First and foremost, my most sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Virginia Tech community. I was immediately struck by startling similarities of this campus and our Mississippi State. Talks of the Drill Field and engineering students could just as easily have been mentioned with State as the backdrop. Interviews with college students on the news could just as easily have been our friends and neighbors. It is truly heartbreaking that a place of learning, fellowship and enlightenment could transform into a horrific crime scene in a manner of mere hours. Sam, I am praying for you, your friends and classmates and the families of the innocent victims.
In light of yesterday's shootings, my trivial musings seem even less important. But perhaps a little distraction is necessary.
Just call me the eternal philosopher. I'm certainly not claiming to have all the answers, but I have learned a few general rules during my short time here on Earth. I've been guilty of doing or not doing each, and I'm sure I'll end up committing them all again. These of course do not run the gamut on how one should act, but I've found them to be pretty reliable.
1. A cubicle wall does not a soundproof barrier make. If you talk on your phone at your desk at work, everyone around you WILL KNOW your business. It's physics, people. See also number 10.
2. Even though something (online or otherwise) says you will remain anonymous, that isn't always the case. You're just going to have to trust me on this one. Also see number 5.
3. You never know everything about someone. No matter how close you are (or think you are). Everyone has secrets.
4. Always be nice to: teachers, security guards, bus drivers, receptionists and IT people. You never know when you may need them to help you out. Flirt if you must.
5. Never put anything in writing that you wouldn't want in the paper or on CNN.com. Emails get forwarded - it's part of living in this technological age.
6. Know that sometimes you will be "the cutest one there," and sometimes you won't. It's impossible to know for sure ahead of time, so always strive for the former.
7. Good grammar is infinitely important. Just ask Mrs. Warren. Not everyone notices, but double negatives and subject-verb disagreement can make an educated person sound ridiculous. On a related point, the pronoun "I" is incorrect when used as the object of a prepositional phrase. Everyone makes mistakes; just learn from them and move on.
8. Write thank-you notes - even when you think the giver "wouldn't care" or notice if you didn't. They do.
9. In a retail store, always put away unwanted items and return grocery carts to their designated areas. Those who do this for a living work harder and make less money than most of us. Give them a hand here and there.
10. Choose cell phone ringtones wisely. You are bound to forget to silence it at some point, and "Amarillo by Mornin'" is not something you want ringing during a meeting or at church.