Life–for Dummies

I was a dumb baby. I didn’t even know English when I was born.

“Are you hungry?”


“Are you sleepy?”


That was pretty much the extent of my conversations for a while. No fluent discourse, no polite replies, just an untamed sequence of gibberish that only I understood. Needless to say, my parents were less than thrilled. As an infant, I refused to lift a finger. They had to dress me, feed me, bathe me. I hated the bathings. Didn’t like the suds. One night, my mother came to my crib and told me if I didn’t start walking on my own, my father was going to kick me out of the house. That snapped me back to reality. The next morning, I got off my lazy baby butt and started doing things for myself.

“Are you hungry?”

“I was, but I cooked earlier. Dinner’s in the oven.”

“But you’re only three.”

“I was hungry.”

Learning to walk and talk was a piece of cake. In fact, the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do in life is die. The rest should be easy. What I mean is, every event that precedes death has been researched and documented, there truly is nothing new under the sun; death remains the ultimate unknown. So learn to laugh more. People who get embarrassed or upset with themselves when they do something “stupid” have it all backwards. I say enjoy it, remember it, tell that stupid thing you did to a friend and share a laugh together.

Already late for class, I once parked my car underneath a large tree and forgot to close my sunroof. When I returned, there were leaves in my passenger seat and a squirrel was on my dashboard. I learned two things that day:

1. Always close your sunroof.

2. Squirrels don’t like to be thrown.

I like to believe that most people are reasonably intelligent. Meaning the average person looks both ways before crossing the street, thoroughly chews their food before swallowing and knows the geometrical meaning of the central extension of the algebra diffeomorphisms of a circle (Just kidding–but the answer is two). So the next time you do something embarrassing, stop, laugh and think, “Hey, I’m a reasonably intelligent person. I have the right to goof up now and then. Who cares?”

I prefer the company of an entertaining dummy to that of a boring genius.

The smartest man I ever met lived two houses down from me when I was a kid. Every morning, he jogged four miles (two away and two returning), drank eight glasses of water per day, refused to put his lips around a cigarette and never touched a glass of alcohol.

This was a truly remarkable human. He spent his Saturdays bicycling and his Sundays reading classic literature.

He could quote the Bible better than any preacher I had ever met, and his bill of health was cleaner than most doctors.

Recently, I returned back to the old neighborhood that I grew up in and I bumped in to a friend I hadn’t seen in years; we made polite small talk and as I was leaving, I asked what had become of the man who had lived two doors down.

“Oh, Mr. Cory,” he said, as he took a drag of his Newport cigarette, “Mr. Cory shot himself in the face few months back.” –Jamaal Bachelor

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