All I really need to know I learned from The Three Stooges.Posted: June 16, 2011 Filed under: Past masters, They Don't Make Nostalgia Like They Used To | Tags: heroes, wisdom 3 Comments
Back in 1988 a guy named Robert Fulghum wrote a brief essay or poem or some such thing entitled “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.” It was as cute as hell, appeared in books and on posters and in church bulletins and embroidered on pillows, and made Robert Fulghum a boatload of dough. Well, coincidentally or not, about the time I was in kindergarten was when Channel 6 in Duluth started showing “The Three Stooges” on their afternoon kiddie show. I loved kindergarten, couldn’t wait to go there every day, but honestly I think the things I learned from Moe and Larry and Curly (and Shemp and Joe and Curly-Joe) ended up serving me better in adult life. How to live and what to do and how to be, as Fulghum put it.
There are times where my life would have turned out much better if only I’d channeled my inner Stooge rather than staying in line, waiting my turn, being quiet at nap time, and coloring inside the lines. And now as an uncle, one of my solemn sworn traditional duties is to introduce each nephew and niece to the Stooges. The torch is passed. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
These are the things I learned:
- Friends stick together. Even if they’re a bunch of knuckleheads.
- Even the biggest bully will back off when confronted by a solid show of coordinated, single-minded bullheadedness.
- Life will put you in situations you never expected to be in. The only way through it is through it. You may need to be a plumber or a paperhanger or a pie chef. Fake it till you make it. You can do it. If you can fake it, you can do it.
- No matter what more enlightened people may have you believe, sometimes the best possible option is a pure, dumb, flat-out show of force. Accompanied by “Grrrrrrr- – Woof! Woof! Woof!”
- People who put on airs sometimes have a pie in the face coming. Literally is the most fun, but figuratively works too.
- Don’t lose track of your siblings. They will be your best friends. (Moe and Shemp and Curly were brothers in real life.)
- When someone asks you, “How many fingers?” always put up The Block.
- Occasionally you will have to work alongside new people whom you are not used to. Treat them well, teach them what you can, and appreciate what they bring to the team.
- Sometimes the only thing that will get you moving in life is for someone to stick a beehive down your pants.
- Always make the biggest person take the bottom bunk.
- In every group there is always a take-charge guy, an alpha. Slap him back at your own risk.
- And some people just have a slap coming to them. You can’t protect them.
- Always try to keep your dignity. Even if you fail, at least you tried.
- You can tell a kind woman from a mean one by whether she laughs or sneers at your antics.
- To stop someone in their tracks when they try to take advantage, first call them out. “Oh – wise guy, huh?!”
- Never, ever play “Pop Goes The Weasel” at a boxing match.
- The first time you fall in love you will wander around saying, “Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo!”
- Sometimes the boss will give you a hit, even if you didn’t do anything. That’s in case you do, and he’s not around.
- If you can’t see what’s around you, maybe it’s because you’ve got your eyes closed.
- You may not want to do something until you’re good and ready. But sometimes you have to get ready before you’re ready.
- When offered an opportunity in life, be willing to say “Soitenly!”
- If you can’t dance, do the shuffle!
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