Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wash the Glasses First

“Here’s a hint,” said Tracey. “Wash the glasses first.” My friend Tracey was critiquing my dish washing technique (or lack thereof). I had made the faux pas of washing some greasy plates before I washed my glasses.
It makes perfect sense, of course. If you wash something greasy before you wash a glass, the greasy water in the sink will make the glass greasy. It’s so obvious, but no one ever taught me that before. I think this was something I should have been taught in school.
I did learn some useful things in school. I learned about pi, helium, calculus, Peking man, Peking Duck and Planck’s constant. I was taught about Shakespeare, subjects, predicates, trigonometry and plate tectonics, all of which serve me well in my daily life. In fact, it was only the other day during one of our all too frequent West Coast earthquakes, that I stopped and said, “Ah, tectonics,” before scrambling into the alleged safety of a doorway.
No, really. The B.C. educational system taught me a lot. I can explain to you the physics behind a lunar eclipse. (One night, I explained it to a group of strangers at Willows Beach, using a garbage can, a large rock and a car as my props.)
But now, many years later, I wish that the educational system had taught me the important things that a person really needs to know to get through life. Sure, algebra is important, but it was a dirty glass that embarrassed me in front of my friend. Why wasn’t I ever taught that in school? There needs to be a class called Important Stuff 101, where you learn meaningful concepts like:

- wash the glasses first;
- how to tie a necktie;
- what to do when you can’t communicate with your partner anymore;
- credit cards and the road to financial ruin;
- how to fake insincerity;
- how to care about someone without becoming smothering and possessive;
- you can’t change the past, so learn whatever lessons you can and move on;
- popular people aren’t any happier than you are;
- how to cook more than Kraft dinner;
- spiritual well-being is more important than money;
- vacuuming can be fun;
- how to accept people for who they are;
- quality, not quantity;
- always remember to wash colours separately;
- how to ignore advertising;
- live for today – tomorrow never knows;
- where to find the strength to tell her you love her, and where to find the wisdom to know if you should;
- how to believe in yourself;
- how to live with yourself;
- how to let go.

I didn’t learn anything like this in school. These are all lessons that I have learned later in life. Some of these lessons have been difficult, most I still need to practice and some I will never master.
But if you need help to solve a quadratic equation, I’m your man.

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