I’ve been working on a short story this week (and doing lots of spring farm chores, like garden prep and cutting grass), so the following will be brief. I’m hoping Esquire will not sue me for ripping off their format. I steal with love, guys.

JOHN HICKS
PILGRIM AND WAYFARER, 49, TUSCUMBIA, ALABAMA

>It’s never too late.

>When you get the message, hang up the phone.

>If you offer Bob Johnson a french fry, he will eat it.

>Few things are more fun than playing in a band with people you like and respect.

>Writing is time travel.

>I wanted to be a writer because I was lucky enough to have teachers who made it seem like an honorable, interesting vocation.

>The first thing I ever read that marked me was Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” It was a high-school English assignment.

>You can’t learn anything you don’t want to know.

>Fear is a killer. So is despair.

>You can be dead and not know it.

>The human capacity for self-delusion is staggering.

>I’m never the smartest one in the room. But that’s the person I
want to meet.

>Upon leaving this relatively brief existence, we should all be able
to say, “I had a good time.” And mean it.

>You think you’ve got it tough? Wrong. There are billions of
people on this planet who would trade places with you in a second.

>Andy Warhol said the most important thing is work. He was
correct.

>I personally know many people I think are geniuses. Some of
them are happy, and some of them are not.

>Nobody likes a suck-up. But you should never be afraid to offer
praise and encouragement.

>Love is composed of about a million different things.

>Most people will forgive you for hurting them if you sincerely
ask for forgiveness and change your behavior.

>Cruelty is a sure sign of fear, ignorance or both.

>The other night I dreamed about someone I haven’t seen in 25
years. I love it when that happens.

>There is always enough time to do everything you really need to
do. Calm down.

>People who assume I share their beliefs or prejudices annoy the
hell out of me.

>Older isn’t necessarily wiser. It works both ways.

>Be lucky. If you can’t be lucky, be someone else. Reinvent,
reboot. Whatever it takes.

>Don’t be a jerk.

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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