About James

As a citizen of the planet with access to the worldwide web, I am in a unique position to maintain a blog.  I feel, therefore, that I would be remiss if I did not.

I was born in Minnesota and have, thus far, seen no good reason to leave.  I lived in a mobile home for most of my childhood and attended public school.  Both of these facts have made me supremely cynical.  I like tea.

Since the dawn of time, humans have asked, “Why are we here?”  “What does all this mean?” and “What’s for dinner?”  This blog attempts to answer those questions and trillions of others.

Here are 41 things I have learned in the 41 years of my life:

1. The only thing to truly dislike about winter is anything involving cars.

2. If, when trying to get to know you, the first thing someone asks you about is your job, you don’t need to bother with them.

3. It’s almost always a good idea to document: if you have to call a customer service hot-line, get everyone’s name…if you enter into an agreement, get a contract…if someone tells you something important, write it down.

4. You can’t really ever put too much butter on banana bread.

5. It’s easier, safer, and it’s a lot less weird to hold a glow-in-the-dark condom up to the light before you put it on.

6. People marry people that look like them.

7. Creating films is quite possibly the most frustrating hobby invented.

8. In general, to get the best products and services, go with the smallest company possible. Thus, farmer’s markets trump co-ops trump supermarkets trump mega-stores.

9. Given the choice between knowing and not knowing, it’s better to know. Except when it comes to people’s private lives.

10. You should probably check your order before you pull away from the drive-thru window ’cause, man, they never get it right. On the other hand, it’s probably a good policy to just not eat from places that have a drive-thru window.

11. The lower the quality of music, the more insistent its fans are that they share that music with others. Usually by blaring it out a trunk that’s been refitted as a subwoofer.

12. If you provide responses that are more precise than what is expected, people will think you’re weird.

13. Surround yourself with books wherever you go: leave one in the bathroom, in the car, at your job; and bring one when you go to the dentist. You never know when you’re gonna have time to read and reading, above all else, is pretty much the perfect pastime.

14. Whether it’s a certain genre of movies or a type of beverage, once you become a true fan you actually begin to like the majority of it less, because you become so critical and discerning that you no longer find enjoyment in just anything belonging to your favorite category.

15. The amount of automation in life is sufficient, thank you very much.

16. A possession’s useful value is slowly replaced with sentimental value. There is thus a narrow window of opportunity in which to discard it.

17. You might think it’s a good idea to bring a large metal mixing bowl in the car with you when your sick, nauseous friend is sitting in the passenger seat and is afraid he’s gonna throw up. But it’s only a good idea if you wish to see the vomit land in the bowl, arc out the other side, and spray out onto your dashboard. If you pass by a Burger King on the way home, you can run in and ask for some napkins to clean up the mess, but they’ll only give you three or four. You can try to roll down the windows, but that gag reflex just won’t quit. Also, you might think using the cigarette lighter to burn a tissue is a good way to mitigate the vomit stench, but then you’ll just be left with a fire in your car.

18. When it comes to music, movies, books, and even friends, you decide on your favorites when you’re in your late teens, and you pretty much just stick with that.

19. There is no such thing as a quiet neighbor.

20. There is no such thing as a good caged pet.

21. There is no such thing as “getting pregnant by accident.”

22. God might exist, but only in the same way that Santa, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, Sasquatch, and the magic pixies under my chair might also exist.

23. Regardless of the quality of the toilet, those pipes are narrow. Flush often.

24. You can spank your kids and declaw your cats. Or you can get off your lazy ass and actually put some effort into training them.

25. It is far better to call someone a friend than to call them a brother or sister (or any other familial term). There is no compulsion to automatically feel close to someone simply because you share a recent ancestor. The closeness comes in choosing to be someone’s friend.

26. Formal education reaches its nadir in junior high school.

27. The scary thing about big events in your life is not the prospect that you will change so much, but the fact that everything around will change while you will be left, essentially the same person, trying to fit your sameness into all the changes.

28. If your feet are not sore, throbbing, swollen, or cramping, they are cold. Even if they are sweating.

29. There are about three days of perfect weather every year. Enjoy them.

30. If an estranged friend calls you out of the blue one day and says he’d like to get together with you again, it’s worth a shot.

31. If you decide, early on, that you enjoy something, people will nod and say “good for you.” If you decide, early on, that you don’t like something, people will say “oh, well you haven’t given it enough time.” But no one ever has a clear idea of what the ideal time frame is.

32. You can’t really know how well (or poorly) your parents did at raising you until you have children of your own.

33. If you want someone to join in an activity with you, just ask them once. If they don’t respond, there’s no need to badger them. They either didn’t care enough about the activity or about you to respond.

34. Don’t ever, ever move in with someone or let someone live with you merely out of financial convenience. Just assume that anyone who lives with you has no plans to contribute towards the cost of the home and sees no reason to move out anytime soon. Because that’s how it always is.

35. It’s important to protect people’s memory of and at important events; do your part to ensure they have satisfying memories of things such as their wedding day, the birth of their children, or their birthdays.

36. I’m addicted to tea.

37. If someone is indebted to you in some way – such as because they owe you money, or they have to return something they borrowed from you, or they agreed to help you with a task, or they made you some sort of promise – expect to be disappointed. Almost no one really cares about commitments they’ve made or debts they’ve incurred.

38. There’s little point in setting goals because, even in the off-chance that you achieve it, you’ll just be left thinking, “Huh…was that all?”

39. Multi-step instructions, such as those found in invitations and emails, are beyond the comprehension of most people.

40. Lists are awesome.

41. Trying to boil your life down to a list of 37 items in an off-the-cuff, spur-of-the-moment fashion is, at best, silly.

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