Friday’s inclement weather put a damper on my running plans. Normally I enjoy running in the rain, but when thunder and lightning are involved – or when the Weather Channel warns of high winds with the possibility of hail and tornadoes – I stay inside. My all-time favorite rainy day movie is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. On today’s run, I pondered the life lessons contained in that classic work of comedic gold.
16. Approach unfamiliar animals with caution.
I worked in an animal shelter for six years; I know the benefits of warning people about strange dogs and cats. Trust me, rabies shots hurt less as a preventative than as a cure. However, many of us fail to impart the dangers of biting moose and rabbits with vicious streaks a mile wide. But mommy, they look so cuddly…
15. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
We all know what they say about assume, so let’s not judge people (and things) quickly. We may miss out on some surprising experiences. After all, llamas prove excellent producers/directors, a hamster and a man smelling of elderberries produced King Arthur, and Tim – a man severely hindered by his name – achieved greatness as an enchanter. So go out and try something new, like iced coffee mixed with Dr. Pepper.
14. Choose your occupation wisely.
As an educator, I often challenge my students to meet their full potential. Parents want their children to succeed. The American government emphasizes good grades and “My Citizens are Honor Students” bumper stickers. Whatever the case, society measures success by our jobs. If you value safety and boredom (but not job security), then write subtitles. After all, English majors have to do something. On the other hand, historians live in constant peril. Not something you’d normally associate with dusty books and lecture halls, but that’s life for you.
13. Make do with what you have.
During the Great Depression there was a saying: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” We see the same attitude today; if you don’t believe me, just check out Pinterest. Without Monty Python and the Holy Grail, we might never know coconuts are an acceptable substitute for horses, that some people use the plague as an excuse to get rid of unwanted relatives, and that the French use body odor as a defensive weapon. And all this time we thought they were just unhygienic . . .
12. Government doesn’t always make sense.
Historically, leaders gain power through one of three ways: they’re born to the right family, they take power by force, or they’re elected. Once they have power, leaders spend most of their time trying to keep it. Leaders can either distract their subjects by declaring wars on other countries or by causing their subject to fight amongst themselves over trivial things like speed limits and healthcare. Wherever you happen to fall on the political spectrum, I think we can agree that “strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.”