“Never have your butt higher than your head,” my granddaddy often says. “No good ever comes from having your butt higher than your head.”
My granddaddy is a fountain of such nuggets of life advice that often leave me scratching my head. What situation was my grandfather in during his younger years where he learned the valuable lesson of ensuring his rear never managed to be above his head? How did he come to discover this life advice?
As a kid I rolled my eyes. His adage meant never going on rollercoasters that went upside down, and no way would I pass up an opportunity to enjoy a thrill ride at the amusement park.
Then one day I learned the hard way that, yes, no good ever comes from having your butt higher than your head.
While bouncing on my old trusty trampoline with my older male cousins, a sudden bravery struck me. Seeing the boys doing flips and tricks in the air inspired me to do that same – after all, as the only girl in the family it was up to me to stand up for womankind and show them I could do everything they could do.
Well, I couldn’t. I mean technically speaking, I did indeed do a flip. My rear got higher than my head. So much so that it flung me off the trampoline and into the chain link fence. The embarrassment and damaged pride hurt worse than flying into a metal fence.
It made me reflect on the life advice I’d received from my family though. Who knew that silly and seemingly useless advice would actually be something I’d carry with me to this day?
Now as a young adult navigating through the ups and downs of life, I seem to use that seemingly useless information – just as my grandparents and parents have done. It’s practically tradition to collect odd life lessons to pass down in the Brown family.
Take my dad for instance, who says the best life advice is “Never live in a place where you could die if you walk outside your house in the nude.” He says it’s a catch-all life lesson that has served him well all his life.
“If you go outside naked and it’s too hot that you could die, don’t live there. If you go outside naked and it’s so cold that you could die, don’t live there. If you go outside naked and could potentially get shot for being naked, don’t live there,” he says as he names some of his long list of rational answers.
Well, he’s not wrong.
And when I moved to Dawsonville I’ll admit that life advice drifted into my mind more than once.
It seems as I get older I find myself trying to collect my own nuggets of untraditional wisdom that comes with the random experiences life throws at us, meaning we all gather unique nuggets of important lessons that will only make our next generations stronger.
I find myself going through various life experiences and learning valuable lessons that seem to only fit very specific circumstances. But I log them in the back of my mind anyway because I never know when I’ll need to tell my baby second cousins that “nothing good comes from playing with bungee cords.”
At the time I gathered this little nugget, I was around six years old – though my memory of the incident is a bit fuzzy. My father decided that we should make my beloved childhood swing into a bungee swing so I could bounce.
Even then I remember thinking “this isn’t going to go well.”
Sure enough my instincts were correct, as the “securely” fastened cord rapidly untied itself to the tree and snapped abruptly on my little noggin. To this day I believe my head is a little misshapen from the mishap.
Now will there ever be a time where I’ll need to ominously warn my young family members about the dangers of a bungee cord snapping on their heads? Who knows.
But the lesson is there, just waiting to be unleashed at the right time. According to my other family members, I’ll know when the time is right – and even if our future generations roll their eyes at our advice like I once did, they’ll soon learn all about the Brown wisdom that comes with age.
Jessica Brown is the features reporter for the Dawson County News. Her columns will appear periodically.