How I rank on the “Rules for life after 35.”

I don’t recall how I stumbled across this article on CNN.com by Columnist Leigh Newman, which is actually from Oprah.com apparently, but I did and I read it and I figured it was worth blogging about because what the hell.

Apparently Leigh has decided that those of us who have hit the big three five — or older — could use a guide to what she thinks you should and shouldn’t do. Here’s how well I conform to her list:

1. A true sign of love is giving your partner the soft pillow.

I do even better than that. I make sure there’s enough soft pillows for both of us. Though at the age of 45 I’m finding that I sleep better with a firmer pillow over a softer one.

2. Always give money to the girl with the violin or the guy with the guitar.

I don’t do this. Not because I’m opposed to it, but because A) I don’t think I’ve ever passed someone playing any instrument on a street corner in my life (even in hip Ann Arbor) and B) I don’t tend to carry cash on me. If I should ever happen upon such a situation and if I just happened to have a couple of bucks in my pocket then, yeah, I’d probably toss a note or two their way.

3. Never leave a hospital with a newborn but without a birth certificate.

Courtney is an only child and, due to the circumstances around her birth, I didn’t leave the hospital with her or her birth certificate. Officially, again due to the circumstances at the time, I don’t think my signature shows up on it. I have no idea if it’s too late for me to sign it or not. It’s one of those things I keep meaning to look into and then forget ever thinking about.

4. Everybody loves a doughnut. Everybody. Even divorce lawyers.

This seems less like a rule or suggestion as much as a statement of the obvious, though I actually know someone who doesn’t like doughnuts.

5. If you think you need concealer, you need concealer.

I’m assuming this one is aimed at women. I’ve never thought I needed concealer. Spackle maybe, but never concealer.

6. Thank-you notes. Always.

Another thing I never do. Yes I realize this makes me one of the most horrible people ever, but that doesn’t stop me from completely failing to send thank-you notes. I will make thank-you phone calls or thank-you at the time of receiving whatever it is I’m thankful for, but I’ve never mastered the art of sending thank-you notes.

7. Leggings are not pants.

I know that. Who doesn’t know that? I don’t know a fucking thing about fashion and even I know that.

8. When you see someone you know but don’t feel like talking to them, don’t look at the grass in the park or study a jar of mayonnaise on the supermarket shelf and pretend you don’t see them. They know you’re faking, and they’ll remember.

Not a problem for me. I’ve never been shy about telling someone that I don’t feel like talking to them. Usually I’ll say something subtle like “I don’t feel like talking to you right now. I’ll catch you up later.” Or, if it’s someone I don’t ever want to talk to, “I would rather tear my tongue out with an industrial blender than speak another word to you.”

9. There are only three real answers: yes, no and yes but later.

That makes answering questions like “What is your name?” somewhat awkward.

10. People notice wrapping paper, not wrapping skills.

I am a horrible gift wrapper person. My gifts to others always look like they were wrapped by blind rabid weasels without a clear understanding of the point of wrapping gifts or how tape is properly applied. These days the only gifts I wrap personally are from me to my wife because pretty much all the other gifts given (e.g. to nieces nephews/parents/siblings) are joint gifts from both of us and she actually knows how to wrap gifts to look amazing.

11. You will never change anybody’s opinion about whether or not the bathwater is too hot or too cold.

Which is part of why the wife and I shower separately. I apparently scald myself clean each morning by her standards of what constitutes too hot. Whereas her showers leave my teeth chattering.

12. Go to bed. Go to bed. I know it’s only 10:30 p.m., but go to bed!

Another thing I am terrible at though I do try to get off my computer/stop watching TV by 10:30PM. By the time I get done with before-bed preparations it’s usually 11:30PM or later.

13. No tattoos on the neck. On you or anyone else.

I don’t have any tattoos at all. Never could settle on what I wanted to make a permanent part of my body. Eventually stopped thinking about it and spent the money on computer parts.

14. Moms like scented candles. It’s not a crime to give them one every month.

This seems like another one of those universal truths that is really neither much like the “everybody loves doughnuts” one back up the list. My wife is a (step)mom and she doesn’t particularly care for scented candles. Of the two of us I’m the more likely to want a scented candle, but we don’t have many or use them often because cats.

15. If you tell somebody to go away, they will hang around.

Depends on how you tell them. I’ve never had a problem making people go away. Must be my natural charm and grace.

16. Nonstop flights are worth the extra money.

Agreed, though my time flying has been pretty much nil for well over a decade now, back when I was doing it regularly for a job the nonstop flights were always worth the extra money. Especially if it wasn’t my money.

17. If you see lilacs or water balloons in April, you absolutely must buy them. Due to their short lifespan in water (lilacs) and the fact that all stores now sell summer novelty items in spring so that they can sell Halloween stuff in summer (water balloons), you only have five smoking-hot seconds to purchase either item for other people—and cause them to fall down in a shuddering fit of joy. And yes, adults do, too, love water balloons.

I fail at this as well, though the advice is good about all novelty or seasonal items. Christmas lights, for example, need to be purchased early in the season if you want the best selection because by the second week of December all the good stuff is pretty much gone.

Never cared for lilacs and, as an adult, I don’t have much occasion for water balloons so those two items aren’t particularly relevant to me.

18. Lifting your tongue to the roof of your mouth while taking a photo helps smooth out a double chin.

I prefer to just grow a huge and unruly beard. I can see how that would be an unappealing option for most women, but it works for me.

19. Books. Books. More Books.

A pretty vague bit of advice, but I’m never against the encouragement of reading a good book as often as you can manage.

20. Men who don’t put their face in the water are men you may not date or marry. You can swim or not swim, but you can’t half-swim. That is like half-walking, half-thinking or half-falling in love. The guy has to put his face in the water, even if it’s cold and dark.

I thought this was a euphemism at first, but upon rereading I guess it’s not. I don’t swim much these days because if I spend any time laying on the beach invariably a group of hippies gets together, splashes water on me, and continually tries to roll me back out into the ocean all the while wondering aloud why such a majestic animal would decide to beach itself.

OK that’s a flat out lie. I’ve never been in the ocean.

That said, I’m not sure that whether or not someone “half-swims” is an indicator of a good mate. I can think of better examples of commitment than whether or not a dude is willing to put his face in the water. Or is it a bravery issue? Not that I can see what’s so brave about it either. Then again, I have no problem submerging in water other than my natural buoyancy.

21. The five-second food-on-the-floor rule is really the 30-second food-on-the-floor rule. Except in houses with dogs.

Bzzzzt. Wrong. The five second rule is really the zero second rule unless it can be washed off and cooked. Even a second on a floor, no matter how clean it is, is enough to contaminate it pretty badly. Granted, some amount of dirt in your life is a healthy thing, but I walk on my floors and I know where my shoes have been. And what about cats? You’re OK with car fur all over your food?

22. There is a color you love that does NOT look good on you. Stop wearing it! (This rule is also known as: Don’t wear green, Leigh.)

This one I haven’t a clue on. If there’s a color that doesn’t look good on me I’ve yet to be informed about it from anyone who gives a shit. Even if I had been I’d probably ignore the advice if the article of clothing is particularly comfortable. Comfort always takes precedence over fashion for me.

23. Parents love the friend who offers to hold their baby so they can drink a beer.

Parents love the friend who babysits so they can go out for dinner and a movie even more. As I recall, most of the beer drinkers in my extended family have never had much of a problem holding a baby and drinking a beer at the same time. At least not for the first half-dozen or so beers.

24. Whispering makes children do just about anything. Which is important to remember when you’re about to yell.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha. You must not have any kids. Whispering works on occasion, but usually only if it’s not your kid.

25. There is only one clothing size. Yours. Baggy stuff makes you feel thin but look fat. Tight stuff is just plain painful.

I am fat. Fuck you. I wear baggy not to feel thin, but because it’s comfortable.

26. You do not like fried clams or salt water taffy. You like the romance of the boardwalk. You don’t have to eat food that will make you feel ill on the roller coaster just to revel in the seaside atmosphere.

That seems awfully presumptuous on your part. You don’t even know me. It’s true that I don’t like clams, fried or otherwise, but I do enjoy saltwater taffy every so often. I’ve never been on a boardwalk and have never eaten any food just for the atmosphere.

You sure this list is meant for other people?

27. Take the stairs. Except if you’re on your way to a date or an interview.

I generally take the stairs whenever I can, but I don’t encounter them often enough outside my apartment for it make much of a difference.

28. You will never run out of ideas—or love. So put them out there in the world. You’ll have plenty more tomorrow.

I’ve been blogging for ten years. I think I’ve got this one covered.

2 thoughts on “How I rank on the “Rules for life after 35.”

  1. 29. Leigh Newman, and anyone else who writes cloying, know-it-all, pointless lists of ridiculous “advice” for anyone other than themselves, should have their hands nailed to a tree stump and then beaten with an iron mallet until we can be 100% sure that they will never, ever work again. And then be threatened with removal of vocal cords if they try to talk.

    And seriously, I get the “point” such as it is, but fried clams and salt water taffy? Good stuff! I think this person is so stupid that she/he/it must have gone on a beach holiday, and eaten them at the same time. Maybe like clam and taffy shooters or something. And since when is a roller coaster a hallmark of seaside atmosphere anyway? Are Santa Cruz and Coney Island the only beaches in existence? I’ve lived near the ocean for twenty years and never gone on a roller coaster there.

    Also- no offense to parents, but parents can be happy with whatever assistance is offered or they can stimulate the economy and hire a goddamned babysitter. Or, to phrase it in polite-article-speke…..your single friends really appreciate it when you don’t drag your tired, cranky kid everywhere you go and expect everyone else to help.

    Sorry if I seem hostile, but the older I get, the more misanthropic these kinds of articles make me, and now that we’re in the computer age I can’t even wipe my ass with them anymore.

    Oh yeah- people can notice the gift. Or they can kiss my ass. This one to me is the real meaning of this article….people like the author care nothing for substance, as substance is hard and requires thought and effort. But EVERYONE like shiny paper, so shut up and get some shiny paper!!!!!

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