I would calculate that roughly half to three quarters of my conversations with my teenage children regard how to behave sensibly and avoid making stupid mistakes that you will regret later. I possess a Swiss army knife of advice, including these: bring water; a light sweater will help if the a/c is too high; the sun is low so wear a brimmed hat; hold the railing on these stairs.
That I'm mostly ignored when I say these things is no surprise. After hearing dad issue the same advice over and over, the value of the words has decreasing benefit. Indeed, after a while I begin to think that I should start to use "reverse psychology." Psychologists have a word for this: "psychology." There is nothing reverse about it. But anyway, in order to get my teens to bring water, I might say "whatever you do, don't bring water." To hell with Dad and his stupid advice! I'm bringing gallons of water! And sunscreen!
Of course, I'm a classic "do as I say not as I do" type of person. OK, mostly not – I tend to bring a rolling suitcase of items I might need "just in case" when I make a five-minute trip to the park. But occasionally, I could use my own advice. To wit, this morning I woke up in the middle Quebec City (awakened by chickens out the back window, no less), and excited for the day and wishing to give my wife some extra sleep to recover from our fancy dinner than ended at 11:30 PM, gathered all my stuff – shorts, a sweater, my backpack, my wallet, my watch – and then tried to sneak down the stairs carrying these things, which left me unable to hold the railing. You can imagine what happened next.
Somehow, falling down a flight of uncarpeted wooden steps left me with just a few very minor injuries. I seem to have the same number of teeth and eyes that I had yesterday, all bones are intact, and I managed to acquire just a few new battle scars.
Lesson learned: prior to offering advice to your teens, practice saying your piece in front of a mirror.
One thing that drives me nuts is when people are texting just fine and then, suddenly, they decide to pull out their car. It's like, wait a minute! You're texting. Don't you think you should be more focused?
No one will feel worse than you if you hurt someone because you weren't focused on your texting. It may seem like you're safe and in control, but all it takes is a split second of turning your attention to steering and braking for autocorrect to change your message from "I love u" to "I loathe u." And because you continue to be distracted by driving, you don't even realize that you've done this, wounding your friend or your mom or that person you've been admiring on Tinder.
It can wait. You can drive when you're done texting.
Someone should stage a dramatic reading of a play about one man's struggle to outfit himself with excellent and colorful golf knickers, which he believes is the only thing that stands between him and golf greatness.
Confounded by supply-chain and color-scheme issues, he tries but fails to outfit himself appropriately, which he tells his wife of some twenty years is the only reason he hasn't been able to join the tour. They live on a golf course because back in the day he convinced his then-fiancée, who knew less about golf that you do, that he was destined to be a touring pro, and she wanted to believe him because it sounded really awesome to be the wife of a guy who spends 100% of his time living out of suitcases and never seeing the kids.
Over time the woman comes to see that her husband has delusions of grandeur, since they live on the fairway of a short par 5 hole and she is able to spy him whack at the ball 8 or 9 times before it reaches the green. She hacks into his account at the country club they spend way too much money to be members of and sees that he possesses a 30+ handicap at the age of forty, and confronts him about it. "Of course, I have a 30+ handicap!" he hollers. "I don't have proper golf gear."
At her wits' end, she pulls out her mom's old Singer sewing machine and fashions the loudest, most ridiculous golf knickers she can conceive of, made of red fabric embroidered with little golf clubs and balls and bags, which she presents to him for his birthday, mostly as a joke. But he doesn't take it as a joke, donning the gear and heading straight for the first hole, where, as the lights dim all around except for a spotlight on him, a voice from the ether call his name to tee off at the US Open.
Question: should I first seek out a membership at a private golf club for the purposes of "research"?