My report on what I've learned
September 30, 2008
Every magazine I read has one section I go to before I read anything else. In Sports Illustrated, it’s “This Week’s Sign the Apocalypse is Upon Us.” In Maxim, it’s the caption contest. In Esquire, it’s “What I’ve Learned.”
In Esquire’s feature, well-known people tell you what they’ve learned, whether from personal experience or from what a peer told them. I’m not well-known, but I think I’ve still learned.
The two wisest things I’ve ever heard came from Tom Arensmeyer, my high school math teacher — and they were barely related to math. The first is that the person who works smart gets done faster than the person who works hard. The second is that insurance is the only gamble you hope you lose (“I bet you $100 a month I’m going to get in a car accident.”)
Here are some other lessons I’ve learned:
• With few exceptions, T-shirts and bumper stickers say the same thing about their owners. The person has neither the creativity to think of the statement themselves nor the humility to keep it to themselves.
• Men are just as sensitive about appearance as women, and the proof is “Big and Tall” sections of clothing stores that don’t have clothes for tall people.
• If somebody needs more than a minute to tell you why you need a product, you don’t need the product.
• The more money one spends on camping equipment to replicate the conveniences of home, the more sense it makes to just stay home and not spend any money.
• If one side isn’t being honest, then a news report is either accurate or balanced, but not both.
• When two heterosexual men go to a movie together, there are two ways they can look ridiculous. The first is to sit next to each other in an empty theater. The second is to sit two seats from each other in a crowded theater.
• The first person who says, “This isn’t the time to assign the blame,” usually deserves the blame.
• The second person to do something is usually much more successful, because they get to learn from the