloyd Jones March 13, 2017, 10:05 pm

      Given the present national leadership, you don’t have to tell the truth and you don’t have to remember; just do it all in an entertaining manner. Huxley lives.

  • Craig Malin March 13, 2017, 8:04 pm


    By the way, if you’d like to work where there are instant, life and death consequences, on the front lines of democracy and service delivery, you really should for work government. City government.

  • Joanna Greenshields March 15, 2017, 8:24 am

    I wish you had informed us about the perils of the banjo before I purchased one for my son, Jake, this Christmas!