I don’t know if this country is coming apart, if we’ve finally found the thread that will unravel us as a people and a nation.
I don’t blame guns for killings any more than I blame forks and spoons for obesity.
I don’t pine for the good old days, for that gauzy, romanticized myth that was Ozzie and Harriet.
I do know that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart.
I know that language matters.
I know art is important. Long-term, it is art that endures, not wealth, not might. Art is how we know the ancient civilizations that have come before us. It is how we know Persia and the Aztecs, how we know early Rome and the ancient Egyptians. I know you’ll be happier if you keep art in your life.
I know a good dog will always be glad to see you. On days when you’ve run the world away, nothing beats a good dog.
I know you’ll be happier if, from time to time, you commit an irrational act of kindness. Be exceedingly kind to someone who least expects it. Make yourself do it. It will come back to you over and over again.
I know you will find a wonderful sense of inner wellbeing if you live below your means. Less really is more where material things are concerned. It is a great blessing in life to want what you have.
I know the best, fastest way to be shed of people who annoy you is to loan them money.
I know you ought to call your mama once in a while. You owe her. It is the least you can do. Call your mama.
I know you shouldn’t waste your time reading trash. Amazon lists over a million titles. If you read a book a week throughout your life, you’re going to have time to read about 2000. Don’t waste your time on trash. Read 2000 good books.
If you never read another thing in your life, I know you ought to read Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
I know you don’t get any brains until you’re 50. I don’t care how smart you are, or how much education you have, you don’t know jack until you’re 50.
I know you’ll feel better if you speak to the people who wait on you. Speak with kindness and respect to those who serve you. And don’t just speak to them. Thank them. They have lives. They’re human beings, too. It is not asking a lot. Speak to them. The only difference between you and them is one of circumstance.
I know that if you need a cheap lawyer or a cheap accountant, you don’t need a lawyer or an accountant. Cheap lawyers and cheap accountants get you into more trouble than they can get you out of.
I know diversity is a strength. Some people think diversity is a weakness. They are mistaken. It is no accident that the stones in a concrete mix are different shapes and sizes. Our differences give us strength. Our differences make us strong.
Some people think they gain strength when they take it away from those around them. I know they are misguided. We become stronger when we raise up and give strength to the people around us.
I know laughter is a good thing, and I know conventional wisdom is mostly just conventional. Not much wisdom to it.
Never go to bed mad with your spouse? Better to stay up and fight?
I don’t think so.
I know familiarity with the social graces won’t kill you. I know the fork goes on the left, the knife and spoon on the right. I know it’s a good idea to put the seat down when you’re done.
I know consensus and compromise are the coin of discourse in polite company of late, but I know, too, you should be careful when you reach for it. It’s not hard to get ten people to agree to do something stupid.
Not hard at all.