February 20th, 2002

A Few Things I Have Learned In My 31 Years On This Planet:

1. Rather than bitching about things I have no power to change about the world, I opt to get proactive within my own community. I volunteer spare time with Habitat For Humanity. Does it matter to me as an Atheist that this is a Christian organization? No, not in light of the fact that the time I spend with my hands and my sweat is helping someone out who is in NO way as lucky as I am, their belief system makes them no more or less deserving of affordable housing.

2. I volunteer time and make donations of food, clothing, and appliances to my local nonprofit homeless shelter, also a Christian organization. Whether Christian or not, no one should do without food in my community when I have leftovers every single time I cook, a full pantry and a full fridge. No one should do without clothes when I have things in my closet I have never even worn before.

3. I do not believe in censorship, so I support a person's right to say whatever they feel, though it may make me sick to my stomach and I may completely disagree with them. What I CAN do, however, is promote my own beliefs, morals, and values and open people to a different point of view. No one has to believe as I do; but it would be nice for them to understand where I was coming from instead of actively dismissing me before the chance to educate them.

4. Words cannot hurt you unless you allow them to have that kind of power, and if you are offended by such petty things, then you need to borrow one of my thick skins. I have one for all seasons and days of the week.

5. There is nothing so satisfying as knowing that you did everything you could do to make a positive impact on something before you invariably have to just walk away.

6. Children are to be celebrated and nurtured, showered with affection and respect.

7. Not knowing what your child is doing, not having an open relationship with your child whereby they can talk to you about anything, not letting your child have his/her own identity and not taking your child's side makes you COMPLETELY unworthy of being a parent and you are a disservice to children everywhere. Get sterilized immediately, or get off your ass and be a better parent.

8. Ice cream is better when it is slightly melted, and sorbet is better than ice cream.

9. Never lie - you don't need any more reasons than that.

10. If it is something you might end up regretting later, probably better you don't do it.

11. Guilt and shame are absolutely useless. Never do anything you will later feel guilty or ashamed of.

12. People who drink and drive need to have the everliving SHIT beat out of them. Not doing this is a disservice to drunk drivers everywhere.

13. Being irresponsible and trying to make it look like it was someone else's fault is not only glaringly obvious to anyone that knows you, but frankly takes more energy than being responsible.

14. If I want to talk to someone that you don't like, better you don't make mention of that to me lest I fucking slay you.

15. Your pleasure is never worth another's pain. Unless they get off on that kind of stuff, then all bets are off.

16. Taking yourself too seriously most of the time, making petty things important, and throwing away your energy makes you look like a COMPLETE ass. Whereas most will tell others behind your back, I would rather tell you - "Dude, you look like an ASS right about now".

17. People who do not compliment your life will complicate it.

18. There is something to be said for laying down roots and establishing something that is yours.

19. Excessive bitching makes you unattractive and prevents you from getting laid.

20. Seeing the movies "The Next Best Thing", "Meet Joe Black", and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" wasted roughly 6.5 hours of my life that I will NEVER, EVER get back.

21. Holding the door for the next person coming in or going out is a good thing.

22. Picking 5 people daily and telling them they look FANTASTIC is a good thing.

23. You should smile and say "Hello" to everyone who in passing looks you in the eye.

24. Leave your change in the vending machine slot - someone needs it who is a nickel or a dime short.

25. Once a month at least, it is good to pay the toll of the car behind you on the freeway. That's the person who will one day help you when you need it.

26. If the waiter or waitress does something to your food because you were a dick, and they will - trust me on this - you kinda asked for it. If the waiter or waitress happens to BE the dick, avoid possible food contamination altogether by politely summoning the manager for a new waitron.

27. Never, EVER let it go when you see an employer belittling his/her employees in the presence of patrons. ALWAYS make sure to belittle them for this action in the presence of said employee, and make sure to contact the supervisor about the incident.

28. No matter what ANYONE tells you, if you're just doing it to be meanspirited, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG.

29. You cannot make anyone do anything when you really get down to it. Making empty threats that you canot back up or do not follow through on makes you look like an asshole. (refer to # 16)

30. The louder you get, the less sense you make to the people forcing themselves to listen to your loud ass.

31. Share whenever you can.

32. Hold a friend's hand every opportunity you get.

33. You have NO power to change anyone else's mind, but you can set a good example for them to follow.