Last week, I celebrated my 32nd birthday.
(Note: The word “celebrated” here is a loose term that means, “I acknowledged that it happened, ate a cupcake and thanked some people on Facebook.” But we’re going with that for now.)
Thirty-two years, on balance, hardly represents a great length of time, what with the whole “entirety of human existence is probably millions of years and the universe existed long before that” factor. Still, after some thought, I compiled a brief list of “Things I Learned in 32 Years (not including how to recite “Canterbury Tales” in Middle English.” Here are some of the highlights:
• After 32 years, I have come to understand that a large majority of the English-speaking population neither speaks English properly, nor cares all that much about learning. Many of those same people taunt non-native speakers by saying “they should learn themselves to talk good.”
• After 32 years, I understand that most people “don’t like politics,” but still have political views, most of which they glean from hearing somebody else talk about what somebody else wrote about what they saw on TV last night. A few of these folks eventually run for Vice President.
• After 32 years, I know that rednecks and classless lunkheaded trolls exist in literally every “group” on earth, whether they be Alabama fans or liberals or Mormons. These are the people who eventually ruin it for the rest of us, and that’s a shame.
• After 32 years, I learned that nobody “gets” the witty sarcasm and pithy commentary one puts into print. A writer who is constantly complaining that his audience “didn’t get the joke” isn’t much of a writer. I should know, since I’m not much of one.
• After 32 years, I learned that praise and criticism from the masses is faint, that I shouldn’t waste my time in anger at people who disagree or think I’m a hack (spoiler alert: I totally am). Mostly I learned that I’m fortunate to have a mother and a wife who are both willing to put up with my whining about everything, and to say, “I liked that column” even when I am fairly certain they did not, in fact, like that column.
• After 32 years, I learned that making a “list” column is a pretty lazy writing device. Oh, well. Too late now.