By DARREN HANDSCHUH
I have learned many things during my time on this earth.
From childhood to adulthood, life has been one big lesson after another.
One of the most important things I learned as a youngster was, no matter how good your intentions, your cat does not need swimming lessons.
Trust me on this one folks, that has bad idea written all over it.
Such action gives you a bonus lesson on just how strong - and sharp - a cat can be in a time of feline crisis.
Around that same time, I also learned it is not the best plan to jump up and down in the bathtub. It is only a bad idea of you don't want to fall on the edge of the tub, driving your top teeth through your lower lip causing the blood to flow line wine at a frat party. If you are into stuff like that, then go ahead and have fun.
In my pre-teen years I received many lessons in how gravity works. It's amazing how educational falling out of a tree can be, once you regain consciousness that is.
You not only learn about gravity, but about what happens to the human body when it endures a rapid deceleration after falling from about 10 feet up. Like introducing your cat to the world of water sports, trees offer multiple lessons. You learn that grass is not a very soft thing to land on and you also get the added knowledge of what it feels like to have every last molecule of air forced from your lungs.
Racing downhill on a bike provided multiple lessons as well. Gravity once again plays a role, but the real lesson is in the first aid skills you develop, such as how to stop the bleeding, the best way to clean a wound and how to put on six feet of medical gauze.
That lesson led to an up close and personal look at how the body heals itself. I got to watch how scabs form, how they eventually fall off and the cool scar they leave when it is all over.
This was a lesson I would learn several times actually. I never said I was the brightest bulb in the marquee.
As I reached the teen years, I embraced the attitude that comes with them, but I quickly learned to never (and I mean ever) say to your dad, “What are you going to do about it.”
I found out real fast what he was going to do about it and it was a learning experience to be remembered. I may be dumb, but I ain't stupid.
As the teen years progressed, I learned police do not like it when you call them a crusty butt hair.
It tends to make them rather annoyed actually, usually leading to a vehicle search and having your name put on the every-single-cop-in-the-city-will-be-looking-out-for-you list.
Unfortunately, I was well past my teens before I learned that kind smart-ass attitude will not help your cause in the least.
When I had children, I learned I really wasn't that busy pre-child. Before the little ones started arriving, I thought life was crazy busy. With two or three things to do that whole day, how can I keep up?
Now that my home has been invaded by kids (I know it's my own doing) I do two or three things before breakfast.
More recently, I learned sucking in your gut does not make you weigh less when you jump on the scale.
All those old injuries I brushed off in my youth have taught me the value of ibuprofen (which I purchase by the crate.)
And in marriage I have learned a happy wife makes for a happy life and no matter what, the mother-in-law is always welcome in your home (even when you would rather chew tinfoil).