Thursday, October 20, 2011

Some rules of life

This has been a frequently-circulated list of things kids won't learn in school, often incorrectly attributed to Bill Gates. In fact, this list was written by Charles Sykes and is part of 50 rules he put together.

I thought these were worth repeating, especially in light of the yahoos involved in Occupy Wall Street.

1. Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase, "It's not fair" 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realised Rule No. 1.

2. The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain it's not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

3. Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.

4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.

5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grand-parents had a different word of burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

6. It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of me," and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on your dime. Don't whine about it, or you'll sound like a baby boomer.

7. Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4)

9. Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we're at it, very few jobs are interesting in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)

10. Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

11. Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

12. Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

13. You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

14. Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realise how wonderful it as to be a kid. Maybe you should start now.


  1. That was good, My thoughts exactly.

  2. That was good, My thoughts exactly

  3. Meh. I was with him until #14. When I was a kid, I was sure being an adult would be better. I was sure of a lot of things when I was a kid. The difference is, everything else I was sure of was wrong. But that one's turned out to be pretty much right-on-the-money. :)

  4. I would add something, not really aimed at teenagers-if it has the word "show" in the title, that's exactly what it is-a show, dependent on ratings. This is my opinion on all the various talk shows. Listen to 'em for entertainment, but that's what they are-someone's opinion passed off as entertainment.Don't base any major life decisions on what you hear on such shows. Go buy yourself some good used books-it's better entertainment.
    I flipped burgers and dropped things in hot grease for a while. I have no fond memories of it, but it did do three things-it was a paycheck, it made ever other job look better in comparison, and I couldn't bring myself to go into a fast food place for about 15 years. Probably added some years to my life for that.
    The Universe just plain doesn't care one way or the next. Your life is what you make of it.
    I don't go along with #14,either. I think it's a wonderful Universe, full of wonder. So many cool things, natural and otherwise. All you gotta do is look.As an adult, I find I appreciate far more things in life. I enjoyed my childhood, but I wouldn't really want to repeat it. If I had Doc Brown's DeLorean, I'm setting it all the way forward...
    Yahoos on Wall Street-a easy way to get your 15 minutes of fame. O.K., fine. But if you get rid of something,make sure what you're replacing it with isn't as bad-or worse.

  5. LOL, you should have seen the kids jump years ago when I said, "Show me something in life that's fair and I'll give you a million bucks" Nothing, nada, zip, they tried, but soon came to realize, nothing in life is "free" or "fair."
    Reality is what reality is.
    Wasn't fair to me when you played an extra video game at the mall and missed the bus so I had to come pick you up after working 16 hours to put food on the table you eat at the roof over your head and the car that I came and picked you up in burning the gas,,ok you get my drift
    Nothing in life is fair! Fair, is what you make out of life! (oops, guess I owe myself a million bucks!)
    Reno Redneck

  6. I couldn't have said it better.

  7. I worked in several fast-food restaurants when I was younger, flipping burgers, making tacos, waiting on customers at the windows... and I loved it! I made a sort of game out of it, seeing how quickly (and correctly) I could prepare the food and wait on the customers. I got so fast that I used to handle two windows at the same time! I learned to be fast and efficient at a McDonald's where we added everything up in our heads as we were putting the customer's orders together. This was many years ago, of course. Nowadays most people can't do simple math in their heads. They rely far too much on computers and electronic cash registers! Everyone who worked at that McD's got quite good at it! We were fast, and consequently we had many customers. I honestly think it was the happiest time of my life. But for those today who think they're owed a living from mom, dad and everyone else, no doubt ANY job is a chore. Handouts and FREE everything is the only way to go! God help us.

  8. Good advice, but not likely to be embraced until the teenager reaches 40.

    Anonymous Patriot

  9. Hmmm, I love your blog but I think you might be a little off base in your opinion of the occupy wall street movement. Although I am not a part of the movement, the messege isn't all bad. It's not all lazy folks who don't want to put any work into making a sustainable living for themselves. Many are hard working, God fearing folks who just want to point out that there are some real messed up things in our country right now. . .and maybe this is one avenue for them to have that voice. You can't trust what the news channels are saying. . .but I know you already know that. Thanks for your cool blog. I love it.

  10. Youth is wasted on the young. If i'd a known then what I know now :) Keep up the good work. Don