54 Random Thoughts About 54 Random Years

I celebrated my 54th birthday the other day, but I’m not ready to be pigeonholed into dad-humor. If you’re wandering aimlessly as well, maybe this list will save you some time.

Here’s what I’ve learned while dreaming my days away.

1. Why do retail clerks and restaurant servers smile when they apologize for being out of an item? Either they aren’t really sorry, or they never practiced making faces in front of a mirror when they were kids.

2. Revising history based on new discoveries that help us understand our past more thoroughly is a good thing. Rewriting it to fit with our current circumstances is Orwellian.

3. Dogs have life figured out, and they know we don’t. That’s why they look at us with sad eyes.

4. If you want to teach Americans how to recycle, tell them to be more like Hollywood.

5. Politics is showbusiness for ugly people, and Mitch McConnell is concrete proof.

6. Every animal should come complete with its own cartoon sound.

7. Speaking of cartoons, no amount of technical capability can replace well-developed characters and a good plot line.

a. Corollary: If you want your children to understand the above, you should only allow them to watch cartoons created pre-1980.

8. I’ve been asking myself every year on my birthday what I did with the previous year, and every year my non-answers get longer.

9. When I see parents happily engaged with their teenage children, I wonder where I went wrong. Then I realize they are actors, and someone paid them to look joyful in front of me.

10. Watching an animal up close in the wild is better entertainment than anything that’s ever been on television or the internet — except for maybe The Love Boat.

11. You’d have to pay me $500 to watch a meaningless, mid-season baseball game on television, but I’d gladly pay $500 to watch it sitting behind one of the dugouts.

12. The best piece of advice my father ever gave me was, “Never argue with crazy. It doesn’t get you anywhere.”

13. Old growth trees need to be protected because they are the closest thing North America has to a history.

14. For 30 years, Democrats have been promising to retrain hard working people with 20th century jobs for new careers. Why do we think it’s going to work any better in year 31? Time for Plan B.

15. 30 years of well-meaning futility doesn’t look so bad when you compare it to their opposition, the Snidley Whiplash of political parties, whose entire economic premise is blaming poor, brown people who make $2/hour to convince poor, white people to vote against their own self-interest.

16. If you hate the level of discourse today, look back to the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine and corporate decisions to force news rooms to be a profit center instead of a public good.

17. Whenever I trip over something, I make it look like I was starting to jog so I look active instead of clumsy.

18. The louder a woman gets when arguing, the more likely it is she’s lying.

19. Men are exponentially easier to catch in a lie because they can’t remember what they said five minutes ago. This is the real reason there are more men in prison.

20. NASCAR doesn’t bother me that much because I can fall asleep anywhere.

21. Never stop reading children’s books, even after your children are grown.

22. Seven-year-old tattle tales and global tyrants deploy the exact same psychological warfare on their opponents.

23. Human evolution will be a success if it rids our brains of confirmation bias.

24. Demystifying and democratizing institutions doesn’t necessarily improve their quality.

25. I’ve always been a smart ass. It used to be called obnoxiousness. Now that I’m older, it’s referred to as being wry. I take both as a compliment.

26. Don’t shut out people who disagree with you, unless they are rude. That’s what social media is for.

27. I will never stop eating dairy as long as there is whipped cream to be consumed.

28. The most ferocious competition in life will always be between greed and fear.

29. If there is a God, he/she hates the Buffalo Bills.

30. Men: if two women are arguing, the worst thing you can do is insert yourself.

31. Women: Boys don’t understand the concept of a grudge. This explains the success of The Three Stooges.

32. Historians will note the War on Drugs was the first time in history a nation underwrote both sides and still managed to lose.

33. One political party control of any jurisdiction for an extended period will always breed intellectual laziness and incompetence.

34. Term limits are not a panacea for the above. People get the government they deserve.

35. Everything in the world has become a conspiracy, yet no one questions the internet being made for cats.

36. If future civilizations discover us, they will note we regressed to a language made up solely of “1’s” and “0’s,” and they will wonder why academics said Sesame Street was so influential.

37. Wouldn’t life be more fun if instead of having our packages delivered by Amazon, we had they delivered by Acme?

38. Cataloging the mistakes you made raising your children is much easier if you sing it to “99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall.”

39. Everyone who still denies or funds climate change denial efforts should be forced to host a polar bear in their bathtub to see how the earth’s natural cycle plays itself out.

40. If we are to declare a 51st state, we should name it the State of Paranoia and let it self-populate.

41. Every child should have a pet. It inevitably ends up more work for you, and you end up more heartbroken than the kids when it dies, but the lessons it teaches them are invaluable.

42. Pop Tarts are nature’s most perfect food.

43. The only cult I could ever belong to is the Order of Wegmans. (That was for my mom.)

44. How do you call yourself the pro-life party when you’re willing to write off the deaths of 170,000 people due to a pandemic?

45. Democrats have long been the party of winding explanations, yet as champions of diversity, we don’t seem to be able to get beyond “It’s a good thing.”

46. Because you are busy doesn’t mean you are doing anything with your life. The next time you’re asked, say, “I’m trying to write the headline for my obituary. How about you?”

47. The best piece of mail you can get is an unexpected handwritten letter.

48. When I say, “We need to fix something,” I mean “you have to fix it.”

49. If I was a pioneer, I would’ve turned my wagon around and headed back to the city, telling anyone who would listen, “There’s nothing to see.”

50. We try way too hard to encase ourselves in a plastic bubble of protection when what we really should be aiming for is a mesh encased trampoline.

51. I defy anyone to come up with three more compelling words in the history of television than, “Exact words, Marcia.”

52. Artisans are costumed actors you meet at the Medieval Fair, not the guy who temperature checks the beer vat at the brewery down the street.

53. If your pet is named after a Greek God, philosopher, or Ivy League college, you’re probably an over-educated liberal.

54. If you want to bait a contrarian, ask them how to fix something, and then disagree with their solution.

Plus a bonus for my 55th circle around the sun…

55. I want Hollywood to make an action movie where the three anti-heroes — a Russian, a Nazi, and an aristocratic Brit — join forces to try to knock off a gruff but family loving, honest New York City cop for no particular reason other than they’re tired of the genre.

Brand braggadocio and message minstrel for groundbreakers. Recovering politico. Bibliophile and Borscht-belt Jew.

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