1. Always buy Thomas’ English muffins, no matter what the price may be of other brands. And always, always, split them with a fork. You absolutely need those nooks and crannies.
2. And don’t skimp on the toilet paper, either. Single ply should be illegal!
3. Never say never. You hear people say, “Oh, I could never do that.” But until you are in a situation, you really don’t know how you will react and what your capabilities are. So if you think you cannot possibly take time to come see your favorite aunt, think again.
4. You are NOT the center of the universe. The world exists all around you, but not because of you.
5. If you see a truck in the distance stopping at a red light ahead of you, try to move safely to the left lane. Otherwise you’ll be stuck behind him when the light turns green.
6. If you are behind a truck or sports car on a hill, give them a little extra space because they might just slide back when they shift into first gear. Not everyone drives an automatic transmission. In fact, it wouldn’t kill you to learn how to drive one. That’s how I learned to drive. You will have a skill that few people have anymore and it could come in handy if you go on “The Amazing Race.”
7. Think before you speak. And think about how your words will be taken by the other person/people.
8. Don’t make your hobby into your business or it won’t be a hobby anymore. That’s why I don’t do professional photography. It is still fun for me.
9. Take initiative. You can’t always rely on other people to make the plans and the arrangements. If they leave you out, you’ll be missing out on something you wanted to do.
10. Be nice to girls and to their parents. And never be a jerk.
11. Don’t think that your way is the only way. Try new things. You might just learn something and find a better way. After decades of eating my cereal dry, now I’m adding a splash of milk. And I like it.
12. Cops will find you when you drive away from a bar.
13. Never, never, drive drunk. Don’t drive with someone else who is drunk. And don’t text while driving. The common denominator here for risk seems to be driving or riding in a car. So think about that carefully.
14. However, assuming you didn’t do the driving but you stayed in one place and got drunk and the world is spinning, do yourself a favor: Stick your finger down your throat and make yourself throw up. It is yucky at the time, but getting over it is preferable to being sick all night.
15. When a girl says no, she means no. Show some respect.
16. Demonstrate your appreciation. If you go on a job interview, write a follow-up letter of thanks and mention specific things from the interview. And show your appreciation to your parents, who have sacrificed so much for you.
17. Have a firm handshake and look people in the eye. Though you come from a generation that has spent its youth looking down on a handheld device to communicate, speak directly and be engaged in the conversation.
18. Don’t interrupt.
19. Under no circumstances are Sperry Topsiders, no matter how new, appropriate to wear with a suit.
20. Keep your shoes shined.
21. Under no circumstances should your pants dip below your boxers so they are visible.
22. Respect is earned. Make sure your actions inspire respect from others.
23. On the other hand, your grandmother, the late, great Sylvia Gordon, always advised me not to take crap from anyone. So don’t — but earn their respect.
24. You can’t control the outcome of every situation, but you can control the amount of effort you put into it.
25. Just when you think you know everything, you’ll figure out that you have a lot more to learn.
26. Always, always, always, be nice and respectful to executive/administrative assistants. They know more than you do (and probably more than their bosses in many cases) and they are the gatekeepers. You want to see the boss? You had better have a good rapport with her/his assistant. Treat them as the professionals they are.
27. Failure is not fatal. It isn’t something to which to aspire, but when you fail, as you inevitably will, learn a lesson from the failure to make it worthwhile. You’ll most likely recover and you will have learned something useful.
28. Read. Enjoy culture, not just those loud bands you follow. Visit museums, see good (and bad) movies, go to the theater. Experience the classics. Love “The Godfather.”
29. When in doubt, do without. If you aren’t certain about buying something, you probably don’t need it, so don’t buy it.
30. You’ve been a lucky guy, getting through college and enjoying life, so pay it forward. Whether it is your time or your money or your expertise, share with others less fortunate or with people who can use your help. I can’t count how many resumes I have reviewed for people, how many causes I have supported, how many interviews for which I have helped people prepare. You can’t buy the feeling of doing good for others and it makes you feel great.
31. Don’t make decisions based on money. Sure, money is a factor, but don’t make it the deciding factor in whether you take a new job, or you might be working in a field you don’t like just because the job paid you more than you were getting elsewhere. This caveat applies to a myriad of things.
32. Expand your vocabulary so you know the meaning of words like caveat and myriad. I know you can beat me on Words With Friends, so I haven’t even tried to play you to avoid embarrassment.
33. Recycle. That means all those beer bottles, you know?
34. Always have sharp knives. You can get cut more easily when your knives are dull. And pay attention to what you are doing when you have a knife in your hand.
35. Work hard. Do your best. And have fun. You should have a laugh at least once a day. It is good for the soul.
36. Cherish your friends and your childhood memories. All those days on the soccer fields, all those baseball games and hanging around with the Case Drive Crew are priceless.
37. Be responsible. Pay your bills on time and don’t run up credit card balances.
38. Do what you say you will do. Let people be able to count on you.
39. Rise to the occasion. Don’t be afraid to take on a larger responsibility than you are ready to take. Someone who suggested it thinks that you are ready.
40. You are responsible for your own career. Take it on fully and don’t expect anyone to hand you success. Earn it.
41. Don’t assume anything. Communicate unambiguously and never make assumptions. You know what they say — “When you ASSUME, you make an ASS of YOU and ME.”
42. Stay active. Work out, run, whatever you like to do to stay fit and in shape. Your mind and body will be better for it.
43. Keep track of your stuff. Don’t lose your shirt, shorts and phone charger. I say this now, because you already do, and you should stop that immediately.
44. Don’t use a dumb e-mail address like “Hotguy” or post information on Facebook or Twitter about getting drunk or doing stupid stuff. Prospective employers will look up your social media profile and be turned off by what you post. You not only won’t get the job, you won’t even get the interview.
45. Proofread everything you send out. Eliminate the errors before someone points them out to you. I have seen resumes where the people had their own names spelled wrong. Doesn’t that make a great first impression?
46. If you get a stain on something, treat it immediately. You can save plenty of clothes with a little cold water or a Shout wipe.
47. Clean up after yourself. The dishes need to be washed, the beds need to be made and your sheets need to be changed more than once a year. If you keep things orderly, you’ll be more productive.
48. Make sure you have a supply of the stuff you use most often, from orange juice to toilet paper to pens & pencils (assuming you ever use them). You don’t have to go overboard, but stock and restock the items you use most so you don’t run out.
49. Keep in touch. I want to hear from you when you don’t need something or you aren’t obligated to thank me. Just talk to me because I am someone special in your life.
50. Always, always, remember the answer to this question: “Who is your favorite aunt?” I know I am the only one, but still…