To quote Forrest Gump, and you should always quote Forrest Gump, “I am not a smart man” but I can’t help but notice things. One of things I’ve noticed over the years is that the older I get the less I know.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a complete moron (despite what you may hear from my current or former wife), I’ve managed to pick up a few things over the last 50 years. I learned that you can’t trick Santa Claus, I’ve never been good for a whole year and he’s never given me a Corvette. I finally figured out that, much like the South Beach diet, marriage only works if you don’t cheat and I recently discovered that cauliflower is actually edible if you roast it. Who knew?
What I’ve noticed lately is that more and more of the things I knew for sure when I was younger don’t seem so certain anymore. When I was in elementary school, I knew for sure that Columbus discovered America, that George Washington could not tell a lie and that if you ran off a cliff you wouldn’t fall as long as you didn’t look down.
These days I watch enough History Channel to learn that Vikings, aliens and, if you believe the really crazy theories, the Irish all made it to America before Columbus was even born. George Washington was a politician, a soldier and an adult American male, of course he lied! Let’s be serious, that running off a cliff thing only works for Wiley Coyote … don’t ask me how I know that.
As a teenager I was sure that life was as good as it was ever going to be. I was absolutely certain that sporting a neck full of hickeys after a night at the drive-in movie was proof positive that I was destined to be an international playboy and I knew for a fact no band named Pink Floyd would ever amount to much.
As I write this reclined on the deck of my waterfront townhouse in Florida while the gorgeous artist I’m married to is making lunch inside, it seems pretty obvious that life just gets better as you go. Oh, I might have been wrong about those Pink Floyd guys, but it’s only been 40 years so the jury’s still out.
When I got married I knew it was forever, when I got divorced I knew I’d never get married again, when I got married again I knew nothing was forever … and that was 28 years ago. Like I said, I’ve known a lot of things over the years.
I knew the Chiefs would beat the Packers in the first Super Bowl, and that the Colts would never leave Baltimore. I was sure Pete Rose was a dead solid lock for the Baseball Hall of Fame and that Lance Armstrong didn’t juice up.
I knew that the reality TV wouldn’t last after a few seasons of Big Brother, American Idol and that nonsense they showed on MTV.
I was certain that people would never buy plastic bottles of drinking water and I knew for sure that people would never pay more for drinking water than for gas.
I knew that Stallone was done after Rocky III because Rocky IV would just be too much, right?
I was sure that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jessie Ventura could never do anything more embarrassing than the movie Running Man … politics never crossed my mind!
I knew that I’d never have to show my papers, take off my shoes and subject myself to a body cavity search just to fly from Reno to Boise. After all I’m an American and we don’t do that kind of stuff … and no self respecting terrorist would ever fly from Reno to Boise.
The truth is that I knew so many things for sure when I was younger because I hadn’t been around long enough to realize that things change, perspectives change and not everything you read is true.
Now that I have gray hair and grandkids I understand most of us are wrong at least as often as we are right and that in five years it probably won’t matter anyway. A good rule of thumb is that the first story is always BS. Then again I could be wrong because, like Forrest, I’m not a smart man.
Rick Seley is an award-winning humorist and may be reached at news@lahontanvalleynewscom.