I turn 42 today.
42 is the meaning of life according to Douglas Adams, and yes, I've always appreciated the value of a clean towel that's close to hand and 'Don't panic' are probably the only two words I'd consider having tattooed on my body (well, apart from 'No thanks' and 'Don't laugh').
However, there are a few other things I've learned in the past year that might benefit you too. Pay close attention to the wisdom on offer and learn not only from my observances but also my mistakes.
1. Whenever I receive a letter in a window envelope that isn't a bill it usually contains some guff with a pre-printed signature that promises 'exciting new changes' that will 'make things more convenient for you.' These completely un-bidden communications always mean a fee increase, a noticeable reduction in customer service options and more confusion. Always.
2. When Elmo is taken out of the cupboard for a cuddle, Sapphire is really, really sick.
3. The only people wearing hats, rashie vets and factor 30 sunscreen in Asian resorts are Australian. The rest are there to fry.
4. If someone says that they find your view on a particular issue 'refreshing' and then express the wish that they hope to discuss things further expect never to hear from them again.
5. Female bullies are always the first to raise their hands and spout out the right answers in class when discussing exclusion, good team work behaviours and fairness. Class 'leaders' that are voted in by their peers are in fact anything but.
6. We all forget just how debilitating a thoroughly bad head cold can be until we're actually suffering from one. The misery of not being able to breathe, smell or escape the clogged ache of one's own diseased head is a memory that mysteriously disappears long after the vaporub and flu tablets by the bedside table do.
7. Residents of Flemington are the group of people most likely to have never seen the Melbourne Cup at the actual track.
8. Residents of Flemington are the group of people most likely to be mooned by drunk men in hats and flashed by drunk orange women several hours after the end of the Melbourne cup, even if just popping to the corner shop for some milk a and a tin of chopped tomatoes.
9. Always - repeat - ALWAYS shake out your wet clothes before pegging them out on the clothesline to dry and again when fluffing and folding otherwise you'll find yourself on a packed 59 tram in Bourke Street with a pair of scrunched up and still-damp knickers in your hood that will fall down your back as you step down into the busiest street of the second largest city in the country, entertaining not only your fellow passengers but passing cars and pedestrians.
10. Sing to the dog as loudly and as proudly as you like. Who needs to impress the fat man smoking on the balcony next door anyway?
Now absorb these nuggets of truth thoroughly and never be further than a footstep away from a towel.