Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Things to Know

One of my favorite shows on television is Storage Wars. What I like best are the bidding battles. Having bid at more than a few auctions myself, I feel my adrenaline spike as my favorite bidder barks out his bids, hits his limit, and then -- a moment later -- is out of the bid altogether.

I have felt his angst. I know the feeling of being outbid when I've hit my limit. It was then I faced a split-second decision: do I go one more in the hope the other person drops out, or do I fold?

On one occasion my split-second decision to bid once more was rewarded with the purchase of a 1960's model Coca Cola bottle vending machine. On the other hand, there was the time I lost a chance for a 1920's era Coke cooler for want of a $5 bid.

It's important we know when to fold -- whether in auctions or in card games.

While I'm on the subject of things worth knowing, something else I've found useful to know is how to start a campfire. Now here I'm not referring to the knife on the belt buckle technique. Rather, I'm talking about the simple method of laying in the kindling, when to add the sticks, and how to stack the logs for a decent fire that will last throughout the evening.

I have found too that knowing how to iron a shirt has been extremely helpful, especially when applying for a job or impressing a date. It's also good to know how to finish off the ensemble by understanding how to polish dress shoes, tie a tie, and select a nice set of suitable cufflinks for the shirt.

When I was single it was important to know how to give a thoughtful gift to the girl I was wooing. To do this, I would take her to the mall and see what interested her -- what her likes and dislikes were. Once she commented or otherwise indicated how a certain piece of jewelry would look good with one of her favorite outfits, I was good to go. That Christmas she got the aforementioned item, and I impressed her.

My mom didn't raise no dummy.

In like manner, there are bits of wisdom and a few skills that have been imparted to me by other guys. These gems include knowing how to change the oil in my car, when to apply lawn fertilizer, how to create a beef brisket rub, and when to keep quiet.

But perhaps the best advice I received has been this: "Know a little about many subjects." This has come in handy many times over the years, especially when beginning a conversation with someone I've just met. And what's more, some of these conversations have led to friendships that have lasted years.

Well, what do you know?

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