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When you make your living from
writing, the good part is that you get to touch the lives of
thousands of people you’ll never meet, in places you’ve never
The bad part is that you’ll never hear from 99.999%
Because of this, it’s a welcome treat when you
do get to hear who’s reading your stuff, and how far it’s gone.
A few weeks ago, Bill Fox, who works at the Carson Center in
Paducah, KY, told us that an artist who was performing there saw
“Glenn’s Rules of Work” poster backstage. After reading it,
he sent his manager to Bill’s office to get a copy.
artist was Bob Dylan, who’s been called the voice of his
generation, and is the newest recipient of the Nobel Prize for
When I heard that he asked for a copy of
something I wrote, my first thought was of Mike Myers and Dana
Carvey in the Wayne’s World movie, saying “We’re not worthy!” to
rock legend Alice Cooper.
My nephew in Georgia is a huge
Dylan fan. When he heard about it, he informed me that was “Off
the chain”. (Uncle Glenn had to Google this).
day, he texted that he had something even more “Bombdiggity”
(more Googling required) to show me when he came to Nashville
While enjoying my sister-in-law’s
awesome no calorie banana pudding on Thanksgiving Day a few
weeks later, he announced that he was ready to reveal his “Off
the Hizzy” (even more Googling required) news.
me that one of his high school guidance counselors was using my
“Rules of Work”, and he had taken a picture of it. It read:
RULE 1: Life is not fair –
get used to it.
2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will
expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about
RULE 3: You will NOT make
$40,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice
president with a car phone, until you earn both.
4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
He doesn’t have tenure.
5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They
called it Opportunity.
6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine
about your mistakes, learn from them.
RULE 7: Before you were born,
your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that
way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening
to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain
forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try
delousing the closet in your own room.
RULE 8: Your school may have
done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some
schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you
as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t
bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off
and very few employers are interested in helping you find
yourself. Do that on your own time.
10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually
have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
I had to inform my nephew that I did not write “The
Rules of Life”. Those come from a 1996 book titled “Dumbing
Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves
But Can't Read, Write, or Add” by Charles J. Sykes.
While I don’t have a poster of Mr. Sykes’ rules, I believe he is
one of the most brilliant men in America, and deserves his own
Nobel Prize. And for that reason, I thought I should share his
rules with my readers.
No, the banana pudding isn’t really
zero calories. It’s just my rule that there are no calories in
anything you eat on birthdays or holidays.
I must add that I met Alice Cooper in the
Bahamas last year, and it was one of the biggest surprises of my
life. He’s a devout Christian, a scratch golfer, and one of the
smartest and nicest people I’ve ever met.
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