I grew up on Saturday Morning Cartoons, and while there are quite a few that I remember, none of them has remained ingrained in my memory as much as Looney Tunes. Of those, it was the adventures of Wile E. Coyote, a hapless, determined, ridiculously inept scavenger whose existence revolved around his perpetually doomed attempts at capturing and eating the impossibly speedy Road Runner, that enraptured me the most.
Growing up, I never knew what it was about Wile E. that captivated me so, but captivate me he did. My fondness for the coyote was one of the few constants in my life as I traveled through high school, college and on into…well, I guess this is adulthood, right? Music tastes changed, movie interests came and went, my writing style transmogrified, I got married and had kids, I became an accountant…and yet Wile E. was always there with me. My furry, accident-prone, ravenously hungry muse.
Yes, it’s a little weird. I don’t care. Because there are lessons to be learned from the Coyote.
Now, if for some reason you don’t know who Wile E. Coyote is, stop right there. You’re either…
b) …an alien. Follow the same steps as a, above.
c) …a fascist. Man did we kick your butts in WWII. Now go read up, watch some vids and come back.
Now, on to those lessons. These can apply regardless of what you do for a living. You can apply them to writing, or to just living your life. Or you can just be thankful you’re not an animated coyote. There are 45 because, frankly, I couldn’t think up 50.
1) Actions speak louder than words.
2) If you must speak, be sure that you sound highly educated.
3) Be sure to clearly state your credentials. (“I’m a genius.”)
4) Stay focused. Even if your single-minded determination isn’t yielding results, at least it’s keeping you busy.
5) Be creative.
6) Never give up.
7) Show no fear.
8 ) Remember the power of brevity. (Remember Wile E.’s little signs? Those are like the original Tweets.)
9) Be respectful of the power of gravity.
10) Just because a plan doesn’t work the first time doesn’t mean it isn’t a good plan. (But after it fails for the fifth time, you may want to reconsider.)
11) Learn to take your lumps.
12) Even after you fall off of a cliff, it’s important to stand up and brush yourself off.
13) If something looks like a horrible idea, it probably is.
14) Sometimes, you have to try that horrible idea anyways.
15) Sometimes, the rules don’t apply to you.
16) Sometimes, the rules apply only to you.
17) Develop thick skin. Or purchase body armor.
18) Generally speaking, it’s never a good idea to play with explosives, especially if they’re attached to your body.
19) It’s okay to disregard common sense, so long as you’re prepared to deal with the consequences.
20) Don’t look down. Sometimes, ignorance truly is bliss.
21) Putting on a cape doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fly. Neither does putting on a Batman outfit.
22) Never give up. If nothing else, your consistent ability to fail in such a spectacular fashion will prove to be amusing to others.
23) Everything you need can be purchased via mail. The same applies to everything that you don’t need.
24) Always carry an umbrella.
25) Just because you don’t succeed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying. You may just need to reevaluate your strategy.
26) Even the best-laid plan can blow up [in] your face.
27) Always read the fine print.
28) No matter how awesome you think they are, using boomerangs and catapults might not be for you. The same goes for bows and arrows, cannons and dynamite.
29) Your hard work may very well go unrewarded. If you’re not okay with that, find another line of work.
30) Sometimes a simple plan can be just as [un]effective as an elaborate one.
31) Not all pain is gain.
32) Don’t lose your temper.
33) If you’re not being treated like a loyal customer, perhaps you should stop being a loyal customer.
34) Sometimes it’s best just to leave it alone.
35) Don’t forget about the things you’ve left lying around.
36) Sometimes your best ideas are also your most dangerous ideas.
37) If you try hard enough, people will root for you, even if (and probably while) they’re laughing at you.
38) Chances are that if your great idea fails your pride will be what is injured the most. (So long as you’re immune to 1,000 foot falls and anvils crushing your furry skull.)
39) Sometimes you are your own worst enemy.
40) Okay…most of the time you are your own worst enemy.
41) Be wary of how high you’ve climbed or how far you’ve ventured out onto that ledge. Plan appropriately.
42) Always assume you’re going to screw up. I don’t say this to make you second-guess yourself…it’s just good to have a contingency plan.
43) There is a fine line between being dedicated and just being an idiot who doesn’t know when to quit. Chances are that if you’re either one…you’ll think you’re the other.
44) Always pursue your dreams. Even if you never attain your goal, the journey defines who you are.
45) When in doubt…duck.