Life Lessons

22 Feb

After being in existence for just over 23 years, I, Cakes, have learned quite a bit about the world.

I have learned how to drive a car and how to ride a bike.

I have learned how to swim and how to brush my teeth.

I have learned how to read, write, and solve third-order differential equations.

But that is not all.

I have learned how to play (in order of skill level) soccer, basketball, baseball, kickball, football, volleyball, and pong.

I have learned how to snowboard and have decided, after many failed attempts, that I should stop trying to railslide on fallen tree branches.

I have learned that there is no “I” in “team” and no “mitten” in “badminton.”

I have learned very little about figure skating but am quite pleased to know that there is one aerial maneuver called a “triple sow-cow,” and at this very moment I am visualizing a figure-skating cow.

But that is not all.

I have learned how to make very good mojitos.

I have learned that there is, sadly, such a thing as “too much bacon.”

I have been taught the proper technique for eating artichoke leaves and have since boycotted the food.

I have learned, after consuming a rather watery steak, that there is an important difference between “boiling” and “broiling.”

I have learned, after spending an afternoon in the principal’s office, that there is an important difference between “condos” and “condoms.”

I have learned how to freestyle rap–which is to say that I’ve memorized 11 words that rhyme with “radiator,” 7 words that rhyme with “Doritos,” 23 phrases that loosely rhyme with “Triscuits,” 5 words that rhyme with “Vaseline,” and at least one word that rhymes with “antelope.”

But that is not all.

I have learned that Chubby Hubby is my favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

I have learned far more than I ever wanted to know about menstruation.

I have recently learned how to apply shaving cream with a brush made from badger hair and have concluded that this is vastly superior to applying shaving cream without a brush made from badger hair.

Moreover, I have learned that shaving against the grain can lead to ingrown hairs and razor burn, that shaving after (not before) a shower is best, and that shaving one’s torso is really not a good idea, especially if one plans on seeing his grandparents at the beach in the very near future. (Also, having a hairless abdominal region really only works if one has visible abdominals; otherwise it just looks like a massive boob with a bellybutton for a nipple).

In short, I have learned a great deal about shaving. But that is not all.

I have learned, after dressing up twice as a spherical cow and once as a gorilla in a magenta bikini, that the mascot business is surprisingly lucrative.

I have learned, from acquiring Joan Osborne’s debut album as a First Communion present, all the lyrics to “[What If God Was] One of Us.” I have since forgotten half these lyrics and, in their place, have memorized the background vocals in Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard In Da Paint.”

I have learned the word “vindicated” from Dashboard Confessional, the word “despondent” from Bright Eyes, and all the words pertaining to pre-1900s history from Colin Meloy.

I have learned the meaning of “irony”–both as it applies to literature and as it applies to the facial hair of twenty-somethings in Brooklyn.

I have learned three different words to describe the region between one’s balls and one’s asshole.

I have learned how to play Candyland.

(But that is not all.)

I have learned that there is an annual event called “Flavors of the Valley” hosted in Lebanon, NH, and that if you happen to attend this event on April 20th in a state of extreme hunger, you should be aware that it’s really more of a “taste-testing” affair than it is an all-you-can-eat buffet, and that if you happen to push elderly women and small children out of your way in an effort to stuff your face with locally made maple sausage, you may be asked, by a gentlemen in a rather stern voice, to please leave the auditorium.

I have learned how to pirate copyrighted materials.

I have learned how to describe the sonic qualities of the indie subgenres “chill-wave,” “shoegaze,” and “dream pop,” and have also discovered that there’s never really an appropriate time to bring this up in conversation.

I have learned how to tweet.

I have learned that it is of utmost importance to inquire about the price of a haircut before one actually receives said haircut.

I have learned the names of 50 states, 143 counties, 86 cities, and 92 world leaders–though I will admit I am still learning how to estimate large numerical values.

J’ai appris comment parler français…. un peu.

I have learned the difference between DNA and RNA (also GZA and RZA).

I have learned how to administer CPR and take a pulse.

I have learned three different ways to tie my ties, two different ways to tie my shoes, and at least one way to contort my genitals so that it looks like a hamburger between two buns (plain, not sesame seed).

I have learned that body lotions with aloe vera are not ideal when selecting a personal lubricant.

I have yet to learn what is meant by the phrase “too much information.”

But that is not all.

I have learned that–assuming you’ve satisfied the first two needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs–all you need is love  …but that defining and finding such a thing can be a dreadfully tricky business.

I have learned that laughter is not the best medicine if you have whooping cough. (But, in general, it is a good idea.)

I have learned that I am good at some things, better at others, and pathologically impaired when it comes to time management.

I have learned that I am flawed
…but that this is ok.

I have learned how to learn.

And, ultimately, I have learned that the entire sum of everything I have learned and could ever hope to learn is but a mere speck of lint when compared to the infinite fabric of knowledge available in the world.

So I have learned that, whilst in the process of living life, learning is an important thing to do.

But, fortunately, that is not all.

Cakes

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