As we ring in a new year, one can’t help but reflect on the year past. 2012 was certainly not dull. Like every year, it was a year of hellos and goodbyes, ups and downs, victories and losses, ins and outs. But this year was a bit out of the ordinary, with an exciting Summer Olympics, an often hilarious presidential election, and a year-end tragedy that ripped a hole in our hearts.
On a more personal note, 2012 was an education. With respect to this blog, I learned that there were more like-minded men who are interested in living well and doing more with less than I ever expected. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to get the feedback that I’ve gotten and to watch the numbers grow as they have. I never expected it.
Beyond this eponymous rag, I start the new year as Contributor-at-Large for Brooklyn Cruiser and as author of a new regular feature in the print edition of Momentum Magazine called “Letter from New York.” I am extremely grateful and excited for the prospects of 2013.
Without further adieu, I present a list of thirty things I learned in 2012. They are in no formal order, tense or person. They are merely the first thirty things I could think of in an hour. Here they are:
- You can get a brilliantly-fitting, well-made custom suit in a very nice fabric for less than $500.
- There is not one function of the human body that requires sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
- If I’m the smartest person in the room, everyone should be really nervous.
- When something makes you happy, do more of it.
- When something makes you miserable, stop doing it.
- Don’t engage with crazy. Drop your racquet and walk off the court.
- If crazy won’t stop, playing the “I’m not going to be ignored, Dan” Fatal Attraction card over the phone, on social networks and via email, despite your total silence and complete lack of interest or engagement, keep a file of all the communications, voicemail messages and emails and get an attorney to deal with it.
- I don’t need meat.
- I run my iPhone, not the other way around.
- On a related note, when dining or conversing in person with others, I will not compete with their cell phone.
- Style and taste cannot be bought. They are acquired from a combination of exposure, experience, time, discipline, appreciation and restraint.
- Dogs are amazing therapy.
- FUN FACT: Every breed of dog on the planet was engineered by humans. MORE FUN DOG FACTS: Dogs are the only animals that look us in the eye for information, and the only animals dependent on humans for their survival.
- Between a digital antenna and AppleTV, which includes Netflix, iTunes and Hulu, I’m quite content without cable.
- I can iron my own shirts (and quite well).
- I can also shine my own shoes, also quite well.
- The foundation of a smart wardrobe for a well-presented man starts with shoes. Invest well.
- Taps on the toes and heels of my dress shoes will save bundles in re-soling.
- I don’t need to have a suit dry cleaned after every wearing.
- A smile and a little benign flirtation gets me a lot further than being an entitled, whip-cracking hard-ass, i.e. being a dick.
- Unwillingness to learn new tricks is not charming.
- Addressing other men as “bro” is a great way to sound like an idiot.
- Republicans have zero talent for comedy or self-effacing irony.
- Unless you’re already clever, smart, engaging or funny, money or the perception of prestige can’t make you interesting.
- The more you know, the less you need.
- I miss reading good fiction.
- Meetings are rarely productive, if ever.
- In the digital age, the net 90, net 60 or even net 30 pay schedule doesn’t fly. When service is rendered with lightning turnaround, cough it up. It ain’t 1974, bitches.
- More people in the U.S. are killed in one year by gunfire than have ever been killed in all terrorist attacks combined… globally.
- Guns aren’t the problem. The problem is the thinking. The problem is thinking that Joe and Jane Citizen, lacking formal military or police training, will have the tactical and mental wherewithal to effectively handle a truly dire situation with a firearm. The problem is the inability to cite any instance in the last 50 years in the U.S. where a law-abiding citizen’s use of even a legally-acquired firearm didn’t make a bad situation worse. (And even if one could cite a legitimate instance, there are hundreds of tragic situations in the same timeframe that eclipse it into irrelevance.) The problem is the addiction to the cultural viagra for guns, the one that prolongs the intellectual erection for that “no rule of law,” zombie apocalypse, home intruder scenario so one can live the saved-the-day / Harry Callahan / hero fantasy that will never happen. The problem is denying that more guns only add to our grim statistics rather than diminish them. The problem is the NRA, the crafty framing of its creepy message, and its whore-like willingness to bend over for gun manufacturers and their profit margins. The problem is the unwillingness of NRA members to employ real critical thinking. The problem is thinking that a gun makes you cool or gets you a man card. The problem is guileless men whose notion of what it means to be a man has clearly missed all trains to Progress. The problem is the shortsighted, deluded and devolved thinking that more guns will fix us or even improve us. The problem is thinking that guns aren’t the problem.
A very Happy New Year to all of you. May you do good work that you love, remain teachable and be willing to change.