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If you never try, you will never fail.  This is certain and reliable in a ridiculous way, sort of like the guy shooting his friend in what was dubbed the world's funniest joke:

A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: "Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: "OK, now what?"

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Y'know what? I have officially decided that I like getting older. Lyrics of an insipid sleep-away camp song have been running through my head lately: "I wish that we could stop the sands of time..." And then I stop and think about it--no fucking way do I wish that I were eleven again. I like the sands of time.

It's not that I hated being eleven or that eleven was a particularly bad year; it's that I like the deeper capacity to understand things that has come with age. I'm not sure if it's the brain development that continues through adolescence or if it's because I've been around longer and experienced more, but it brings mellowness and peace--and I'll take that.

I remember my mind being in a perpetual fuzzy haze when I was in nursery school: did Abraham from the Bible free the slaves? what happens if my mother doesn't pick me up from school? why aren't all of my relatives' graves in each cemetery we visit? (I think I viewed it as sort of like a library, with each cemetery having its own copy of the relevant tombstones). I'm not sure if it's common for most kids, but I didn't have a great overall grasp of time (i.e. months and years), which is both wonderful and very, very frustrating.

There were other, subtler mysteries like that as I grew older--the sorts of things that even scouring reference materials or someone sitting you down and drawing out a diagram or launching into a detailed explanation can't really sort out for you. Being able to see things clearly--and furthermore, being able to step back calmly when things aren't clear and figure out a way to make them clearer--brings a great sense of security. That skill seems to develop with age, and I like that.

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