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So Now You Know

Jun
9
2006

There is an old Italian saying that goes, “Only the spoon knows what’s going on at the bottom of the pot.”
Basically it means don’t judge and don’t give advice unless you know every aspect of a situation, which you probably don’t, so shut up. Only it sounds nicer in Italian. And it rhymes.
That being said, there are, though, some universal truths that actually exist. But because my family ascribed to the above, I was never informed of the written-in-stone adages.
And so, as a public service, I present to you Things I Wish I’d Known Ahead of Time (The Short List, sadly):
1. When you have babies and toddlers there will be people with grown children who will “advise” you on areas where you perceive you are having problems. Their suggestions will sound flawless and you will get the impression that, while their spawn were every bit as challenging as yours, their brilliance in parenting was the only thing that saved the little beasts from the psychiatrist’s couch or incarceration. You will feel like a dolt.
Just know that they are speaking from the safety of having completed the parenting task and knowing the outcome. And they are the editor’s of their story. They were just as unsure and made just as many mistakes as you, no matter what they want to lead you to believe.
Besides, have you actually met their children?
2. 22-year-olds: The age of 33 is not old. There is still time at age 33 to change careers, be attractive and have ideas that are not out-of date.
If you are 33: Same as above for the age of 44.
If you are 44: Learn the above like a mantra.
3. Ice cream, pie and donuts are not scarce. They will always be there. You don’t have to eat them all at one time.
4. The odds are the guy with the cool car and the great clothes before the age of 30 is self-absorbed, short-sighted and in debt up to his ears. Look for the scruffy guy with the Dodge Dart.
Just trying to save you some time.


5. Even though your extended family swears “it shouldn’t take a funeral for us to get together,” it will.
6. Your 17-year-old is speeding and the sound system while he or she drives is way too loud. I don’t care what he or she told you.
And the police did not have a quota or have it out for someone else with the same car.
7. Around the time you hit 40 years old, you will go crazy. You will hate everything and everyone around you. You will regret every decision you ever made. You will think you are viewing your life with clarity when, in fact, you are simply mourning the options you gave up with the choices you made.
Do nothing drastic for awhile. Hang on to your marriage, don’t quit your day job, don’t sign your kids over to a guardian, don’t max out the credit cards to go to Bali and, for God’s sake, don’t color your hair an extreme color, especially if you are a guy (we’ve all got to look at you and keep a straight face).
Sanity will return in a year or so. If your spouse is still unbearable, your job is still a stinking den of hypocrisy and your kids are still headed for rehab, at least you’ll have had time to save up for the trip to Bali.
But jet black hair on just about anyone over 45 is just wrong, even if he was the cutest Beatle.
8. When you order an item of clothing from a catalogue, the next publication you receive from that company will feature that very same item at 50 percent off . It will appear next to hot pink pedal pushers embroidered with a lime green dragon, gold sequined bedroom slippers and all the other mutant clothing no one else had the bad taste to order.
9. If you are married to a Virginia Tech graduate, the Hokie Pokie really is what it’s all about. Just breathe deeply, live with the logo toilet seat cover and go to the library on fall afternoons.
10. Even if you think it’s cute and funny that your kindergartener thinks the song “I Love Paris” is “I Love Carrots,” tell her the right words before she performs it in front of her entire class or she will find herself being laughed at by her peers, a trauma so intense she will find it necessary to consume copious amounts of Starbuck’s Coffee Ice Cream whenever confronted with public appearances of any kind, even if it’s 44 years later and no one but she can remember the song “I Love Paris.”
Trust me on this.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 8:57 AM | Permalink

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