Things I haven’t learned |

Things I haven’t learned

Barry Smith

It’s my birthday this week.Traditionally on the week of my birthday I write a column about all the wisdom and insight I have amassed in my short time here on the planet. It’s usually a pretty short column, but I always felt it got the point across:I’m an Old Soul. Wise beyond my years. How do I do it? Have I been meditating on a mountain top for the past year, or what? And so on.Well, in the past year I’ve learned a lot about humility. Far more than most of you will ever know, in fact. I’d try to explain what I’ve learned, but frankly, I think it would be a little beyond you. And I mean that in a cowering, humble sort of way.So, given my newfound humility, I’ve decided that this year’s birthday column will be titled:THINGS I HAVEN’T LEARNED YET I haven’t learned to tie very many knots. I learned to tie a necktie just about 6 months ago, but there are scads of other knots – the &quotTrucker’s Hitch&quot comes to mind, as does the &quotSheep Shank&quot – that I just don’t have a clue about. Seems like those would come in handy when the bungee cords are running low. I haven’t learned to whistle. I don’t mean the little-puckered-lips-whistle-a-happy-tune whistle … of course I can do that. I mean a real whistle; a loud, commanding, manly whistle. A &quotHey you, all the way across the parking lot!&quot whistle, often done with some combination of fingers in the mouth. I can do my own cheap imitation, but I’m lucky if it can be heard by people who are actually in the same car with me, much less across a parking lot. I haven’t fully learned to pronounce certain words, like &quotbureau,&quot &quotProust,&quot and &quotCerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis.&quot I haven’t learned the difference between &quoti.e.&quot and &quote.g.,&quot though it’s been on my &quotGrammar Stuff I Should Probably Know&quot list for about six years. I have yet to learn how to not be judgmental, which is really too bad, because I know that when I see others being judgmental I tend to think they suck. Haven’t learned to heal the sick OR raise the dead. What the hell have I been doing with my time? I haven’t learned to share, play well with others, keep my hands to myself or to not eat the paste. I haven’t learned that time, age and progress are all cruel illusions, but I really hope to learn this before my next birthday rolls around, otherwise I’m pretty much a failure. I haven’t learned omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, ambidexterity, investment banking, physics, calculus, dominoes or &quotStairway to Heaven.&quot I haven’t learned that loud doesn’t mean clever, profane doesn’t mean creative, and quiet doesn’t mean boring. I haven’t learned to &quotgleek.&quot Gleeking, of course, being the act of intentionally triggering your saliva glands with your tongue, thereby sending a thread-sized arc of saliva out of your mouth and onto the page of whatever the person next to you is reading. And that, perhaps, is my biggest regret of the year.

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