Saturday, April 18, 2009

Life's not fair. Get used to it.

Charles J. Sykes' list of "Rules kids won't learn in school":
  1. Life is not fair. Get used to it.
  2. The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.
  3. Sorry, you won't make $60,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be vice-president either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a GAP label on it.
  4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'till you get a boss.
  5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity.
  6. It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible.
  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 thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
  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.
  12. Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.
  13. You are not immortal. If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.
  14. Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life's depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You're welcome.
This list in its original form was the work of Charles J. Sykes, author of the 1996 book Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, or Add, and the 2007 book 50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education. The list is not the work of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, the late novelist Kurt Vonnegut, or Minnesota State Representative Brooks Coleman of Duluth. To see Sykes' list in its original form, see "Some Rules Kids Won't Learn in School" (Snopes, August 19, 2008).

[Hat tip to S.B.]

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