Freddi Lama’s lessons for life
(Note: Freddi is Dalai’s zany, rambunctious, lesser-known kid brother.)1. Give people more than they expect, and do it cheerfully. But get a receipt. Taxes, you know.2. Memorize your favorite poem. Recite it often, in costume, while sucking helium.3. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or loaf all you want. Don’t put your hand in the Cuisinart before the blade stops turning.4. When you say, “I love you,” mean it. Otherwise, you’ll never get any action.5. When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye (see above).6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married. Longer, should the parole officer recommend it.7. Believe in love at first sight. Believe that love is blind. Believe that you are the deposed ruler of the distant planet Baalquasar, poised to avenge the death of your brother by the hand of the evil Emperor Tawdinab. Why the hell not? People believe all sorts of stuff.8. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much. You can laugh at their teeth, though.9. Love deeply and passionately. You may get hurt, but it’s the only way to live life completely. It helps to keep a few Tylenol 3s around, just in case.10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name-calling. The only exception would be: “Fatty, fatty, two-by-four, can’t fit through the bathroom door.”11. Teach yourself to speak slowly but think quickly. In pig Latin.12. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk. A good alternative is a nice, cushy recliner.13. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson. But keep in mind that the lesson could be your need to pitch a big, snotty fit.14. Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions. Should those fail, try the auxiliary R: restraining order.15. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship. Don’t let a little felony ruin a great business plan. Don’t let a little open sore ruin a great night on the town.16. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. Or better yet, stuff a bunch of cash into a duffel bag, put on a disguise and head for the Greyhound station.17. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice. Make sure you cover the mouthpiece thoroughly before you flush.18. Marry a person you love to talk to. As you get older, his/her conversational skills will be even more important. A trust fund tends to smooth over those conversational rough spots.19. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values. Constantly check to make sure your fly is zipped.20. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. Especially if the question has to do with physics or history or some other subject that you know absolutely nothing about and will look like a total moron should you try to comment.21. Read more books. Television is no substitute. Books ABOUT television are OK, though. Especially flip-books.22. Trust in God, but lick your car. Lock. I meant to say “lock.”23. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life. Do all you can to create a tranquil, harmonious home. Sometimes, though, there’s no substitute for a good thrashing with a hickory switch.24. Be gentle with the earth. Plant hickory trees (see above).25. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past. That’s what your attorney is for.26. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality. If you don’t have a lot of knowledge, donate sperm. 27. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before. While there, complain about the accommodations and/or service, affix a video camera permanently to your eye and buy lots of stupid T-shirts. Have a slide show when you get home.28. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon. When you tear into that Hungry Man Salisbury Steak TV Dinner package, do so with the passion and commitment of someone who is about to miss the opening credits for “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” Barry Smith’s column appears on Mondays. Read more on Barry’s blog, http://www.barrysmith.wordpress.com.
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Teachers are underpaid. They can’t find housing. Turnover is unacceptably high. If you are a teacher in Aspen today, you face losing your entire current work group five years hence.