I'm about to turn 59, which means I'll be starting my 60th voyage around the sun, a mind-blowing truth for a person who's still a child between the ears.
In this time I've been a son, brother, husband, ex-husband, father, stepfather, uncle and friend, and I couldn't help picking up some passionate beliefs along the way. In no particular order:
1) Always show up late for the office Christmas party. Best way to find out how your colleagues really feel about you is to catch them with a load on.
2) Best way to test if you have a sense of humor? Get caught unprepared in a sudden rainstorm. If you can't laugh off the soaking, seek government work.
3) Once kids hit age 13, give them cash for their birthdays. Anyone who says you're a lazy gift-giver is a knucklehead. Money is always the right size, the right color and right on time.
4) Don't be ashamed of that giddy feeling you get when somebody rich and famous dies. It's a victory, all right.
5) Don't feel bad about failing to hook up with people you haven't seen in ages. They probably don't look as good as they once did (neither do you). And if you DO hook up with them, something will probably happen to remind you of why it's been so long.
6) At the wedding, sit as far as you can from the band. They scream and shout like that because they're auditioning for more wedding gigs, even though they probably hate what they're doing. (Who studies music with dreams of playing in a wedding band?)
7) There's nothing duller than a celebrity telling all about his time in rehab. (Actually, this is tied in the dullness category with celebrities who find Jesus.)
8) Greatest dividing line in modern history: B.B.W. (Before Bottled Water) and A.B.W. (After Bottled Water). Centuries from now, when archaeologists discover those plastic water bottles strapped to the hips of Spandex-wearing skeletons, they will wonder... What the hell was THIS all about?
9) If the cabbie is talking on his cell phone or driving like a lunatic, tell him you're with the Taxi and Limousine Commission and show him your badge. You can get the badge (in a cool fake leather folder) at most novelty stores. Works like a charm.
10) Every time a diner waitress tops up your coffee cup, add a dollar to the tip.
11) Rock stars who record irritating save-the-world ballads in their later years should find another hobby.
12) Don't worry about having fewer friends as you get older. It's the natural progression. A rocket ship doesn't add stages as it speeds through space, it drops them. Streamlined is the way to go.
13) Expensive vacations and fancy restaurants fade from memory. If you're living right, the times you'll cherish most happen around the kitchen table.
14) Always step on the scale after you've had the runs. It's a temporary weight loss, but it'll cheer you up.
15) Never interrupt your father when he's telling you a story you've heard many times before. Just enjoy it, the way you enjoy hearing "Layla" again and again.
16) If you want a horrifying glimpse into how boring and annoying your friends can be, sip club soda while they're boozing it up.
17) Attend an ugly college. You won't miss it after you graduate, and you won't waste precious time going to those ridiculous reunions.
18) Tell your children stories about your crazy relatives, the ones who died before your kids were born. Trust me -- they'll be so fascinated, they'll actually look up from their iPhones. Campfire stories are the only way anybody is truly immortalized.
19) All those hours you spend with your kid at playgrounds are hours you won't have to spend later on at police stations, bailing him out.
20) Laughter isn't just the best medicine -- it's also a vaccination against disease. Every laugh you laugh is an illness you don't get, so when people ask me what I want for my birthday, I say:
21) Make me laugh! Because whatever the hell this nutty journey called life is all about, I'd like a few more trips around the sun. Just to see what happens next.
Charlie Carillo is a producer for the TV show "Inside Edition" and a novelist. His website is www.charliecarillo.com