The Colonel celebrates another birthday this week.
Well..., "celebrates" probably isn't the best descriptor. "Observes" is a better word.
Birthdays for the Colonel are about as fun as a root canal. Everybody means well, wishing him happy, but, now that the Colonel has crossed the border into the terrifying territory inappropriately known as his "golden years," birthdays have become nothing more than reminders of impending terrors.
What could possibly terrify the Colonel, you ask? You thought he wasn't scared of "nuthin' or nobody, 'ceptin' the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda."
Let's just say that there is indeed a list of things that terrify him, topped with "1. Loss of memory," but the Colonel can't remember where he left it.
The Colonel would rather take the occasion of his completion of another air-breathing ride around the sun to reflect on some very important life lessons. He has been collecting these lessons -- mostly as a result of near-catastrophic events -- for over six decades now. He began codifying them under the title "Rebel's Rules" many years ago.
Why "Rebel's Rules?"
That's not important right now.
And, now, in no particular order of importance or inspirational catastrophic event; and with no claim of originality nor exclusivity:
1. Tractors don't swim. (Don't ask.)
2. Loving a woman is like paddling a canoe in a stiff breeze -- both require constant attention, a little bit at a time.
3. First reports are nearly always false, but perfect intelligence is unattainable.
4. That which does not kill you, may make you a cripple.
5. E-mail kills. The spoken word is thin as air, the written word is always there.
6. The speed and accuracy of an electron is inversely related to the urgency of the task involving the electron.
7. Power tools don't discriminate.
8. Low-information voting is not an exclusive province of either end of the political spectrum.
9. "Please" and "Thank you" are power words.
10. Trees and trucks are mortal enemies.
11. Give a man a 4WD truck, a length of chain, and a chainsaw and he will play, not-so quietly, by himself for hours.
12. Any store that doesn't sell duck calls and stink bait is a waste of bricks and mortar.
13. Eating during hours of daylight is a sign of weakness.
14. A mug of strong, hot coffee fuels inspiration.
15. Never trust a man who wears a hat indoors.
16. Never trust a man who wears his hat backwards -- fashion statements are for women.
17. Never trust a man who doesn't carry a pocket knife.
18. The bigger the knife the smaller the man.
19. Never underestimate the destructive potential of a squad of Marines, a three-year old grandson, or a six-month old labrador retriever.
20. Empires that build walls aren't empires for much longer.
21. The larger the known universe becomes, the greater God is.
22. Gardens cause weeds and trailer parks cause tornadoes.
23. Perception becomes reality.
24. The best ideas in any organization usually come from the ranks.
25. An organization is as great as the leader says.
26. Hope is not an acceptable course of action.
27. Training is everything and everything is training.
28. Meetings that last longer than 15 minutes usually devolve into pole vaulting over mouse turds.
29. Executive actions are indicative of legislative paralysis.
30. No such thing as an "over-built" bridge.
31. Change is a dragon; fight it and be eaten; ride it and live.
32. The line beyond which a word or idea is considered "politically incorrect" incessantly encroaches on common sense and freedom of expression, and is destructive to society-binding customs, courtesies and traditions.
33. Political correctness is antithetical to diversity.
34. Pity the man who has everything to live for and nothing worth dying for.
35. February is twenty-eight days of being pecked to death by a duck.
36. Never pass up the opportunity to allow someone else the opportunity.
37. Republics either continue to expand, or contract into irrelevance.
38. Chewing gum is the devil.
39. The highest responsibility of the government of a free people is to stay out of the way of the people it serves.
40. Limited war limits the possibility of a satisfactory outcome.
41. Covering wood grain with a coat of paint is a crime against nature.
42. Nothing calms the soul like a bird at your feeder.
43. Men and women are different for a reason and equal by reason.
44. No such thing as a fair fight.
45. Nothing good happens after midnight, unless you're at home.
46. Sleep is the reward of the righteous.
47. One man's music is another man's noise; share accordingly.
48. There's no such thing as a free lunch, a deep discount, or a pet rattlesnake.
49. Wherever you go, that's where you are.
50. The smartest man in any room is the man looking for the smartest man in the room.
51. The Pepsi Rule: Drinking more alcoholic drinks in one sitting than you would drink non-alcoholic drinks is alcohol abuse.
52. A long walk alone is therapy for a frantic mind.
53. Righteous indignation is a dish best served rarely.
54. A license to drive should not be issued to anyone without a full-time job.
55. Never pass up the opportunity to catch the buck.
56. The "perfect" leader would have perfect subordinates.
57. Boredom is God's call to prayer.
58. Understand the present by knowing history; understand history by knowing geography.
59. Climate and culture are not static.
60. A man who makes long lists of sophomoric sentences has far too much time on his hands.