Sunday, October 8, 2017

Lessons From Luke

     As a tween, a teen, and a young adult, Luke was my best friend. Certainly, he was blessed with a powerful intellect; but what stood out most about his character was his uncanny ability to learn from his mistakes, and to then communicate this "knowledge learned the hard way" in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.
     Although the five "lessons" shared here may seem like trivial, obvious observations to many (if not most) adults, it's important to note that Luke first uttered them during our high school years. In other words, he was still a
child when he taught me to..

1.) "Be nice to average (and below average) looking girls, because they probably have really cute friends." 

     Who would have thought? As fifteen year old boys, we were more or less programmed to focus most intently on those females who piqued our interest on the most cellular level. Regarding this "obsession with appearances," I can't imagine that adolescent boys have evolved much since our hunter-gatherer days.. 
     For Luke to have thought "way outside the box" on such a primitive instinct as courtship/mate selection stands as a testament to his remarkably high level of cognition. Either that, or his dad (or perhaps some older kid) taught him this priceless Law of Attraction hack. 

     Nevertheless, Luke was dead-on with this observation--and by living its credo, he earned the reputation for being "one of the friendliest guys" at school. A trait that predictably endeared him to many of our cute (and not-so-cute) classmates. 

     In comparison, I, due to my then astonishingly weak social skills (and my inability to be nice to everybody) was admired by barely a few (if any). 

2.) "Only pursue those girls who you're certain 'like you back' least somewhat so!"

     Luke thought it was asinine to "dream of a crush" who never made eye contact, said "hello," nor even bothered to acknowledge one's existence. But which adolescent boy has ever had the self-discipline needed to pull that off? I didn't, Luke did. 

     The heart desires what the heart desires, and we typically don't "move on"--particularly at high school age--until we've had our feelings crushed and have been sufficiently rejected by the would-be object of our affections. Luke's suggestion here though assumed a lot from me: As if I could discern whether or not a girl "liked me," based only on her subtle hints. I couldn't, Luke could. 

3.) "Don't speed. It doesn't pay, and it's illogical."

     I didn't start driving until after high school; Luke started driving at age 15. At the tender ages of 16--before I had ever sat behind a driver's seat--he taught me that "no matter how fast you're going, you won't arrive at a destination much quicker than a minute or two compared to another motorist who's driving at the speed limit." 

     All these years have past, and I've found Luke's "don't speed" observation to be true. The countless zooming drivers I've "caught" kilometers down the road amuses me every time I think of them. Of course, this lesson doesn't apply to the open freeway (where there are no stoplights). 

  Also, the dollars I've saved in fuel and would-be speeding tickets (simply by heeding this advice) has made "driving like a 75-year old" less potentially embarrassing--and much more profitable--than driving like an average teenager.   

4.) "Always pour your drink in a cup, because 'backwash' is disgusting."

     Unless constantly hounded by well-meaning, sometimes overly-protective parents, teen boys just don't think much about germs and hygiene: We're essentially cute little animals who happen to be capable of written and spoken communication.

     But Luke was right again: drinking fluids from a cup is clearly more hygienic than drinking out of the same can (or bottle) opening--especially when simultaneously eating a meal. He went on to say that "straws are disgusting too," and to this day I drink just about all my fluids out of a cup. Damn you, Luke!   

5.) "Never get your hopes up. That way you'll never be disappointed." 

     Most boys are naturally excitable and optimistic: For example, our parents will take us to purchase a new toy, new clothes--anything, really--and we just assume the merchant will have the item(s) in-stock and ready for us to purchase. Our hearts predictably sink when such is not the case. In fact, we may become mildly depressed, distressed, and prone to tantrum-throwing when things don't quite go our way!  

     We're indoctrinated, actually socialized from a very young age to "think positive;" not only from parents, teachers--and most all grown-ups--but from virtually everybody. As it turns out, Luke was right again: Life is of course just as much about our failures as it is about our successes. I first applied this concept during my college days: I'd "shoot for all 'A's,'" but would "settle" for an occasional 'B' or 'C.'

     After high school, as young adults, I eventually caught--and then arguably surpassed--Luke in the implementation of all the lessons listed here. As young men, he took a turn towards modesty and indecisiveness, while I--slowly but surely--began cultivating the outgoing (some would say annoying) big personality that would later become something of a trademark. 

     Luke and I never discussed his "teachings" at any time following their inception. While schooling me, I'm sure he'd be surprised to learn that I was even paying attention--and would undoubtedly be shocked that I'd somehow remembered it all, after so many years.
     I've always found it interesting that Luke left during our 27th year: the year I became "born again," and the year he moved out-of-state and got married. As we said our goodbyes--after 15 years of close, brotherly friendship--I jokingly told him that "your work with me here is done. Thank you, Luke." to which he silently grinned and half-nodded his head. 

     I never saw him again.



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