Wear sunscreen and other advice

The following post is from eight years ago, but still resonates, at least to this old guy. I hope you will agree

Back in the late 1990s, there was a song that was quite popular with the young crowd. Song is too generous. It is basically an old guy like me who gave words of advice from the perspective of someone who had made more mistakes than the younger listeners primarily because he had more years behind him than they had. The kids called it “The Sunscreen Song” as it started and ended with those words of advice – wear sunscreen.

So, in this spirit, I offer some words of advice, which may be helpful or may just be redundant. Hopefully, the reader will find some benefit in a one or two comments. So, in no particular order, here are a few thoughts from an old fart.

Context is everything. Please try to understand the context of everything you hear or read. Anyone can be made foolish by taking their words out of context.

Spin doctor is a nice euphemism for “paid liar.” Don’t ever forget it is the job of the spin doctor to perfume any pig. See the above about context.

Try to understand the source of information. Is it reputable? There is a lot of uncensored data on the Internet which is not worth the binary code it is written in. Also, be even more wary of politicians who cite data. Many surveys are sponsored by political parties under mainstream names.

You can be too connected. Folks, take a break and stop looking at your I-phone. Companies love the fact that you are doing your job at 10 pm or on vacation – don’t. Trust me it will still be there when you return or better yet, someone else will solve an issue that was not that important to begin with.

It is not possible to be texting or on the I-phone while driving and not be distracted. Full stop. The show “Mythbusters” did a neat driving test which showed you could drive better slightly inebriated than when on a cellphone.

Just because you can does not mean that you should. Computers and I-phones have enabled us to do wondrous things. Yet, they also provide temptations to do things that you probably should not do. Computer actions leave interesting trails, so your employer or significant other can see when you are given in to temptations.

Getting elected to public office costs way too much money. So, politicians need funders to get elected. As a result, the best a politician can be is mildly subjective. This is the best case for term limits I can make. Maybe the backers would not contribute as much if their return on investment is time limited.

Be careful with your personal information. You have to be zealous in guarding against your information being compromised. ID theft is a painful process to remedy. Be careful in what you put in the public domain. It is very easy to get to. I have been down that road several times to keep the wolves at bay.

Your name is the most important asset you have. Quoting Liam Neeson in the movie “Rob Roy,” “honor is a gift you give yourself.” What do you want people to say about you when they hear your name spoken? He is a good man or he is a jerk.

While it is important to work, do not let it define who you are. I work hard, but when I had a health scare a few years ago and was in the ER with wires attached to me waiting for my wife to show up, I can assure you I did not think of work. I was thinking of my family.

Don’t play the lottery. If you have the urge, just give the money to a person in need instead. You will feel better about it and they will benefit. If you play it, you are just throwing money out the car window.

Laugh at yourself. When you make mistakes, it will make it easier on you and others. Also, if you do screw up, apologize and make it right. You won’t regret remedying an error.

Find out what you love to do and find a way to get paid doing it. Sometimes you may have to try on different jobs to discover this.

You can never have enough cups of coffee with people. Meet people, listen to them. Life is more enjoyable over conversations. Also, remember, you have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion. You are not as smart as you think you are, so listening makes all the difference.

Tell someone you love to have a good day and ask how it was at the end of it. Those little questions day in day out matter.

Finally, quoting Ted from the movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” – “Be excellent to one another and party on dude.” The best rule Jesus gave us was golden. It still makes sense today. And, have fun because life is too short.

15 thoughts on “Wear sunscreen and other advice

  1. I have used that sunscreen song several times over the years in my English classes here in Germany, for listening comprehension and as a conversation starter.

    • Nemorino, well done. You picked a good song for both. I remember my children, nieces, nephews and their friends being keenly interested in the lessons. Danke schoen. Keith

  2. re being too connected: I am actually procrastinating on playing a (single player) game I used to happily run for hours. The off-duty work I do is mostly stuff that should _not_ wait, things that may put people at risk and it would be disgraceful to expect them to put up with it until “regular business hours”. That said, I’m in the civil service, so The Man doesn’t get a performance bonus or stock options because I’m doing this. In a private company, I hope I would be much firmer.

    I don’t agree with term limits as an absolute (California type) but something like “you must get 55/60/65 percent of the vote this time”, or “the legislators with the 5 longest continuous services have to sit the next N term(s) out”, or “for any N back to back terms, you must sit one out”. Elective executives can be subject to more stringent rules on account of their default power.

    Computers et al are ideal improvements on log tables, slide rules, and graphical estimations (for example). They absolutely do not justify blind confidence or refusal to check their work. I recall predictions of satisfactory performance from existing models being used to justify subprime mortgage issuing and/or collateralized debt obligations, though the assumptions made in them were not at all valid that time around and could have been shown as such. (With respect to knowing the context, the sleeper effect has struck me again, so I request this be considered a morality story and not historical fact.)

    The less of any information you disclose, the better. You can’t avoid people in person knowing some things, but those are unimportant. However, as a Twitter user (whose post I can’t find now, so am paraphrazing) put it, “the best way to stay secure online is to regularly change your birthdate and mother’s maiden name.” I’ve long ago stopped telling anyone who doesn’t have a real need what day I was born on. At work, all birthdays were celebrated monthly. This was for convenience, but identity protection was an unintended positive externality (economics) / consequence (psychology).

    [Longer post than expected but there is alot in yours too so there. (; (;]

    • Many thanks for the contribution. Term limits are a dicey thing. Two terms with a Senator is twelve years and that is plenty in my book. I think twelve years for a House member is plenty, as well. Since a 1/3 of their time or more is raising money, that means we get eight years of service.

      Twitter is ideal for uninformed audience and writer, like the president. He does not need to know much to tweet, and with 20,000 lies and counting, he is tweeting out lies for the most part.

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