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57 with a Bullet

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tuesday was my birthday and what have I got after 57 years in life’s frontline? Receding hairline, expanding waistline, infrequent byline and recurring punch line: six times before, last year, in 2014 and at five-year intervals before that, in birthday columns headlined, 56, 55, 50, 40 and 35 with a Bullet, I’ve repeated the same hairline/ waistline/ byline joke I first made in this column when I was 30 with a Bullet.

After turning 30 “in the papers,” I had decided to limit birthday columns to five-year intervals, the “significant” birthdays. You assume stuff, at age 30—like your continued existence—that, at 57, you are almost constantly aware is very chancy. Every firetrucking birthday is now significant, like every day you get up without pain, heartache or catastrophe.

This year—and this probably reflects my perspicacity, or lack thereof—it struck me that, although I don’t think I’ll ever change the first or last entries, I could change a lot of the advice in-between. Here, then, for your elucidation/entertainment, are 57 undeniable truths gleaned from 57 years in this vale of McNuggets.

1. Never fart in an elevator. 2. Women need a reason to have sex; men only need a place. 3. Marry your best friend. 4. Always write a name with a telephone number; never go to MovieTowne on the day of the SEA exam. 5. There’s someone in this world for everyone (white-people version); every stale hops have its rancid cheese (Trini version). 6. If a married man is in the middle of the desert, is he still wrong—question posed by American comedians; yes, he should be at home, helping—question answered by my friend, Barbara Castagne. 7. Posting on Facebook is not the same as making a protest—even if you get seven “Likes”. 8. The less-talented are always more critical. 9. Powerful men are secretly terrified. 10. Breast implants suck. 

11. David Rudder/Bunji Garlin is the future of calypso. 12. Hurt people hurt people. 13. Never sleep with a girl called Ruby; never play pool with a guy called Fats; never play cards with a man called Doc (Tom Waits); never vote for a political party with three initials in its name (me). 14. The hot girl in the gym is not looking at you, but at her reflection in the mirror behind you. 15. No one will cheat you as ruthlessly as a devout believer. 16. There is no such thing as a free lunch. 17. If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use both feet (Keith Richards). 18. Most people can handle adversity; if you want to test a man’s character, give him power (Abraham Lincoln). 19. Where there is life, there is hope (Stephen Hawking); it’s too late/ when we die/to admit we don’t see/ eye-to-eye (Mike & the Mechanics). 20. Speak of the Devil and he appears. 

21. Without denying work to gardeners, chauffeurs, etc, no one should own more than they can take care of themselves. 22. If it’s fun, it’s immoral; it it’s really fun, it’s illegal; if it’s really, really fun, it’s illegal in Texas. 23 The only certainty in Trinidad politics is the new government will be even worse than the one it replaces. 24. Feed the dog; stroke the cat; walk like an Egyptian. 25 Nothing, not even business, is more powerful than love. 26. If you must smoke, use a filter; if you must drink, don’t drive. 27. Don’t smoke (cigarettes) or drink (cheap liquor). 28. Use condoms. 29. Spend a few bucks on a quality reversible belt/little black dress. 30. If you don’t actively prevent it, you will turn into your father or mother. 

31. If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap; if you want happiness for a day, go fishing; for a month, get married; for a year, inherit a fortune—but if you want happiness for a lifetime, help others (Chinese proverb, co-opted by Ricky Gervais in “Derek”). 32. You’re re-born every morning. 33. All things must pass (George Harrison). 34. God wants us to have plenty sex but few children. 35. Wherever you go, there you are. 36. Enough is as good as a feast. 37. Money won’t get you to Heaven, but you sure see Hell without it (Christian Soldier/Gary Hector). 38. “Holy” books are more book than holy: interpret them for yourself. 39 For-profit-healthcare is what the Catholics call a mortal sin. 40. Children are the best high. 

41. Until you’re broken, you don’t know what you’re made of. 42. Be the change you want in the world. (Gandhi). 43. Brrrrrrtttt! (Bunji). 44. You can truly rely on only yourself but you either trust others or shoot yourself. 45. I’m the one who’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to (Jimi Hendrix). 46. It takes all kinds. 47. The Age of Reason will arise. 48. For every liberty you take, there is a responsibility you must assume. 49. All you really have is time; and it flies. 50. Your mother can’t—but you can. 

51. The only person you can change is yourself. 52. At the end of the day, it’s night (Steve Martin). 53. Those people are indeed talking about you. 54. The more vehemently anyone rails against anything—therapy, same gender sex, corruption-investigation, Viagra—the more desperately they need it. 55. Anger is a poison you take and hope your enemy dies. 56. You can always add salt; you can never take it out. 57. One day I’ll have to get a real job.

BC Pires is the birthday old firetruck. Happy Birthday to the Best Girl in the World, Rosanna Lee Pires 


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