Robert Fulghum wrote a wonderful book called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” It’s about the simple rules that people learn in kindergarten for how to act and be and treat others, and how those rules are really the wisdom we need to live a good life. It’s a great book. Read it right away.

Unfortunately, I didn’t go to kindergarten. My younger sister went, so the reasons I missed it always seemed vague to me. I was a squinty little runt then, so perhaps my parents wanted to hold off and give me from age 5 to age 6 to fill out. But the fact is that I didn’t go, so I didn’t learn any of that important stuff that Mr. Fulghum wrote about in his book.

Instead of spending that year in kindergarten, I spent it at home annoying my parents. That may be less socially acceptable, but I maintain that it was not time wasted. I learned lessons just as valuable as any that kindergarten could have taught me. These are the things I learned:

Persistence pays off. You can ask for something more times than someone else can say no without bursting a blood vessel.

Don’t get caught.

When the beatings are taking place, be somewhere else.

Playing outside is always more rewarding than working inside.

If you just lie, you will always get caught. If you tell most of the truth, you will often get away with it.

Be nice to the dog. He’ll hang out under the table, and you can slip him the food you hate.

Crying to get what you want is only successful in proportion to how cute you are.

Any number of things can be temporarily hidden while you make your getaway.

You should always share while people who have power over you are watching.

There’s always someone stronger and smarter than you. You have to be sneakier and more ruthless.

When you’re in trouble, your peers make valuable allies and convenient scapegoats.

When you have time, imagination, and people to target, there’s no such thing as boredom.

Sometimes you have to accept that the answer is, “No.” You do not have to accept that the answer is, “Never.”

Indulging in too many good things will make you puke.

If you want something, always ask first. If that doesn’t work, then you can employ other methods.

Anger is normal and acceptable for human beings. Force feeding someone a Tonka truck is not.

Stealing something (like a cookie) always makes noise, even if you don’t think it does.

They can make you go to bed, but they can’t make you stop asking for glasses of water.

And finally, never underestimate people’s capacity to forgive you, even when you absolutely don’t deserve it.

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