Dear soon-to- be high school graduate: For the past 12 years you’ve been wandering about like mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed certain types of manure.
All I can say is sorry about that, but in our defense they did the same compulsory education thing to us when we were your age. What’s more, in the old days it was entirely legal for PE teachers to duct tape a whole classroom of kids to the wall whenever we got too rambunctious, and many a time my blue-haired high school English lit teacher gave out indiscriminate smacks with a mallet for failure to fully appreciate Tennyson’s “Ulysses.”
Still, we survived without too much damage once the school board finally turned us loose on humanity, armed with Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” blaring from our 8-track tape decks.
Now for some ABCs.
It’s a code, see, like the secret handshake bankers use with each other when they’re fixing to shaft you six ways from Sunday using your money. But instead of a handshake, each letter in this alphabet refers to something you need to know now that you’re a member of the educated ruling elite. Just don’t tell anybody who hasn’t graduated high school yet.
A: All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. Shakespeare wrote that. He knew his stuff. Read him sometime.
B: Bigfoot is real.
C: Charles Barkley should be president.
D: Dull moments are not the fault of the moment.
E: Everybody plays the fool. There’s no exception to the rule. That’s the Main Ingredient for you.
F: Flatulence, or innocent cases of it, is to be excused so long as you remember to blame someone else. People who like to take credit for what the great English writer T.H. White called “the horns of elfland, faintly blowing,” are just not right in the head.
H: “Hey Baby” by Bruce Channel is the best song ever. More marching bands should do it.
I: In one ear and out the other is the best policy. It gives you both deniability and a sense of peace.
J: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. So don’t.
K: Karma is what happens to sports teams when their fans won’t quit woofing.
L: Love they neighbor as thyself, unless thy neighbor is a gang of beer-swilling 50-year-old women built like nose tackles who keep you up half the night playing field hockey and listening to loud bro-country music by a bonfire. Then call the cops and run.
M: Mind how you go.
N: Never ever never approach it faster than you want to hit it. Especially when driving.
O: Opinions are like bellybuttons. That means everyone probably has at least one. But while a majority of bellybuttons are innies, some protrude outward and are called outies. And when this editor was in high school he played in a shirts versus skins pickup basketball game where one of the skins had a horrible outie bellybutton about the length of a good-sized dill pickle and kept using it to threaten this editor in his younger version of himself, and make him double dribble, because there’s something unsettling about someone you don’t know coming after you with his pickle-sized outie bellybutton. The incident scarred him for life, though he got over it. Also, it’s decidedly true that opinions held to one’s self, like innies, are more palatable to others than those expressed. So there.
P: Pride goeth before a fall, and pomposity and pretentiousness are not virtues. And progress isn’t a fast food chicken restaurant.
Q: Quality time should be all the time.
R: Real men aren’t afraid to show feelings. We just don’t have any.
S: Somebody’s watching you, so for goodness sakes stay out of your nose when you’re driving in traffic or someone will make fun of you and you’ll get road rage and get arrested if you’re not shot first.
T: Traffic is never going to get better. Ever. As soon as roads start to catch up developers build another 40,000 homes. I think they’re in cahoots with road builders in one of those symbiotic relationships you used to see on Animal Planet, like birds who hang around gnus to feast on the insects they attract.
U: Us versus them is not a sustainable policy, and folks who think in such terms are them to those who are not us. Besides, as Walt Kelly put it long ago, “we have met the enemy, and he is us.”
V: Victory can sometimes be won just by getting up in the morning and trying again.
W: Weasels do not ordinarily go pop.
X: Marks the spot.
Y: Yankees are here to stay. Ya goombah ya.
Z: Zippers have teeth, so always zip with care.