Saturday, November 17, 2018

Lifelong Learning Is Da Bomb

We can all agree, lifelong learning is great. I've been a lifelong learner nearly all my life. I was sick a few days as a kid and didn't learn anything those days. But mostly -- 90% of my life take away those few days -- I've been learning new things.

One thing I learned is that everyone's different, that is, everyone I've met, a relatively few people; they've all been different. Most of them were as dumb as the next guy, but I didn't tell them. I did what is proper, kept the insults to myself. Some of them wouldn't have understood anyway. Those are the people I try to not have much to do with. On the other hand, it's equally bad to have people around smarter than me. Thankfully, again, we're only talking a few folks, a couple people. Know the feeling?

So how much do I know? How am I supposed to answer that? I know enough to eat when I'm hungry, sleep when I'm tired, stretch when I yawn, and go to the bathroom, usually. And I'm smart enough, if I miss, I take my pants off and wash them. Me being extremely smart might not be literally true. But I am smart enough to know how dumb I am, which at times is damned dumb. So I'm smarter than most.

Lifetime learning, though, that's what we need, right? A few years ago I took the training to be a substitute teacher. Week after week -- what was it, a grueling 8 weeks on Saturdays -- I sat there with other prospective substitute teachers. They gave us in lurid detail the horror stories that go with the profession, but I stuck with it. They had us in the classroom, just observing, and I kept going, right up to the moment when I got the paper saying I passed and was qualified. The biggest thing I learned, without even doing it, is being a substitute teacher is no life for me. The key thing is, I learned the craft, and learned I wanted no part of it.

Now here I sit -- hiding out in the Big City as they work on Grandma's house, overrun with vermin both visible and invisible -- and I continue to learn. I was at one of the libraries and was reading on how you get the taxpayers to pay for house repairs, and believe me, this is going to be one huge bill! Because they have to gut the entire place. Every wall needs replaced, as well as the foundation, and of course the roof. I'm guessing I'll need new wallpaper, and I’ll be shocked if that backed up toilet makes the cut. The library info laid out the attitude I need when I show up at the governor's office with the bill: Start crying before I go in, look her straight in the eye, and beg for mercy.

But the biggest thing I want to share today has to do with you, not me. I want you to get out there, my friends, and get with it! You haven't learned everything you can. With lifelong learning, you'll have more satisfaction, a greater sense of self-worth, and the ability to truly shine in a world of dullards, dopes, and dummies. Just knowing anything, you'll run circles around almost everyone you meet. Just knowing next to nothing you'll be the smartest guy in town. On the other hand, say you've done your level best and everyone's still smarter than you, give up.

I'll give you a great example of lifelong learning, from a couple guys I knew, Clem and the Judge.

Clem was hanging out at his shack. And someone was at the door. He yells, "Hang on, I'm coming!" Then he gets there and, oh, it's the Judge. And what was that look in the Judge's eye, as he led Clem out, away from home into and through the trees, then up into the heights, the glories of nature north of the Big City? Hmm, something to learn more about...

Clem sees what's happening and goes, "Oh, Judge! You naughty naughty man! I think I might lose control of my temperament. I'm breathing much faster and deeper than usual. I might've just found my true calling, yodel-lay! Lifelong learning really turns me on... It's amazing, I swear I'm flush, a little dizzy, but loving it! Yes, yes, yes, I must experience more and more lifelong learning! It's such a rush, my right hand has relinquished the rose you gave me; it's fallen 100 feet to the valley..."

He suddenly thinks maybe the Judge did indeed mean "book learning" for him, and says, “I'm reaching in my pocket for a dictionary to learn more..." But, no, he was right the first time, the Judge had other things on his mind. "What, Judge? You're flipping me over instead? Is this global warming I feel, climactic change? What a huge difference it makes! Oh, oh! Let me drop these suspenders over the cliff, sir! Now, go for it, Judge, yes, latch on to the hair on the back of my neck with your teeth, yes, that's it, perrrrfect leverage, what big beautiful solid white teeth you have --- OH OH OH, yessss sir! You really know what you're doing! Lifelong learning is da bomb!!!"

We can agree today. The wisdom of Clem is the real deal: Lifelong learning indeed done be da bomb.

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