As you might expect, I’m a man who loves to have an opinion. The discussions motivated by this love have enriched my life, and shaped me into who I am today. But, there are certain beliefs that have gotten me in trouble over the years. Mostly, these are things I know are true, but that I have little hope to ever prove. Some are trivial, and others are questions humanity has pondered forever. So, get ready to love or hate me, because these are my five undeniable, probably improvable, truths of life.

1. You would float in a pool of chocolate pudding.

It seems simple to me, yet I’ve been battling my friends over this truth since high school. They say you would sink like a stone in a swimming pool full of pudding. Like quicksand, the pudding would suck you down to a terrifying, albeit delicious, death. I say, pudding is heavier than water. If you can float in water, you can certainly float in pudding. It’s simple buoyancy. If the volume of pudding I displace weighs more than me, I float. I did the math on this once, but I still couldn’t convince my brethren of the obvious truth. Not only would a pudding pool be scrumptious, it would not be the deathtrap like so many have thought.

2. God – or something – exists.

I don’t think you even have to be religious to believe this truth. Just look at time and the universe. As far as I know, they’re both infinite. I would dare even the most stalwart atheist to look up at the stars on a clear night and not be dazzled by the mystery of how we came to be. Evolution explains a lot, but it doesn’t tell us where the original building blocks came from.

One little change in the infinite history of time would’ve drastically changed the present. If an infinite string of events led to us being here, as far as I’m concerned, our existence is impossible. Only one thing can make the impossible possible, and I don’t really care if you call it God, Yahweh, Vishnu, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I have faith in my concept of God, but I know that something is out there.

3. No matter how successful you are, you will never be as cool as Samuel L. Jackson.

I’ve got a confession to make. I own a Kangol (that’s a kind of hat – Google it for a picture), and whenever I wear it, I look into the mirror and hope that I look a fraction as cool as Samuel L. Jackson. I don’t even come close. In over 100 movies, Jackson has been eaten by a shark, eaten by a Velociraptor, almost eaten by snakes and killed by Emperor Palpatine. Oh, and he was Shaft. Shaft. What makes Jackson cooler than Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman or Gerald Butler? I really don’t know. I could be a billionaire. I could be the president of the United States. I could even be a famous actor. But, I will never reach the level of pure, unadulterated cool that Samuel L. Jackson feels even when he’s brushing his teeth. And, guess what? You won’t either.

4. Disagreement means someone is thinking.

This is especially true of our elected representatives. The most overrated idea constantly tossed around in politics is compromise. Unless my life, liberty or my ability to pursue happiness is in jeopardy, I want my representatives to fight for what their constituents think is right. I love getting negative responses to my columns because it forces me to really think about what I’ve written. Your arguments are so encouraging to me because they are evidence that what I write inspires people to articulate their own opinions. The United States owes its existence to people who disagreed with the British government. Almost every major social and technological advancement started with people who weren’t satisfied with the status quo. Disagreement can be scary, but if handled responsibly, it can benefit all parties involved.

5. Trying is the first step towards failure.

I thank Homer Simpson for this nugget of truth. So many problems in the world could be eliminated if people understood that failure, though not usually acceptable, is always an option. Humans are wired to constantly push the envelope of possibility. Often, we fail, but the lessons we learn from our failures help us succeed in the future. Problems arise when people take risks without preparing for consequences if they don’t succeed. You can apply this to everything from mountain climbing to adjustable rate mortgages to love and relationships. We shouldn’t let the prospect of failure scare us away from taking chances, but we shouldn’t expect to feel invincible forever. Trying never guarantees success. But not trying guarantees you will never succeed.

Chris Koslowski can be reached at cskoslow@umich.edu

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