Bernhardt column: Pearls of wisdom

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 22, 2011

Once, I heard a character on a TV show make one of the wisest statements I’ve ever heard.
“Life forces a certain amount of wisdom upon you, whether you like it or not.”
That’s very true. Some things we are taught, but most of life’s lessons come at us full force, smacking us right in the face with their reality.
Today class, I thought I’d share a few things I never learned in a classroom. No sir, 56 trips around the sun have taught me these pearls of wisdom:
• When someone asks you in advance to sing at their funeral, there are more appropriate things to say than “I’ll be happy to.”
I’ve said that to at least two people. Actually, what I plan to say to the next person is, “I’m honored that you’d ask me, but I’m only available next Tuesday. If you can work it out, so can I.”
• When you read an article in the news that states “It should result in tax savings for most Americans,” they don’t mean you.
• As soon as you navigate your car into a line at your bank’s drive-through, that line will begin to move substantially slower than the other lines. Switch lines, and the line you move to will move slower.
Try it. It works without fail at fast food restaurants too.
Oh, and there is a sub-clause to this rule. Even if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the fastest moving line at your bank, the customer in front of you will want to negotiate a home loan.
• In a related note, if you’re in a hurry, the nice old lady in front of you at the grocery store is either the coupon queen with a coupon for every item she bought, or she’ll have one item they’ll have to price check, and no one at the store will be able to find it after a thirty minute search.
• “This item marked 30 percent off” means that the obscenely inflated price it carried last week has now been reduced to the slightly lower but still ridiculously high price it should’ve been marked in the first place.
• Math skills are important. Face it, if you can’t add, subtract, multiply, or divide well, you’ll never be able to manage a household budget. And if you can’t manage a budget, the only job you’ll ever be qualified for is a congressional seat.
• As you age, your hearing skills will decrease. A doctor told me why once, but I couldn’t hear him.
I’ve also learned that teenagers go through a period of hearing loss, especially between the ages of 14 and 18. I have evidence of this in that my daughter rarely hears me when I tell her what time to be home, and has never heard my repeated requests to trim the bushes in the front yard.
• If you ever have the opportunity to speak to a world leader or national celebrity, no matter how many times you rehearse what you are going to say, it will still come out of your mouth in complete gibberish and make no sense whatsoever.
Or even worse, you’ll notice during your next restroom visit that your fly was open, or you had broccoli stuck in your teeth. Either way, the celebrity or world leader will remember you as a total idiot.
• Go on a diet and lose 50 pounds, and there will still be one jerk out there who will say “Hey, you’ve put on a few pounds since the last time I saw you….heh, heh, heh.”
• Get a car with a good horn. When you need to send a terse traffic message, you want it to sing forth loud and clear. My current vehicle’s horn sounds like a groundhog with sinus trouble.
• You never have enough light bulbs. And you’ll run out just as the one you really need at the moment blows, and the grocery or hardware store closed just ten minutes ago.
• Not every man looks good with a shaved head. Some of you are out there doing nothing more than reminding me to buy more light bulbs.
• You always discover you’re out of milk AFTER you’ve poured a bowl of cereal. Then, there’s the decision: Pour it back in the box and find something else to eat, put water on it and eat it anyway, or eat it dry.
Eating it dry usually wins out for me, but after I munch on about three bites that way, I usually pour the rest back into the box.
• God has a sense of humor, especially when it comes to men. As men age, he takes great delight in taking the hair on their head away and making it grow like wildflowers on every other location of their body. That’s funny stuff in heaven.
To get his laughs from women, God created high heels.
• A campaign promise is a little like the Easter bunny. You can believe in it if you want to, but that doesn’t make it real.
• Air conditioners never break down in the winter.
While I’m on the subject, I don’t know why air conditioning repairmen don’t take over the world. We’ll do anything they want as long as they keep the cool air flowing.
• And finally, there are just too darn many squirrels in the world, and every one of them has the same job: To run out in front of your car, panic, and spend the next thirty seconds trying to decide which way to go to get out of your way. All that while you try to decide whether to jam on your breaks or just speed up and mow ‘em down.
Thus endeth the lesson. Class dismissed.
Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.