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  • Writer's pictureEric Knabel

Thoughts From Six Feet Away: A Year Older, A Year Wiser

I have come to realize that when I write about COVID, people read what I have to say, and they share it with their friends. After my last post about immunizations, I’ve had dozens of positive comments, but unfortunately, I’ve burned some bridges as well. The world has doubled down on conspiracy theories and their ideals about personal freedom (at the expense of everyone else), so I’ve chosen not to participate in all the noise...for now.

That being said, I’m going to do what I originally intended to do with my blog -- share my thoughts and, at times, share a few laughs. Heaven knows there’s enough of both. Hopefully, people will read it with the same fervor, and share it with their friends. If not, it’s all good!

Let’s start with some random thoughts:

Anyone ever tried to cancel satellite radio? It’s the 21st century version of getting rid of a timeshare. I’d wager there are STDs that are easier to get rid of (I speak from professional experience, not personal)

You know you live with a gamer when you hear the phrase, “I’m so happy,” and you don’t even look up from your dinner when the next words are “My friends and I all died last night.”

Words actually uttered by me last week: “He looks like Ron Jeremy without all the sex.”

Does anything strike more terror in your heart than the ‘Check Engine’ light?

I was recently told that my math skills were lacking, and I was an abomination to God. Just another Monday in the clinic.

If you have a fish emblem on your trunk underneath a bumper sticker that says “Fuck Trump,” I think you’re sending mixed messages.

I’m as progressive as the next guy, but it seems to me that people have stopped trying to conceal the fact that they smell like weed.

I saw a sign in front of a business the other day that said “No loitering.” Apparently, I pass 1974 on my way to work.

I used to have a collection of vintage concert T-shirts. Since finding out my mom threw them away, I’ve grieved them like I lost a sibling.

Speaking of overreactions, stop acting like the biggest tragedy in the past year is not being able to go to sporting events or concerts. It’s not.

Don’t ask for my opinion unless you really want to hear it. More often than not, I wish people would just say, “Would you mind validating MY opinion?”

I haven’t worn khakis since April of last year. Can’t wait to see if they fit when this is over.

Can you imagine how great the world would be on the other end of this thing if some of us worked on new skills and being better people? It beats wallowing in your losses.

Aim to enjoy your job as much as the person who puts clever sayings on your church’s marquee. We don’t have any of those where I live, but the person that changes the marquee at the strip club is exceptional. Examples of their work: a holiday season message that says “Come feel our stockings,” and my all-time favorite, “All bras 100% off.” Went past today, and it said, “Come check out our stimulus package.”

Aren’t software updates supposed to imply progress? I’ve regressed so far in the past few months that I’m longing for the days of 5-1/4” floppy disks and dial-up modems.

I’ve grown tired of giving my best efforts to people who take them for granted. That doesn’t make me selfish, it makes me intolerable of self-abuse.

Martyrdom is overrated.

I got excited about taking hazardous materials for drop-off last weekend. Next stop -- hip replacement.


So, I recently hit the milestone birthday of 50. It takes on medical significance as well, opening the door to colonoscopies and prostate exams. So while grabbing my colonoscopy prep and waiting for my PSA results, I reflected upon my life. Even by the most optimistic estimates, half my life has been consumed. I recently lost a good friend and colleague, reminding me that there are no guarantees of tomorrow. What would I want my kids and loved ones to know? Remember the movie “My Life?” My wife and I saw it when we were first dating (and she refuses to see it again). Michael Keaton plays a man who is dealing with terminal cancer, and Nicole Kidman plays his wife, who is pregnant with their first child. Obsessed with being a role model for his future son, he begins recording everything, until there are mounds of videotapes at the end. I don’t intend to undertake anything that dramatic, but here are a few things I’ve learned in my half-century:

Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Don’t order a big meal at a Mexican restaurant. You’ll eat your weight in chips before it even gets there.

If you’re going to break the rules, don’t cry about the consequences.

Don’t mess with the pancreas.

The only place in life where you start at the top is digging a hole.

It’s better to do things than have stuff.

Sometimes there just isn’t enough bourbon.

Never teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time, and it annoys the pig.

The secret to living forever is getting a chronic disease and taking good care of it.

Don’t blame the person or thing that revealed your problem.

I’d rather have character and work ethic than talent.

Our response to anything is based on all the times we’ve been burned by bad decisions.

At the end of the day, they can’t eat you or take away your birthday.

The windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason.

It’s time to take off your watch.

Find the music inside of you. Not everyone has to dig it, but it’s gotta move you.

Never stop evolving – it’s the greatest manifestation of maturity.

You’ll learn more from the people who disagree with you than you ever will from the people who think like you do.

Order dessert.

The antidote for fear is action. The greatest tragedies of our life are carried out in the six inches between our ears.

Our words may inspire, but actions can move mountains.

Stop being a spectator – be the main character in the story of you.

“If life is a radio, turn it up to ten.” – Paul Stanley, Crazy Crazy Nights

Be daring. Act like you belong where you are at all times. Push until you get resistance.

Marching to the beat of a different drummer is one thing – choosing the genre and the tempo is another.

The worst thing you can be is “busy” – a hamster on the wheel is busy. Be productive.

Always know what your “non-negotiables” are.

I hate the phrase, “It must be nice.” Those who utter it know nothing of the sacrifices and the hard work it took to be in that “nice” position.

Different level, different devil.

When a clothing store employee asks to accessorize for you, say yes.

When someone offers to pay for dinner, let them.

Small minds talk about people, and mediocre minds talk about events. Great minds talk about ideas.

If you want to soar like an eagle, prepare to be alone. Turkeys flock.

Never mistake the symptom for the problem.

Don’t wait until a tragedy occurs to count your blessings.

Most days, it takes zero effort to mind your own damn business. If you need to know something, you’ll be told.

No one on their deathbed has ever said they wish they’d worked more.

Fear can only motivate you for so long.

Learn to see the beauty in today. The future will be here soon enough, and we tend to forget the parts that sucked about the “good old days.”

Those who conquer themselves win.

You can learn a lot about someone by the way they treat animals and children.

It is what it is, but we make it what it will be.

Show me where someone spends their time, and I’ll tell you what their priorities are.

A good friend can pick up a conversation from twenty years ago without missing a beat.

I spent my early years worried that people were laughing at me before I realized how liberating laughing at myself can be.

We spend too much time worrying about what others think of us, rather than how little they actually do.

Beauty is only skin deep, but I’ve seen attractive people rendered absolutely hideous by an ugly soul.

Don’t decide whether or not to see a movie based on the reviews.

Don’t read the comments.

Cultivate friendships like you can only have five in your entire life.

Never do a majority of the giving in a relationship with the expectation that the other will feel bad and start pulling their weight.

Don’t wait until you’re dying to start on your bucket list.

Only you can determine your worth - stop letting others appraise you.

Live like you’ll die tomorrow, and learn like you’ll live forever.

Take naps.

Don’t waste time convincing yourself that minor things are major things.

The easiest resource in the world to replace is money. There is no getting back a loss of time or health.

Knowledge is the product of evidence and experience. You can get by with one, but if you have neither, shut up and listen to those who do.

Don’t complain about what you permit.

You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.

Never be afraid to form your own opinions.

The enemy within is greater than the enemy without.

It takes less time to just do something, than complaining about it and having to do it anyway.

Sing or bang your head with your radio. Even at red lights.

Drink more water.

Be the person that people would follow out of a burning building.

Love people and use things, not the other way around.


My only regret is that I didn’t write lessons down as I learned them. I guess that’s the first lesson I’ve learned for the next fifty! Continue to take care of yourself, as well as those around you. May compassion, kindness, and patience grow in abundance in your mind. In other words, be excellent to each other, and...

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