Charles at the Beach: My immutable laws for living (reasonably) well

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Charles M. Kelly

• One day you will die and the world will continue as if you were never born in the first place. Live with it. (Tell no one under 10. They can’t handle it.)

• Monday is the day when all things seem possible. Tuesday is the day when you look forward to next Monday.

• You cannot have a negative thought while a Chihuahua is licking your nose. Breathing is also a challenge.

• When covering a demonstration, the first step is to plan escape routes and hiding places. Then you look for a good place to take photos.

• Always carry extra notepads and pens, even on your day off.

• If ANYONE outside the company asks you to disobey your boss or violate company policy, politely decline. (But be cautious about saying no to a general. And leave the base immediately after you do.)

• After 10 p.m., only take phone calls from people who have the legal right to fire you or from people who wear guns on their hips. Everyone else can wait until the next day.

• Never take phone calls from anyone when you’re in the bathroom. Everyone will thank you.

• Don’t block unpleasant callers. Set their ringtone to “crickets.”

• If you are well enough to call for paramedics, you are well enough to text your boss and warn him you may not be at work on Monday. (Yes, I really did this once. Ask my boss.)

• Don’t hesitate to ask a question. It’s someone else’s job to reject you.

• If a door closes, throw yourself at the door until you force it back open. You can always crawl over the threshold. (Crying is permitted only if you crawl forward as you snivel.)

• If you fling yourself at doors a lot, maintain a supply of painkillers.

• Figure skaters who are afraid to fall on the ice in front of a crowd will never win a gold medal.

• If the audience cannot “boo” your dancing (or writing), their applause has no meaning. You get the privilege of working on a public stage. The public gets to criticize you.

• Those “boos” hurt, man—but they also keep you from turning vain. Accept the pain—because you can’t avoid it.

• Mistakes are unacceptable. Mistakes are unforgivable. The only people who don’t make mistakes are lazy good-for-nothings who don’t work. (My father actually fired employees who never made mistakes.)

• Lose your temper, lose the fight. (I keep forgetting that.)

• Always know where the exits are located.

• A day off is always more fun when you get some work done.

• If you have a problem, it means you need more problems or you need more work.

• No matter how dark it gets, put on sunglasses and pull down the shades.

• Try to be the kind of employee you would want to have working under you.

• Related: Don’t make yourself miserable. Someone is always willing to volunteer for that task.

• There are at least 18 ways to render the time of day. Pick one.

• You get one exclamation point a year. No rollovers.

• “Justice outweighs human life.”—Robert van Gulik. Human life outweighs deadlines. Deadlines outweigh everything else.—Charles M. Kelly

Charles at the Beach: My immutable laws for living (reasonably) well