My report on what I’ve learned

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ columnist

Every magazine I read has one section I go to before I read anything else. In Sports Illustrated, it’s “This Week’s Sign the Apocalypse is Upon Us.” In Maxim, it’s the caption contest. In Esquire, it’s “What I’ve Learned.”

In Esquire’s feature, well-known people tell you what they’ve learned, whether from personal experience or from what a peer told them. I’m not well-known, but I think I’ve still learned.

The two wisest things I’ve ever heard came from Tom Arensmeyer, my high school math teacher — and they were barely related to math. The first is that the person who works smart gets done faster than the person who works hard. The second is that insurance is the only gamble you hope you lose (“I bet you $100 a month I’m going to get in a car accident.”)

Here are some other lessons I’ve learned:

• With few exceptions, T-shirts and bumper stickers say the same thing about their owners. The person has neither the creativity to think of the statement themselves nor the humility to keep it to themselves.

• Men are just as sensitive about appearance as women, and the proof is “Big and Tall” sections of clothing stores that don’t have clothes for tall people.

• If somebody needs more than a minute to tell you why you need a product, you don’t need the product.

• The more money one spends on camping equipment to replicate the conveniences of home, the more sense it makes to just stay home and not spend any money.

• If one side isn’t being honest, then a news report is either accurate or balanced, but not both.

• When two heterosexual men go to a movie together, there are two ways they can look ridiculous. The first is to sit next to each other in an empty theater. The second is to sit two seats from each other in a crowded theater.

• The first person who says, “This isn’t the time to assign the blame,” usually deserves the blame.

• The second person to do something is usually much more successful, because they get to learn from the first person’s mistakes without suffering their consequences.

• If you haven’t worn it in six months, you’re probably not going to wear it again.

• The true sign we’ll be developed as a society is when we have more jokes about racists than we have jokes that are racist.

• There is no better way to feel old than to tell kids about the video games you grew up playing.

• “Moneyball” is the best book I’ve ever read, because its lessons aren’t just about baseball. All that is required for success, whether in baseball or private life, is that you simply stock up on what the market undervalues and sell off what it overvalues.

• The best sign that you’ve seen a great movie is that you can’t name a movie that it’s similar to.

• Two slices are more valuable than any other — the first slice and the last slice. Anybody willing to give up either is the type of person who deserves your friendship.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, or by e-mail: kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com