THIS OLD DOG
LIKES NEW TRICKS

     One of the many things that fascinates me about life is that in my sixth decade of living, I can discover something that I could and should have been doing for the last 50 years.
     For instance, just the other day my daughter informed me that most cars have an arrow on the gas guage that shows what side of the car the fuel tank is on.
    This upset me for two reasons: 1) Had I known this, I could have avoided the many, many times I pulled into a gas station with a rental car and desperately and unsuccessfully craned my neck to see if I could spot a gas tank on my side, only to end up guessing, usually wrong. 2) How did my daughter get so lucky to find this out at such a young age?
     Nevertheless, it showed me once again that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks. To prove my point, I will list three additional miraculous discoveries I have made in the last year. While these may seem ridiculously obvious, it doesnít matter. These are my stupid revelations, and everyone else has their own.
     NUMBER ONE: YOU DONíT HAVE TO PULL YOUR BATHING SUIT DOWN WHEN PEEING IN THE OCEAN.
     Come on, quit cringing. Everyone does it, men and women alike. Itís an ocean, not a swimming pool, and bathrooms are seldom nearby. But all my life Iíve struggled with pulling my suit down while being battered by the waves. It just wasnít that comfortable. Then one day, not long ago, it dawned on me that it doesnít really matter because youíre already underwater and basically in a washing machine. Suddenly, after 50 years of awkwardness, I was free.
     NUMBER TWO: YOU CAN EAT A WHOLE PRAWN WITHOUT PEELING IT ALL THE WAY TO THE TAIL.
     I like prawns. And all my life, Iíve taken that first bite right down to that last half an inch where some lazy kitchen guy stopped peeling it. Then Iíd peel away the remnants of the shell so that I could devour that last half an inch of prawn. And it was always less than satisfying.
     Then a few months ago, I somehow realized that if you squeeze from the bottom while simultaneously pulling the whole prawn with your teeth, every bit of the prawn comes happily into your mouth. I now enjoy prawns more than ever.
     NUMBER THREE: YOU CAN STORE YOUR SUNGLASSES ON TOP OF YOUR BASEBALL HAT.
     Iím well aware people have been doing this for years. For some inexplicable reason, I never thought of it until lately. I guess I assumed they would fall off. But once I started doing it, I was amazed at the security and the convenience. No longer do I stick my sunglasses in my pocket, risking breakage or loss or a big bulge. I now have a permanent parking place on top of my hat where I can easily take them on and off.
     As these examples show, Iím kind of clueless about certain things. But the key is in the timing of the discovery. While Iíve wasted countless years floundering in the ocean, spitting out prawn shells and fumbling for sunglasses, I hope to have many years left enjoying my new knowledge.
     The worst that can happen is what happened to me at the tender age of nine. My best friend, Cory, lived all the way around the block and down the hill in San Francisco. We had been best friends for five years and would have seen much more of each other if he had lived closer.
     But around the block and down the hill is a long way when youíre a little kid. So we played together when we could, and wished for more.
     Then one day when we were nine years old we were playing in my backyard and decided to explore the thick bushes in the very rear. We poked our way around until we could see through, and much to our surprise, there was another house. Thatís right---Coryís house.
     Imagine our delight, and then imagine how stupid and disappointed we felt when we remembered it was our last time playing together because I was moving to the other side of the city the next day.
     Iím not making that mistake again. So if you see someone standing waist deep in the rough surf, sunglasses firmly entrenched on his baseball hat, and happily eating a big old prawn, youíll know itís me.
     Just donít come too close.
 

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