Friday, April 27, 2018

31-derful Years

Readers- We're giving ourselves a break because we're focused on daughter Jarlsberg's 31st birthday today! For that reason, we're reposting our page from last year which was guest written in part by the birthday girl herself! We hope you'll enjoy it!


Hey, we at least TRIED to update the graphic.

Today we're doing something unprecedented: giving you a youthful perspective on life and living in 2017, rather than our standard fist-shaking "angry old coot with a bullhorn" perspective.

We're doing this in honor of (and with the indispensable help of) Daughter Jarlsberg, who celebrated her 30th birthday yesterday! 

If you'll allow a moment of parental gushing, she's an extraordinary young woman who - among many other accomplishments - has been a National Merit Finalist, Phi Beta Kappa college graduate, Dallas Morning News editorial writer, Symphony Orchestra musician, children's book author, and is a Speech Therapist who has a special gift for working with young children.

She's also faced (and overcome) more than her share of challenges, including significant health conditions, entering the workforce during the "lost generation" of the job-killing Obama economy, and the always-frightening possibility that she could grow up as crazy as her father. Let us all give thanks for the ameliorating qualities of Mrs. Jarlsberg's calming genes and maternal guidance.

With that preamble out of the way, here are 30 Life Lessons that this freshly-minted 30-year-old has picked up along her journey so far. Let us all learn from her wisdom...

1. Nothing good ever comes from clowns. 

2. Never try to blackmail a murderer.

3. Have a flashlight in every room - you never know where you're going to be when the lights go out. 

4. You can microwave regular oatmeal just like instant oatmeal. 

5. Someone doesn't have to be a bad person to still be bad news. 

6. Understand statistics - otherwise people will lie to you with facts. 

7. Understand personal finance.

8. If you're going to speed when driving, make sure someone else is going faster than you. That's who the police will pull over.

9. Driving and competitiveness should have nothing to do with each other. Let the angry speed demons pass you.  My personal zen-like phrase is "be the rock in the river." 

10. Life is too short for cheap, crappy toilet paper. 

11. One's living space should be both tidy and expressive of your life and personality. This ensures that, when you are murdered, the forensics team and investigators will be able to get a clear picture of your circumstances and thus more likely to catch the killer.

12. Large groups of women can quickly turn into war zones about nothing.

13. There are more sociopaths in the world than you would think.

14. All Christmas lights are beautiful.

15. Prolonged self-pity is a form of narcissism. 

16. There is a very tight correlation between parents who refuse to discipline their precious babies and parents that get easily, easily offended. 

17. You can generally identify these parents before even meeting them by hearing the 'creative' names of their children. I'm looking at you, Camelot.

18. Even when they make you crazy, having a dog keeps you sane. 

19. Stick up for people being bullied. You'll probably end up being bullied too, but no one should have to feel isolated and alone. 

20. Very few people tolerate someone making a constant stream of puns. Keep them close and cherish them.

21. Ramen stops being cheap when you have to buy heartburn medicine to go with it.

22. Beware the quiet ones - they are the ones who, when pushed too hard, will lose their minds with rage. As the quiet one, I admit to relishing the look of absolute, pants-staining terror on the faces of those who didn't see it coming. I'm looking at you, jocks who threw french fries at me. ONCE.

23. Running a spoon under hot water, then placing it on a mosquito bite, will instantly stop the itching. I feel sad for all of the summers I didn't know this. 

24. Compatibility with your co-workers makes up to 99% of your job satisfaction.

25. Wear comfortable, practical shoes. You never know when the zombie apocalypse will start, and trying to run in strappy stiletto heels is a recipe for disaster. 

26. Don't try to hide mistakes. It just makes things harder for everyone. 

27. It's nice to have your own theme song. Mine is Academic Festival Overture by Brahms. 

28. Never underestimate Japan's power to screw with your mind. 

29. Life doesn't owe you a thing. 

30. Sometimes, when you get stuck in a routine, it feels like your life is being lived for you. Those are the times to do something a little different - it reminds you that your life is yours.  So yeah, I am going to get that third ear piercing! Sorry Mom and Dad!

Good stuff, huh?  Feel free to add to this list of useful life lessons - and share 31st birthday wishes - in the comments section!


Velveeta Processed Cheese Food said...

Many happy returns!.

I'm going to try that skeeter-bite thing first chance I get!

Jason Anyone said...

Sorry, I didn't have time to shop for a gift, Daughter J. Looks like I'll have to enlist the help of my minions (or SOMEone's minions) in wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Be as purple as you wanna be!

Happy 31st!

james daily said...

Practicality, I love practicality. Great topic with so much common sense it's easy to see the genes ancestry. Happy Birthday and many, many more. (#11 is my favorite)

Bruce O'Hara said...

I used to be 31. It's a good age! Enjoy it. Next thing you know, you're 67 and thinking things like...I used to be 31. God Bless the Jarlsburg clan!!! :-)

mamafrog said...

Amen to comfortable shoes and flashlights in every room, two lessons I learned! Happy Birthday to your baby girl, who will always be your baby girl whatever age she is, this I learned too.

Maoz said...

Yom Huledet Same'ach, bat Jarlsberg; ad meah v'esrim! (Happy birthday, daughter Jarlsberg; may you live to 120!)

It's traditional in Jewish circles to bless someone that they should live to 120 - because that's the age that Moses reached... and up to the very end he was in full good health. So you're wishing the person not only longevity, but good health as well.

Skip said...

Happy birthday kiddo. We had a speech therapist for our oldest (deaf)daughter and she performed small miracles daily.
To a happy, long, life. We raise a toast, to you.

Anonymous said...

The Japanese have a saying: There are a thousand ways to say "YES" yet none of them mean "YES"!
Happy Birthday

Anonymous said...

When life gives you a third ear, it's absolutely your right to get it pierced.

Judi King said...

Happy wise.
As someone who tends to drive too fast, I love #8.

Warlord said...


When seeking your mate, keep in mind that your children have a strong possibility of inheriting your mother-in-law's personality.

Bill from Wood-Ridge said...

Wondering if Daughter Jarlsberg would consider marriage proposal from my 32 year old son. Long may she run!

OC said...

Ah, 31 years young. I can remember being - oh, wait, I can't remember being that young. Drat.
Mr. and Mrs. Jarlsberg must be very proud for having raised such an outstanding young lady.
Happy birthday and many more to the lass.

kcmoonshiner said...

Happy Birthday! Oh, and my words of wisdom......always drink upstream from the herd! :)

Bob Lee said...

I leave the creative writing to you and your father... Happy Birthday! And to your father: it's never boasting when it's about your daughter.

AmyH said...

Happy Birthday!!

31 seems a long time ago. To go back with the wisdom I have now? It would be great. Many things would change.

Fred Ciampi said...

Of course Daughter J turned out so wonderful; just look at her parents.

And my theme song is 'If you're leaving, walk out backwards so I'll think you're walking in'.

Happy Birthday Daughter J.

show me one socialist success in world history said...

Happiest birthday to a very smart young lady! I really enjoyed your words of wit and wisdom from 30. God love you and your family.

Dave in WI said...

Froehliche Geburtstag. You are wise beyond your years.

TrickyRicky said...

Happy Birthday! Although it galls me to be twice your age.

Watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow - FZ, the underappreciated master.

Sortahwitte said...

Happy birthday to the young, talented, sweet Jarlsberg. My wife's birthday is also today. She's just a little bit older than you. Shhhhh, we don't talk about that.

Never play a game of Solo Hide-n-seek in a haunted house.

Anonymous said...

I remember that list. Very smart cookie you got there. Nice job! Hope her health problems aren't causing too much trouble. God love you all.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Every good rule needs a codicil of qualifications and “on the other hand” observations:
1. Some excellent fiction has been written about psychotic clowns.
2. You can blackmail a murderer if you’re a better armed, more vicious murderer.
3. Standby generators beat flashlights, except in a poorly lit basement or garage.
4. Microwaved oatmeal will keep you alive, but that’s the only good thing that can be said about it.
5. Someone doesn't have to be good news to provide some interesting opportunities.
6. Facts are valuable regardless of their provenance. Just remain aware of the probable motivations of the speaker.
7. Yes, understand personal finance, but you should still keep a list for “when my ship comes in.”
8. That's who the police will pull over most of the time. Cops can have a quirky sense of humor.
9. Passing the moron doing thirty in the left lane is not competitive driving but a pro-social act in defense of road courtesy.
10. Life is much too difficult and expensive to need to replace one’s cesspool.
11. The correlation between being murdered and being neurotically tidy is rather strong.
12. Large groups of women can also provide material for snarky fiction. Ask Candace Bushnell.
13. Fewer persons are qualified to diagnose sociopathy than such persons think.
14. Christmas time electric bills can seriously diminish the beauty of Christmas lights, a posteriori
15. Prolonged self-pity can also be simulated as a form of self-defense.
16. These days everyone is easily offended, whether children are involved or not.
17. At some point every name had to be “created.” That having been said, a name should not include punctuation, digits, or characters that are not part of the ISO-8859-1 set.
18. Yes, a dog can keep you sane, but so can many other neurotic obsessions that don't impose veterinary bills.
19. Any sentence that includes the phrase “no one should have to” is suspect.
20. We must gather some statistics about the number of assaults that have been triggered by puns.
21. Ramen plus heartburn medicine is less stressful than contemplating bankruptcy.
22. At least the quiet ones will murder you quietly. Respect the prerogatives of your neighbors.
23. Many a mosquito bite occurs well distant from spoons and running hot water.
24. Prefer jobs where you have no coworkers.
25. Evenings out are much more frequent than zombie apocalypses. Indeed, there will be at most one zombie apocalypse, so don’t throw out the stilettoes.
26. Why not hide your mistakes? Your coworkers are doing it. (Cf. #24)
27. A personal theme song should either be personally composed, or personally commissioned, or have its origin in the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
28. The Japanese care even less about you than I do.
29. “Life” is a metonymy for “others,” and others do owe you something: i.e., to leave you alone.
30. A great many bad decisions arise from the ornery determination to defy someone else’s well meant advice. Hence this list.

(tee hee)

Anonymous said...

Great lessons. You have raised a very smart daughter. You should have her keep the list going with a #31 for this year and then keep up the trend.

Captain Cook said...

Thanks for a great list of "life lessons." I'm going to try that "run a spoon under hot water and put it on a mosquito bite" trick....never heard of that in my 77 years on this earth, which only proves another life lesson: learn something new every day.

Geoff King said...

31? I won't be twice your age for a good 11 days from now.

SteveO said...

¡ʎɐpɥʇɹıq ʎddɐH

Chefspenser said...

Never eat steak tartare.

Stinking Bishop said...

Happy B-day, Daughter J!!

John25mm said...

Happy Birthday and to add to your list.
In the words of the great Clint Smith "You have the rest of your life to solve your problems. How long you live is determined by how well you do it." .

John the Econ said...

Happy Birthday Daughter Jarlsberg!

Your resume makes mine look silly, even more so considering that I came of age during Reagan's "Morning in America" where economic opportunity was available to anyone willing to take little more initiative than is required to fall off a log, while you had to face Obama's "We've successfully established the 'New Normal' - get used to it". Your demonstration that one's life transcends one genetics is inspiring.

If we were to replace the current high school curriculum with your "30 Life Lessons", America would be a better place within a generation.

I'd like to add some of those to my "fortune cookie database" if I knew how to attribute them.

Liberty Card said...

Awesome stuff. Thanks for sharing.

Liberty Card said...

Oh, and Happy birthday!

Colby Muenster said...

Happy birthday Stiltonsdotter! If only I had possessed that wisdom when I was 31.... I would add to your list something that my father tried to beat into my think skull, but it never penetrated until lately. Pay yourself first; save 10% of your income, faithfully. If I had listened I would not be working at the age of 66. Hell, I'd have retired in my 50's easily.

Another one for the list:
Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. Then, not only will you have his shoes, but he's a mile away.

ringgo1 said...

Happy 31st! (I can ALMOST remember 31.)

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Readers-- Thank you so much for all of the great comments today. When a daughter turns 31, it's kind of hard to think of good and meaningful gifts. In this case, I looked to all of you to remind her how many good folks there are in this world - and you've come through with flying colors!

Mrs J and I are so proud of the young 'un...and can't quite believe that 31 years can go by this quickly!

@Bill from Wood-Ridge- She says "If he's in Oklahoma, let's talk" (grin).

@Francis W. Porretto- I genuinely admire your obstinate streak, not to mention your willingness to compile all those rebuttals!

clyde said...

Where you gonna put that third ear?

Shelly said...

I can see why you have great affection for your daughter. She appears to have wisdom beyond her age and based on what I see coming out of our colleges these days, she is a jewel. I too have a remarkable daughter who will soon turn 46 and a great son who will be 49 this year. Yikes. When did I get so old? Many happy returns to Daughter J!!

Emmentaler Limburger said...

HBD to the Jarlsberg offspring!

Stan da Man said...

Best of wishes on ya, Daughter J!
(rumor is you're Lucy's stunt double?)

To age w/ dignity, take this to heart - Never EVER trust a fart...

Mike Porter said...

She forgot one:

Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage amongst his books. For to you kingdoms and their armies are mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment to be overturned by the flicking of a finger.

Gordon R. Dickson

Anonymous said...

Here's one that you forgot....Never, ever rat-out your Grandpa.

Anonymous said...

Good advice there. Never knew about the spoon and the mosquito bites. And yes as I have to keep reminding myself over and over again.., life does not owe you or anybody a damn thing.

Aggie said...

Wise young woman. Takes after her ol' man. That's a SCARY thought!

Cisco Kid said...

Here's some sage advice I offered my own children regarding traveling abroad (this also applies to freelance videographers): Never pass up an opportunity to go to the bathroom or eat a meal; you never know when your next opportunity will be.

Blessings, young Jarlsberg, to you and your family on the celebration of your 31st trip around the sun!

Anonymous said...

That one is a first-rate example of "The nut doesn't fall far from the tree." and we are grateful you shared her contribution. Perchance you could share something from her more frequently?

Anonymous said...

Did Dorothy Parker say "There's no there there."? Regardless, Gertrude Stein said it about Oakland, California.

Jack Colby said...

"Time flies when you're having fun" seems to apply to the Jarlsburg family as much as to mine. I have 2 daughters and if the (now) 28 year old wasn't amazing enough, the 24 y.o. tops her now & then; 24 starts law school this Fall and is paying for it herself! If she succeeds, I only have to postpone beginning my life of crime for three more years.

Btw, it WAS Gertrude Stein who sfirst related the "there/there" bromide; it was repeated prominently by Nora Ephron, too.