Opinion column: Lessons from summer

By Steve Kline

As your ever-faithful eye to the world, watchdog of justice and proprietor of the lowest common denominator, I’ve spent my summer learning the mysteries of the world. I’ve hypothesized, experimented, reaffirmed the results and will pass universal truths – such as “what will get you fired from multiple jobs” – onto you, John (or Joan) Q. Public. Use this to astound friends of your profound grasp of nature’s laws.

Lesson 1: Never start lawn mowers on gravel. I cannot stress this enough.

Lesson 2: When taking on other landscaping duties, learn the difference between expensive foliage and weeds. “I guess this will be funny in retrospect” doesn’t pay the bills.

Lesson 3: The price of furniture is inversely proportional with its ability to survive falling out of a pickup truck at 40 mph. This same ratio can be used to measure how rare a furnishing is with its propensity to hop out of a truck and get dragged through the pavement by bungee cords.

Lesson 4: Remember the existence of taxes when you spend a paycheck before receiving it.

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Lesson 5: Forget the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer, biochemistry degrees or wealth accumulation. The Greek population only holds one person on a pedestal. This person is the pizza guy.

When you look into a room with a pizza box and know – just know – that any one of these well-groomed people would proudly take a bullet for you, it’s a fuzzy feeling.

Lesson 6: No, you will not wake up in three hours for an early shift … moron.

Lesson 7: In the same vein: Despite convincing advertisements that will convince you otherwise, Samuel Adams sometimes is a bad choice.

Lesson 8: If it looks flammable, then it should be good enough for you. Not every mystery of the universe needs experimentation.

Lesson 9: If there is a God, It is a vengeful deity. No merciful God would make you choose between saving the beer or saving the oars when a canoe tips.

Lesson 10: When you’re late for work, rush. But in the midst of the chaos, don’t forget to update your LiveJournal so others know how late you are and how much the boss is going to kill you. You also must check all your friends’ new LiveJournal postings and make comments when you see fit.

Lesson 11: Some people appreciate Iron Maiden band members for who they are, rock gods. Some see them as pointless, throwback cock rock. Avoid these people. They are not good people. For example: You’ve never heard of a meter maid that enjoys the sublime harmonic musings of Iron Maiden, have you? If you’re sitting on the fence on the Iron Maiden issue, I’ve got one piece of evidence which would convince the most diehard Eliot Smith (ha!) fans. You remember that “Saturday Night Live” skit with Christopher Walken playing Bruce Dickinson? Blue Oyster Cult? “I’ve got a fever … and the only prescription … is more cowbell.” Bruce Dickinson leads Iron Maiden. The Bruce Dickinson; the man who will put you in “gold-plated diapers.”

Lesson 12: Look, I don’t care how early it is – take a damn shower. Otherwise, customers will smell what you did last night long after you’ve clocked out. Take heed, dear reader, as my final lesson is the most important one I’ll ever write or ever have written. Memorize the following words:

Lucky Lesson 13: When a friend suggests you boil water to make a large pasta dish, everybody wins. When a friend (especially if this friend is a bartender named Andy) suggests you boil water to play a rousing game of “Too Hot For The Crotch,” nobody wins. Nobody.

And there you go John (or Joan, yes, thank you “PCU”) Q. Public, my summer of hardship for the sake of journalism. If it all goes according to plan and no arrests are made, I’ll bestow this kind of wisdom throughout the year in a weekly series of age-centric columns.

Steve Kline is a senior in journalism. His column runs Mondays. He can be reached at [email protected]