Join 3,363 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


You have to learn how to die, if you wanna wanna be alive
June 7, 2007 7:24 PM   Subscribe

50 Things You Need to Know by 50
By Kirk Douglas, Donald Trump, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
Suze Orman, Henry Winkler, Kathy Ireland, Al Roker,
Wolf Blitzer, Engelbert Humperdinck…and more

posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (66 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some of these are great. Too bad they had to include Suze Orman though (I hate her with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns).
posted by stinkycheese at 7:30 PM on June 7, 2007


12. How to Die

The point of the party is not your leaving it. Apologize for any breakage, thank your hosts, listen when they say they were glad you could come, mean it when you say you had a wonderful time, then grab your coat and go. Make sure the door closes behind you. Don't forget your hat.


I'm confused.
posted by yeoz at 7:31 PM on June 7, 2007


Wolf Bitzer: "If you plan on being anywhere for a while, register with the U.S. Embassy in the country where you're going so they can keep tabs on you."

Ha ha ha.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:35 PM on June 7, 2007


Well, Matt can shut down AskMe. It's been made completely irrelevant.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:39 PM on June 7, 2007


To the "How to Lose Weight" -- "(Eat. Less.)" -- I would add "Exercise hard enough to sweat and pant for at least 20 minutes every other day." Merely eating less only taught my body to slow its metabolism down to keep what it had. Speedmarching with weights is what really made me drop the pounds and keep them off.

Swimming would probably be even better. I have a friend who started routinely swimming laps; she's probably in even better shape than I am.
posted by pax digita at 7:41 PM on June 7, 2007


Never never ever going to read "The Fountainhead".
posted by Burhanistan at 7:49 PM on June 7, 2007


Not a bad list, though it wasn't great either.

When I saw Donald Trump's name in the list I groaned — WHY would anyone take business advice from a man who hasn't been solvent for 20 years? However, his advice about not expecting someone you've fired to like you is quite true.
posted by orange swan at 8:06 PM on June 7, 2007


You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sitting at the table.
There'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:11 PM on June 7, 2007


"If someone says 'Smell this,' don't."

That is terrible advice. Smelling things for friends is basically the foundation of my philanthropic philosophy.
posted by mmcg at 8:15 PM on June 7, 2007


What's Henry Winkler's? "If people are starting to think that you're past your use-by date, try an exciting stunt like jumping over a shark to prove you've still got it!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:16 PM on June 7, 2007


You never count your money when you're sitting at the table.
There'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done
.

There's actually a nice esoteric meaning in that line. In the literature of the Sufis, there is the idea of wird and warid. Wird is your works (invoking the Names of God, prayers, fastings, etc); Warid is the resultant spirtual state bequeathed by performing said works sincerely and with full presence of heart. A smart sufi will know not to capitalize on the good energy of the Warid, but rather continue focusing on the wird until it's time to cash in at the end.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 PM on June 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


Forgiveness comes from the emotional brain. If you go "Hmm" you haven't done it.
Always tip the waitress. Heavily if you have it.
5
12
You don't want to here me sing. See 12.
15 - 25 Life.
posted by Mblue at 8:20 PM on June 7, 2007


Some interesting stuff in there - but the books let the whole side down.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:23 PM on June 7, 2007


I'm sorry, but this is stupid. Stupider than stupid. Stupider than stupid's brother. Stupider even than the illegitimate offspring of an incestuous relationship between stupid and idiotic. Stupider than the dogshit that Katherine Harris scraped off her shoe this morning.

And its conclusive proof of the decline of civilization as we know it. When the AARP - not "Entertainment Tonight," not People Magazine, not some two-bit celebrity-following website supported by suppository ads, but the AA-fucking-RP decides that appropriate fodder for their membership is asking a bunch of J-list celebrities - Kathy Ireland? Engelbert Humperdinck? Hulk Hogan? Henry goddamn Winkler? - the 50 things to know before you die..well, that just takes the twinkie and shoves it up our collective asses. I'd like to think its a joke, a bit of gerontological postmodern irony, but I fear that its not. No, its the folks who should be reminding us that there is more to life that empty celebrity-worship finally giving in to the post-irony age in which even the most pathetic scrap of name-recognition is preferable to a delicately reasoned argument or genuine wisdom. When Al Roker, a man whose claim to fame is - and let's be honest here - that he's the fat black heir to a fat white weatherman forgodssakes, is consulted on the proper etiquette for expressing a modicum of regret.......well, doesn't that just take the biscuit.

[/rant]
posted by googly at 8:23 PM on June 7, 2007 [9 favorites]


Well, the AARP isn't really that much of anything, really, beisdes a lobbying arm and a discount scam. Their publishing arm puts out a steady stream of vapid throwaway stuff like this. It's filler, and some old people like filler because it passes the time until they get to die. But one shouldn't be surprised that they're not putting out timeless wisdom to be deeply pondered.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:28 PM on June 7, 2007


51, Don't forget to breath, breathing is an important part of life

52, Be really really rich, so you won't have to worry about anything

53, Fully master staircases, remember there are two directions, both up AND down....
posted by mattoxic at 8:29 PM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


44. Score a Day Off

Claim back pain. It's an easy injury to get medical documentation for, says Joe L., a workers' comp exec. "There's a 70 percent chance an MRI will show something wrong in your lower back, even if you feel fine."


and what if your company insists you get it fixed before you can come back to work? ... BAD advice

54 never tell an alligator bite my snatch
posted by pyramid termite at 8:32 PM on June 7, 2007


I guess cliched pick-up lines work for Isaac Hayes. I mean, the man speaks and panties fall off. The rest of us have to be a little more clever...
posted by bcveen at 8:33 PM on June 7, 2007


No, its the folks who should be reminding us that there is more to life than empty celebrity-worship finally giving in to the post-irony age in which even the most pathetic scrap of name-recognition is preferable to a delicately reasoned argument or genuine wisdom.

Spot on. Case in point: Henry Winkler's actual attempt at "wisdom" was "raise teenagers".

Pardon me, but if you have children, then chances are you are gonna have to do this at some stage. If you don't have children, it's simply not an option.

I guess what he was trying to say was along the lines of "your teenagers may teach you things if you are attentive", but raising teenagers is simply not one of the fifty things you need to learn by age fifty, if you don't have fucking children. Sheesh!
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:34 PM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


mattoxic
Bullshit. When you tumble, all directions are experienced.
posted by Mblue at 8:34 PM on June 7, 2007


Yeeeah, I regret the use of the word great. I like the concept, but there's a lot of silly, dumb, even ignorant stuff in there. And, as mattoxic points out, it really leans towards the whole babyboomer sense of what constitutes real life as well.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:35 PM on June 7, 2007


68. They are watching your every move and remotely monitoring your brainwave activity. Act natural and get used to it but never forget they are looking. Right now.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:35 PM on June 7, 2007


Yo b-hanistan, is this Sufi? It sure is hypnotic and beautiful.
posted by vronsky at 8:38 PM on June 7, 2007


Dance as if no one can hear the voices in your head...
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:39 PM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mblue, tumbling wouldn't be quite 'mastering' now would it. But the spiral staircase makes an interesting directional point.
posted by mattoxic at 8:40 PM on June 7, 2007


69. Remember you can wear your underpants four times without washing them: forwards, backwards, inside-out forwards, inside-out backwards.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:40 PM on June 7, 2007


70. Burhanistan is one of them.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:41 PM on June 7, 2007


You forgot upside-down.
posted by vronsky at 8:44 PM on June 7, 2007


vronsky: no YouTube here, but did you link to the whirling dervishes? I'm guessing yes. They are only one particular branch of Sufism, revolving around (sorry!) the teachings of Mevlana Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, historically centred in Konya, Turkey.

Sufism extends across much of the Islamic world, from more vigorous & energetic spinning that you see in Egypt, to the qawwalis of India & Pakistan. Reaching a transcendental ecstatic state through music, dance, or chanting is an aspect of the practice.

posted by UbuRoivas at 8:45 PM on June 7, 2007


mattoxic, tumbling has a point of reference, you don't get to choose where gravity puts it. The spiral staircase does direct you though.
posted by Mblue at 8:46 PM on June 7, 2007


...upside-down forwards, upside-down backwards, upside-down inside-out forwards, upside-down inside-out backwards...
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:46 PM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dance like you don't need the money.
posted by Floydd at 8:48 PM on June 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


vronsky: that kid is awesome, but not a Sufi as such. He's simply reciting a famous surah of the Quran. A "sufi" is usually considered one who belongs to a sufi order, though one can get fluffy and verbose with meanings.

Here are some sufis.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:49 PM on June 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Previous FPP on Rumi & the Whirling Dervishes. Wikipedia also has plenty of detail, in spite of the "irreconcilable ethnic and religious lines over a period of several years".

Burhanistan, akhi: this is supposed to be a thread on wisdom for life. Why are you trying to re-rail it so?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:58 PM on June 7, 2007


UbuRovais: I've lost most of my sense of narrow linear discretion, alhamdulillah.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:00 PM on June 7, 2007



Burhanistan, akhi: this is supposed to be a thread on wisdom for life. Why are you trying to re-rail it so?


Well, I'm an actor.
posted by Mblue at 9:06 PM on June 7, 2007


I was debating myself whether to post this myself - whether the 16 good pieces of advice would outweigh the 34 crap pieces...

#1 sounds good as long as I don't have to imagine Dr. Ruth saying it
#2 "being bitter only pickles the one that stews in the brine" George Takai FTW!
#3 & #4 - welcome to reality! hope you'll stay a while
#8 I like that they included Swahili & Klingon
#11 - more reality. wow.
#15 - excellent use of a single word. sincerely.
#25 if only to remind us that you can now refer to Jimmy Page without most of the AARP saying "Who da hell is tHAT?"
#28 should have ended after the 1st sentence, but it was funny
#34 Thanks Mom!
#37 wished I'd known that when I was 20 years younger and inches taller
#41 from experience... 100% accurate; any higher, he won't care, any lower he won't believe you
#45 - Art Linkletter disses Bill Cosby! Worth the price of admission!
#47 - the AARP disses FDR... huh, without his Social Security, the AARP wouldn't exist
#48.4 this is an ancient truth
#50 so is this
posted by wendell at 9:22 PM on June 7, 2007


That was very anti-inspirational.
posted by the jam at 9:38 PM on June 7, 2007


Kee-rist people, take Mr. Takei's advice and stop stewing in your bitterness!
posted by JohannStrauss at 9:54 PM on June 7, 2007


And here's a list of words you know you should have known but might not have known at graduation from high school.
posted by acro at 10:03 PM on June 7, 2007


Thanks for those, acro. I've printed them out to tape to my 13-year-old son's door.
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:16 PM on June 7, 2007


Hey, loquacious is on that list!
posted by YoBananaBoy at 11:09 PM on June 7, 2007


Loquacious? That gauche, anti-abstemious, churlish, bellicose, fatuous, obsequious, feckless, supercilious, vacuous, chromosome-challenged paradigm of bowdlerizing chicanery?

I abjure this lexicon, and refuse to kowtow to its totalitarian orthography.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:12 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


7: You want to look like you lost weight? Lose weight.
18: Crab? Tobiko? Give the planet a break, you boomer fuck.
21: If you're 50 and have never grieved, you have never loved.
30: Chat her up until she offers you an upgrade to make you shut up. Putz.
32: Talk to a teen just like anybody else. They're people.
36a: Never send a 2 megapixel email.
48: To divide heirlooms without a will, give them away while you live.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:14 AM on June 8, 2007


4. No matter how many times you bring your mitt to the game, the manager will never gaze out into the stands, land his eyes on you, and say, "Hey, how about that guy?"

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by phaedon at 1:39 AM on June 8, 2007


Well, the AARP may have paid lip-service to other species, but they overlooked the ancient — if sexist — wisdom of the Ferengi:

She can touch your lobes but never your latinum.
posted by rob511 at 1:58 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Hitting the lobes and working the latinum)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:00 AM on June 8, 2007


Whoever wrote 36 is clearly not a supergeek. Gamers don't use a T1 for gaming because its download speed is much slower than cable and it costs 10 times as much. [Fiber optic is the next step up from cable, at least in america] A true supergeek gets unlimited data on his cell and used voip (not to talk to rl friends, but to his guildies). Megapixels does not translate to quality, the highest pixel cameras often have terrible quality: its the optics that make a camera good.
posted by Osmanthus at 4:01 AM on June 8, 2007


Not a bad list, though it wasn't great either.

No, it is a bad list. A very, enormously, tremendously, stunningly bad list. It's so bad, it's not even good enough to be sort of good because it's bad. Wasting my time reading it forced me to eat my own shit as penance.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:04 AM on June 8, 2007


I'm with EB.

Even those shitey "Dalai Lama quotes" that idiots circulate on email contain more wisdom than this.

So, I offer a headcleaner.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:21 AM on June 8, 2007


69. Remember you can wear your underpants four times without washing them: forwards, backwards, inside-out forwards, inside-out backwards.

Too complex, mistakes can be made; so I suggest:
69. Yellow in front, brown in back.

that's all
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 5:53 AM on June 8, 2007


13. Fire Someone
(Donald Trump)

If this is the best life-lesson this guy can offer, he really should just put himself out of his own, self-imposed misery.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:11 AM on June 8, 2007


Once, I apologized to the bartender at "Jake's Boathouse" because I had asked her to bring me the bill right away. While she was printing it up, this salty old dude at the bar turned to me and said "Can I give ya some advice young man? You should never apologize unless you're really sorry for something you've done. All this apologizing over nothing just makes people feel bad."

Then I said "oh I'm sorry for apologizing too much", which in hindsight was symptomatic of my\our growing inability to take anything seriously.

So:

70. Stop apologizing for every little thing

71. Take some things seriously. There are many things aside from just funerals that don't mix well with irony.
posted by autodidact at 8:02 AM on June 8, 2007


3. Law of the Olive Garden
The waitress is not hitting on you. Being friendly is her job


Aaaaamen. And bartenders aren't really your friends. They're stuck behind that big piece of furniture and they know how to make money there.

I know it hurts, but it's true.
posted by Miko at 8:03 AM on June 8, 2007


... like when old dudes give you heartfelt advice.
posted by autodidact at 8:06 AM on June 8, 2007


Pretend your relationship is a road trip. Your wedding was the Holland Tunnel. Your life is the New Jersey Turnpike. Death is Philadelphia. Pretend there are no exits, only rest stops.

Also, I don't think the person who wrote that actually spends much time in any of these locations.
posted by Miko at 8:08 AM on June 8, 2007


Also, I don't think the person who wrote that actually spends much time in any of these locations.

Or maybe they have, and they're exceeding the speed limit by a wide margin.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:24 AM on June 8, 2007


be laconic
posted by edgeways at 9:17 AM on June 8, 2007


About the time I hit the book recommendations, I realized the list wasn't even intended to be good. Seriously, "Fountainhead"? Yipes.

And Hulk Hogan's "Hold your breath" when you fall? Horrible, horrible advice. So bad I wonder if he was actually having a joke at AARP's expense. You'll get the wind knocked out of you and be stunned if you try to hold your breath in a fall. Far better to exhale as you make impact with the mat to release the pressure on your lungs.

I will agree with having the "driving talk". That's good. Do that.
posted by darkstar at 9:46 AM on June 8, 2007


71. Take some things seriously. There are many things aside from just funerals that don't mix well with irony.

72. Don't confuse being serious with being solemn.
posted by raysmj at 11:09 AM on June 8, 2007


Suze Orman suggests that the easiest way to save money is to raise your FICO score ...

Has anyone watched Maxed Out? Suze Orman has a business partnership with the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO).
posted by raysmj at 11:22 AM on June 8, 2007


29: [Kirk Douglas mistakenly believes that he can significantly entertain his grandchildren with his thumb]: Kirk Douglas is apparently senile now.
posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail at 12:00 PM on June 8, 2007


Wow, George Takai took everyone's lunch and then some.

As much as I dislike Suze (what an awful name) and the whole rich dad/poor dad fad, she is right that the better your credit the better your interest rate, thus less per month in payments. I dont know where she gets the 78 dollars from, that must be for a 50,000+ car.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:46 PM on June 8, 2007


28. How to Navigate the Company Picnic
Land mine: Your new boss, who is 12
(Heh)

73. Existential nausea threatening to take over - try imagining a coked-up Hermann Hesse hopping around to le jazz hot.
posted by yoHighness at 3:41 AM on June 9, 2007


This really should be a series. As time passes this list would evolve to keep up with societal change. It would be interesting to see the volume II on this series five or even ten years from now.
posted by a_s_m at 3:13 AM on June 11, 2007


Brian Regan did a great bit about #41, the law of pain medicine on one of his 'I Walked on the Moon' DVD
posted by daHIFI at 8:50 AM on June 11, 2007


« Older A Day In The Life Of An MC Escher Drawing...  |  Newsfilter, pretty sure this i... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments