Wisdom of the Aged. Er, Ages.

Random Shit I’ve Learned:

Dogs like icewater in the summer, just like people do.

The burger you get at the counter has no resemblance to the picture of the burger on the poster.

If they tell you it’s “for your own good” or “to serve you better” … it isn’t.

After you lose half your hair, the pressure’s off.

Everything mouse-sized and bigger has feelings.

The death of a loved one makes everything else small change.

Most everybody else is too busy dancing to watch how good or bad your dancing is. But you probably do suck at it. On the the other hand, the point of dancing is not to impress others.

Charity is cheaper if you do it directly.

You can’t wait for real life to start at some nebulous future date. Life has to be enjoyed every day. Get on with it.

I can overlook a lot of your peccadilloes as long as you’re self-supporting.

Never lie to a child or a dog for any reason.

The thing is, nobody really knows how things are supposed to be. As long as you don’t hurt anybody, including yourself, do the stuff that makes you happy.

In playing with your dog, it’s okay to let him win. Every time.

Little people think the way to be big is to hurt or control other people. Big people want power FOR people, rather than OVER them.

One of the nicest things about children is that they give adults an excuse to blow bubbles again.

Someday you’re going to be dead. Might as well make the best of the situation while you wait.

In court, bigger and better and higher-priced liars almost always win out over simple honesty and good faith.

Talk to children as if they were adults. Expect adults to sometimes act like children.

Human beings often go to war over their differences, despite being 99.99 percent the same.

Nobody outside Texas knows what real barbecue is.

Cats look a lot smarter than they really are.

Pretty much everybody is a well-meaning doofus. Including you and me.

No animal on earth smells worse than an unwashed human.

Not only are you not the boss of me, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even hire you as a consultant.

Fame is a cheat, because it depends more on what other people think of you than on what you think of yourself.

There are artists and there are people who say they’re artists. If you tell them you don’t understand their work and they retort that there must be something wrong with YOU, they’re probably the second type.

If you’re going to have a pet, don’t complain about a little fur on the furniture.

Money can’t buy happiness, but if you’re going to be miserable anyway, you might as well take the money.

Listen to someone closely and he’ll think you’re the brightest person he’s ever met.

The War on Drugs is like trying to put out a forest fire by doing away with Bic lighters. It’s the wrong solution. But then again, it keeps alive the richly profitable prison, lawyer and cops-and-courts industries. And hey, destroying people is a small price to pay for that, right?

Sports fanatics are idiots. But they seem to have more friends.

People who deliberately breed small, stubby-legged, brainless dogs are not really animal lovers.

Everybody farts. But when the Pope does it, nobody notices.

Some people have never had an original thought in their lives. Fortunately, they never notice.

Give people compliments.

It’s okay to be wrong.

Nobody gets enough hugs.

Cities suck. Period. But if you’re born and grow up there, you have no idea.

Your parents didn’t mean to do it to you. They were stumbling through life just like you are.

European tourists dress funny.

Nobody ever thinks it’s their own fault.

If two young people take up living together, they will both immediately assume the other one is doing the housekeeping.

If they’re selling religion, just close the door.

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About Hank Fox
  • http://www.electricminstrel.com Brett McCoy

    “One of the nicest things about children is that they give adults an excuse to blow bubbles again.”

    YES! And playing with toys in the tub or shower.

    • Old Fogey

      Why do you need a child for this? If you want to blow bubbles, then blow bubbles, fly a kite, eat an ice cream cone, paddle in the sea. Life is for enjoying, not worrying about what total strangers think.

      • http://lapalma-island.com Sheila Crosby

        I do blow bubbles, eat ice cream and paddle. But it’s time I flew a kite again.

  • machintelligence

    Hank, isn’t it about time to bundle all of these together with the “short stacks” and publish it as a book?

    • Hank Fox

      Yes it is! I’ve started working on it, but it’s a time-consuming process.

  • Happiestsadist

    Disagree with you on cities (I’m from a rural small town, moved tot he city on purpose), but otherwise, so much yes. Especially on dancing. And pets liking ice water. One of my cats loves ice cubes more than any other treat. And will steal mine out of my glass (no matter what’s in it) unless I give him his own.

    • No Light

      My black lab loved ice cubes and icewater. She had this odd habit of fishing the. veggies out of her food, dropping them in her bowl of ice water, then eating a few. pieces at a time.

      Labragod help you if you emptied her bowl out before the. veg was gone.

      Oh, and she used to
      steal ice cream. Many’s the time we walked past a sticky toddler, on a walk with their mum, and enjoying an ice cream cone.

      We’d walk past, I’d smile and make small talk, and then hear “WAH! DOGGIE!”. I’d look down on the pig, who had an innocent expression and a firmly closed mouth. Asking her to “Open wide” revealed delightful vanilla-scented breath, and set off a round of ‘chuffing*’, apparently meant to impart innocence and undying devotion.

      Yep, summer walks could be expensive!

      *canine laughter, or something very like it. Basically that sort of “fuh fuh fuh” noise that they make when they’re happy.

      • Happiestsadist

        Aww, she sounds like a truly adorable, if troublemaking dog.

        I just have to make sure Gatsby gets ice cubes of his own, or else he’ll thieve mine, regardless of the drink’s contents. You’d think bourbon would keep him away…

  • Trebuchet

    My cat disagrees with one of those. She says she’s smarter than she looks.

  • Nepenthe

    No animal on earth smells worse than an unwashed human.

    Clearly you have not smelled the inside of a snake. I’ve never met a human that actually made me retch.

    • Hank Fox

      Well, there’s your problem right there. You’re not supposed to go OPENING THEM UP.

  • fastlane

    New and improved….is rarely either.

  • Thorne

    On the the other hand, the point of dancing is not to impress others.

    Wish someone would tell me what the point IS. I’ve never been able to figure it out.

    • kennypo65

      The purpose of dancing is to make silent music with one’s body to accompany the audible music that’s there. Dancing is allowing oneself to feel music as well as hear it. So get out there on the floor and dance; you WILL be happy, even if you suck at it.

      • geocatherder

        Depends on the dancing. I have friends who are into square dancing, and they love it because it presents a three-dimensional puzzle of moving a square of four people through a series of complex moves. Apparently, success is when you can work it all out in your head in real time and just step into the end position.

  • movablebooklady

    Excuse me, but as a loyal Tarheel, I must take exception to your wildly incorrect statement about “Texas barbeque.” Yes, you can slather some kind of sauce on some roasted cow, but that don’t make it barbeque. As all right-minded folk know, barbeque is pig, roasted with a sauce (or not; the pig doesn’t really need it). Nothing better than a North Carolina pig pickin’. Come on down, y’all.

    • geocatherder

      Alas, I’m afraid you’re right. Here in California, I was once invited to a “barbecue” — and out here it means cooking food on an outdoor grill, over gas or charcoal, and often basting it with BBQ sauce. To my surprise my host, originally from North Carolina, ladled it out of a pot… and it was the most delicious meat I’ve ever eaten.

    • Hank Fox

      Could be I’m not up on modern barbecue, in Texas or anywhere else, but back when I was a kid, it was all deep pit roasted. And it could be pork, beef, chicken … anything.

      The Texas barbecue I remember, there wasn’t any “slathering on” of sauce — the sauce was part of it from beginning to end. The dark, sweet, rich sauce bonded with the meat on a molecular level, and radiated flavor out for yards in every direction.

      Texas barbecue was so good, you didn’t dare serve it at a funeral, for fear the departed would rise for one last taste. It was so good every barbecue shack was equipped with a strong fence to keep out neighborhood dogs or bears from distant mountains, as the smell of it wafted irresistibly out to them.

      It was not unheard of for wild boars and longhorn steers to come bang on those fences, apparently volunteering to be a part of such deliciousness.

      THAT’S how good Texas barbecue is.

      • movablebooklady

        My hyperbole bows to yours.

      • Kate from Iowa

        Yes, a lot has changed on the barbecue front. When I was little my uncles dug a pit in the backyard and burned it off overnight, the next morning, thier stepmother would put the foil-wrapped meat in (mostly pig, this is Iowa we’re talking about here,) and eventually (when my grandfather had finished a Texas fifth, it seemed like) we got to eat.

        We kids tended to get more McDonald’s than barbecue, unfortunately. None of us was very patient.

  • Blueaussi

    Dogs like air conditioning, as well. I have two who will sit with just their heads hanging out the dog door when they think it’s too hot to go outside. Never mind the hot air they’re letting inside, they’re staying cool *and* keeping an eye on their yard.

  • Didaktylos

    When you think about it, giving a dog ice is actually quite a good way of cooling them down – because don’t they cool their bodies by cooling the blood in their tongues?

    • No Light

      They do, yes.

      However, chasing their ice-lumps around the floor, barking at them, and getting pissed off because “WUFFOMGWUFFIT’SCOLDWUFF!” tends to negate that cooling effect.

      Oh man, I miss my dog so much. Labradog+ice+tiles= hilarity. I’m lucky to have so many amazing memories of her.

      • Happiestsadist

        Aww, sounds like you had a pretty great time with her. That’s the trouble with pets, they never stick around long enough.

  • Randomfactor

    Loving these short-stack columns.

    And hell, I live alone but I assume someone else is doing the housekeeping. It always comes as a rude shock…

    • geocatherder

      I live in a house where husband and I (no children, two sheddiferous cats) compete as to who can ignore the most egregious mess. I usually win.

    • Kate from Iowa

      Yeah, I mean really, where the fuck is the housecleaning fairy?

  • geocatherder

    Cats may not be as smart as they look, but they’re smart enough about human psychology to have us as staff. As for the rest of your statements… yes, yes, yes!

    Though I would expand the “never lie to” list to include any nonhuman critter. I’m not keen on lying to human adults, either, but if the “does this dress make me look fat?” kind of question comes my way, I’ll waffle just enough to let the questioner know I’m lying when I finally say “no”. (I can get away with that because I’m the same gender as most dress-wearers.)

  • rcs

    Heh. Even my parrot likes to play with the ice cubes in my glass.

    I get that these are short pithy commentaries on life & people, but this one “I can overlook a lot of your peccadilloes as long as you’re self-supporting.” kind of sticks in my craw. Could you unpack it a little? It seems to say by converse that if you need help getting by, you’re not allowed to make mistakes. Am I not getting the sense of this one?

  • Nora

    My neighbor’s dog learned to operate the ice dispenser in the fridge door. They had to turn it off. Mine appear underfoot as soon as the first ice cube hits the glass.

  • c2t2

    Oooh, I like a bunch of these, too!

    Dogs like icewater in the summer, just like people do.

    I agree with the person who mentioned ice cubes + linoleum. Dog vs ice cube is endlessly entertaining.

    The burger you get at the counter has no resemblance to the picture of the burger on the poster.

    Damn straight. I just assume everything I see in advertising – people, food, products – are computer-generated lies. I am always right.

    Most everybody else is too busy dancing to watch how good or bad your dancing is. But you probably do suck at it. On the the other hand, the point of dancing is not to impress others.

    Is this based off the Dave Barry list? (“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.”)

    You can’t wait for real life to start at some nebulous future date. Life has to be enjoyed every day. Get on with it.

    Wish I’d figured that out waaaaaay sooner.

    Never lie to a child or a dog for any reason.

    As in: Your macaroni art is terrible and you will never become an astronaut, make the Olympics, or be anything but utterly ordinary?

    There’s a damn good reason (or two, or ten) that I don’t have kids.

    The thing is, nobody really knows how things are supposed to be. As long as you don’t hurt anybody, including yourself, do the stuff that makes you happy.

    My inner editor is twitching, desperately wanting to fix the first sentence. How about “There is no grand plan for your life”?

    In playing with your dog, it’s okay to let him win. Every time.

    As long as you don’t let him victory-hump your leg afterward.

    Someday you’re going to be dead. Might as well make the best of the situation while you wait.

    In court, bigger and better and higher-priced liars almost always win out over simple honesty and good faith.

    Both are depressing and true.

    No animal on earth smells worse than an unwashed human.

    It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a wet dog who was recently skunked. I assume it’s been even longer for you.

    Not only are you not the boss of me, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even hire you as a consultant.

    Whoops, sorry about my twitchy inner editor thing earlier.

    If you’re going to have a pet, don’t complain about a little fur on the furniture.

    “Pets put the ‘fur’ in furniture” Is my new favorite saying.

    • Hank Fox

      “It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a wet dog who was recently skunked. I assume it’s been even longer for you.”

      All my dogs got skunked, one time or another. I was specifically thinking of skunks when I made up that saying. Skunk smell is strong and objectionable, no doubt, but it’s just one of nature’s smells — you deal with it.

      I’m going to counter-assume it’s been a while since you met a human a week or two past his last bath. If there was an odor-version of nuclear weapons, something that would leave skunks retiring from the field in shame, we humans would have it.

      In fact, I’d bet one of the reasons we survived our time in the wilds is because a pack of wolves coming on a lone human would be confused about whether they should eat him or roll in him. Half the time they rolled in him and then trotted away happily stinky. The man probably slunk away afterwards and never told the others.

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda—damn climate change!

    Some cats like an ice-cube in their water bowl so they can play with it.

  • tbell

    I have a theory that it’s good to tell small lies to children, to inoculate them against all the bigger lies that they’ll encounter as they grow up. It took me years to figure out all the tall tales and bull that my uncles used to feed me, but I credit them with helping me develop a skeptical attitude.

    • Hank Fox

      But don’t you have to wonder what it would have been like if your uncles (and parents, and other family and friends) had told you the truth all the time? And then just TOLD you that some (other) people would lie to you?

      I actually remember how I felt when I discovered my parents had lied to me about Santa Claus. I was confused and angry about it for a long time after. Years later, thinking about it, I thought it would be nice if there was ONE place in the world where you could trust you’d never be lied to. That place would be home.

      • tbell

        It’s an interesting scenario you put forth. I don’t have any way to know or test it, but complete honesty throughout childhood might have been interesting. My parents really didn’t bullshit me that much really though. I worked out that Santa Claus was bogus because my Dad played Santa at the local schools sometimes, and I recognized him by his shoes when he came to our 1st grade class. No one close to me really lied about anything important when I was young. And it really infuriates me when someone does as an adult…
        Maybe I’ve got it backwards. I’m a skeptic because I got used to (mostly) honesty, and I *hate* being lied to now. Either that or it’s just an innate temperament thing.

  • http://promethics.wordpress.com Dalillama

    Charity is cheaper if you do it directly.

    This one’s patently untrue, and even casual reasearch into the efficacy pf charity reveals this. Doing it directly runs into problems of scale, scope, and knowledge of need.

    No animal on earth smells worse than an unwashed human.

    Camels. That is all.

    People who deliberately breed small, stubby-legged, brainless dogs are not really animal lovers

    Many small stubby dogs were bred that way for a reason, and being small and stubby helps.

    Cities suck. Period. But if you’re born and grow up there, you have no idea.

    Combination of personal opinion and experience with really crap cities. Urban planning works wonders

    Your parents didn’t mean to do it to you. They were stumbling through life just like you are.

    With some parents, that doesn’t count as an excuse.

  • Hbart

    I’d like to add that some dogs also like bubbles. My dog Cala, specifically, is one. Lazy lump that she is, mostly she has to be dragged out for a walk, but just show her the bubble bottle…..
    Before I met Cala, I’d never seen a dog jump quadruple her own height.

  • Olav

    I will just pick two:

    Everything mouse-sized and bigger has feelings.

    Animals smaller than mice have feelings, too. Less noticeable to us, but not less important to them.

    European tourists dress funny.

    Ha. I mean: Bwahahaha!

    I can always spot the Americans in Amsterdam, or any European city, from 100m away.

    Tourists always dress funny.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    My dog would never touch his water bowl if I put an ice cube in it.

    In the summer.

    In Florida.

  • http://tinyurl.com/d8pej2d Myrtis Palms

    Good nutrition is key to a healthy pet. Insuring that they receive the recommended amounts of the proper nutrients is your job!