Saturday, January 12, 2013

Experience is the Great Teacher

By the time you get to be my age a few things just start making sense on their own.  Things like, it is not wise to spend more than you make.  It is unwise to comment if your wife asks, "Does this outfit make me look fat"?  And if someone asks, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" understand there is no acceptable answer.  You lose both ways.  Some things just become clearer over time.  But for some of us, we have to learn the hard way.

Mark Twain once said, "There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence to find out for themselves."  I am definitely in the latter category and have had to learn primarily from experience most of my life.  Ocassionally, painful experience.

Take, for instance, the time I was riding my bike down a 25% grade while on my paper route and decided it would be a good idea to see if I could steer the bike straight with my left hand on the right handle and my right hand on the left handle.  Well, let me tell you, the result is not something you want to experience, especially if you are a man and especially if you still hope to procreate some day.  The complete story of this experience can be found here in Pearl 33 - Keep Your Motion Going Straight Ahead.

So here, in my "golden years", it seems to me that I have experienced so much I ought to be an expert at most brain surgery and rocket science.  Of course, all I have to do is act like that around my wife or my daughters and they promptly point out the fallacy of my thinking.  So I guess I must continue to experience new things so that I can continue my education.  You are never too old to learn but my suggestion would be, to save wear and tear, stick to non-hazardous experiences and stay away from electric fences.