by Doug Hawley
a lot of stories in places about how to succeed
through personal growth. Ill be
polite and not offer a critique thereof. Because
one learns from ones mistakes, and Ive
got many years of major screw-ups, here is some
dynamite advice for those who will do what it
takes to get a better life.
Rule 1 Choose your parents well. I
did well, but tall, thin and rich would have been
Rule 2 Dont let your
weight exceed your knees carrying capacity. Exceeding
those limits, leg pressing up to 500 pounds and
jumping off things has blown my knees.
Rule 3 Take good care of your
teeth and gums. This should begin as
your permanent teeth erupt, otherwise its
too late. Besides all of my youthful
cavities, I had my first crown decades ago from
eating peanut brittle. Since then my
original cavities are wearing out and Ive
had root canal. At least with modern
dentistry, the pain is small, but the expense has
probably been adequate to feed a small village
for a year.
Rule 4 When exercising and you
hear a tearing sound, stop and check your
clothing. If it is your body that is
tearing, stop that exercise. I thought
that it was just my aorta ripping, but it
probably was my hernia and my shoulder. Left
shoulder now has five diagnoses which I can
remember sometimes degenerative joint
disease, arthritis, bone spur, calcification and
floating bodies (that last is creepy).
Rule 5 Dont put much faith
in political parties. One party, which
gets support from some billionaires, would tell
you how horrible billionaires are. Id
trust Bill Gates to do the right thing before a
politician. The other party says
things which could be translated as dont
be poor. A pox on both their
Rule 6 The old cliché was that
men (as I said, old cliché) died within six
months of retiring because their whole life was
based on work. Most of the retired
people that I know are physically and mentally
engaged and lead useful lives. For me
it is volunteering in park restoration and a non-profit
bookstore, hiking and snowshoeing (when there is
snow in appropriate amounts). Reading
local author Cheryl Strayeds Wild has
prompted me to write and get published many fine
things. Not all of them are fine as
you can see. Find something you like
to do outside of work.
Rule 7 Be judgmental. This
one goes against current orthodoxy. If
you cannot change someone close to you who is
seriously wrong, dump that person. If
that drunk or racist (or any one of a number
things) cant or wont change, put some
distance between you. Ive missed
or overlooked some of these things and I learned
to regret it.
Rule 8 If you have the whip hand
in a relationship use it gently. My
foolishness had a part in breaking a serious
relationship. Long term that was a
good thing, but still.
Rule 9 You cant be
whatever you want. Id like to be
able to sing like Al Green or Little Richard and
play in the NBA. Not going to happen. Consider
your real options.
Rule 10 Dont become
blackout drunk. If you do, youll
have to accept what people said you did. In
my case, it was not flattering.
Rule 11 About the only non-controversial
health advice is exercise, fruits, vegetables,
tap water and not-smoking. My mother
who was a smoker, but otherwise healthy, probably
would have lived to 100 if she hadnt smoked. She
only made it to 94.
Rule 12 There are problems that
you can run away from. House fires
come to mind.
Rule 13 Support population
control and oppose war and the military-industrial
complex. About war Viet Nam,
Iraq and Libya that should be sufficient. The
worlds human population is on track for
disaster. Consider lebensraum, that
woman that walks ten miles for water, pollution,
devastation of resources. Above all
war and human overpopulation, along with so many
other tragedies, are related. This
idea took form in my fictional Attack,
War and Reprieve.
Rule 14 Pick and eat the low
hanging fruit unless it is poisonous.
Rule 15 The best advice I ever
got came too late Dont get old.
Rule 16 More of a personal
preference than a rule. I allow myself
some harmless quirks. I dont
care for man buns, absurd shoulder pads on women,
the misuse of issue and hundreds of
other things. Because Im mostly
a decent guy I cut myself some slack.