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63 With a Bullet

WEDNESDAY WAS my birthday and all I’ve got to show for myself after six decades of this cosmic joke called life is the same receding hairline, expanding waistline, infrequent byline and recurring firetrucking punch line: 11 times before today, in “birthday” columns, I’ve repeated the same hairline/ waistline/ byline joke I first made when I was 30 with a Bullet.

After turning 30 “in the papers” in 1988, I decided to limit birthday columns to five-year intervals and “significant” birthdays but, when I turned 55 in 2013, I realised every firetrucking birthday had become hugely significant. At least to me. Because every birthday increases the chances I won’t be here for the next one. Until my elder brother last year, and now I myself, no Pires male had lived past the age of 62 in five generations I hope we’re all here to see my younger brother join the 63 Club in 2026.

But surely I’ve learned something from it all? Or at least can pretend to have? Here, then are 63 pieces of indisputable wisdom, one for each year I’ve survived. Following these commandments may not get you to Heaven but you’ll certainly have a Hell of a time. Many of the ones in-between change but the first and last have remained the same for 33 years now.

1. Never fart in an elevator. 2. George Floyd will be remembered longer — and better — than Donald “Fat Abu Bakr” Trump. 3. It never rains but it pours. 4. Never give your real name (Bob Dylan). 5. They smile in your face/ All the time they want to take your place (The O’Jays). 6. Life is hard; and then you die (Johnny Winter). 7. Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff (Harvey Pekar). 8. The less-talented are always more critical. 9. Discernment as a human quality has disappeared; luckily, no one can tell. 10. Anyone still supporting Trump is a racist.

11. Marry your best friend (if she/he’s hot). 12. You’re not rich enough to buy cheap. 13. The only thing you can do to excess is moderation. 14. Never vote for a political party with three initials in its name. 15. The hottie in the gym is not looking at you, but at her reflection in the mirror behind you. 16. At someone else’s house, always check the cistern has water before you sit on the can. 17. I asked her for water, she brought me gasoline (Howlin’ Wolf). 18. The only cure for hate is love. 19. No such thing as a free lunch. 20. Stiletto heels & a G-string compensate for most shortcomings.

21.Never laugh with Crix in your mouth. 22. Don’t bad-talk people; except Trump voters. 23. Life causes death. 24. Trinidad doesn’t have governments, it plays a government mas. 25. Laugh and Cry live in the same house. 26. Live and let die (James Bond). 27. The only cons bigger than cigarettes & alcohol are Brexit & Donald Trump. 28. Your spouse will turn into her mother/his father. 29. The rich get richer and the poor get children. 30. If the kiss is good, the sex will be great.

31. Religious instruction is child abuse (Denis Solomon). 32. Never touch a tissue near any man’s computer. 33. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light (Stanley Kubrick). 34. Leave the gun; take the cannoli (The Godfather). 34. Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes; that way, you’ll have his shoes and you’ll be a mile away (Steve Martin). 36. Wherever you go, there you are. 37. Beauty fades; ugly is forever. 38. Money won’t get you to Heaven, but you sure see Hell without it (Christian Soldier/jointpop). 39. Holy books lie. 40(a) Austerity is the idea that the 2008 financial crash was caused by there being too many libraries in Wolverhampton (Alexi Sayle).

40(b) If Adolf Hitler flew in today/ They’d send a limousine anyway (The Clash). 41. All is firetrucking vanity. 42. Be the change you want in the world. (Ghandi). 43. Brrrrrrtttt! (Bunji). 44. Vanilla is the finest of the flavours (Barenaked Ladies). 45. We die alone for sure but we can try to live together. 46. It takes all kinds – but apostates and red women are the best. 47. Better an hour early than a minute late. 48. The best things in life are free but you’ll go into debt for an Oculus Quest. 49. God is dead (Nietzsche) but love is all you need (Beatles). 50. No intellectual society can flourish where a Jew feels even slightly uneasy (Paul Johnson).

51. Never live downwind from a chicken or pig farm. 52. The only person you can change is yourself. 53. You can learn a lot about a person from their ringtone. 54. The louder anyone protests anything - therapy, same gender sex, Viagra - the more desperately they need it. 55. Anger is a poison you take and hope your enemy dies. 56. Don’t get mad, get even. 57. Love thy neighbour – but don’t let thy spouse find out. 58. Ageing beats dying. 59. Don’t stop believing (Journey); except in God (me). 60. I can handle the despair; it’s the hope I can’t stand (John Cleese character in Clockwise). 61. It have nothing as dangerous as a Trini dunce who feel he smart (cf vaccine sceptics). 62. If you pay attention to what you already have, you won’t need anything more. 63. One day I'll have to get a real job.

BC Pires is 63. Against the run of play. Happy Bir'day Rosie & Noah

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