<disclaimer>I found this on my hard drive. I don’t recall writing it. I don’t recall having this capacity for wit. Therefore, someone else wrote it. Unfortunately I don’t know who. If you do, /msg me and I will give credit and or apply a citation. </disclaimer>

  • Rule 1: Life is not fair; get used to it.
  • Rule 2:The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.
  • Rule 3:You will not make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.
  • Rule 4:If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure or belong to a union with a death grip on your parents property.
  • Rule 5:Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger-flipping; they called it opportunity.
  • Rule 6:If you screw up, it's not your parents' fault so don't whine about your mistakes. Learn from them.
  • Rule 7:Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning your room, and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. So before you save the rain forest from the bloodsucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
  • Rule 8:Your school may have done away with winners and losers but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.
  • Rule 9:Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off, and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.
  • Rule 10:Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
  • Rule 11:Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
  • Rule 12:Living fast and dying young is romantic-only until you see one of your peers at room temperature.

UPDATE: Certified Geek says I just read The Rules of Life, and I recognize the list. It was printed in Ann Landers about a year ago. (I'm surprised I remember that.)
And it would appear that he/she is correct. These rules were written by Ann Landers and first appeared in the Detroit's West Side church bulletin as "10 rules children don't learn at school", date unknown.

UPDATE: #2 Thanks to brokenpath the true author of this list has been revealed. Charles Sykes wrote this list as a warning to highschool and college graduates. These were important lessons that he felt were left out of school curriculms and consequently set kids up for failure when they were left with no concept of reality.

Let the complicated tale of this nodes proper citation serve as a warning. This is why proper citation is so important. Neither Ann Landers or the church pamphlet she plagiarised, who in turn plagiarised Sykes, felt it was important to record the original author. Consequently, it has taken me nearly two years to discover who the real author was and in the end it was someone elses research that provided the final answer.

Sykes, Charles J. "Dumbing Down Our Kids : Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves but Can't Read, Write, or Add" New York :St. Martin's Press,1995.

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