Life Skills [NOT 11/6/22]

We can call this Connections Week on Deadsplinter. I’m going to sound like the old I am and remember the times when TLC was known as The Learning Channel and not Touch Little Children. They had some wonderful educational programming that used to entertain as well as educate. My favorite show was this British show called Connections hosted by James Burke. He would take all this separate facts and link them together in a brilliant piece of mind blowing trivia. I loved that series even though it hurt to think watching a weekend marathon of the show while hung over.

Coping skills -> Life Hacks -> Life Skills -> ?????

What brought this blather about life skills was a good friend of mine asked me to be his son’s “local” contact as he goes to the same university his father and I went to. I was reminded that I was wholly unprepared for living on my own and really fucked things up as a university student. Despite making a dog’s breakfast of things, I did learn to live on my own but it took over a decade. What life skills do you think that a young person preparing for adulthood should learn on the way?

My two cents:

One of my few regrets in life is that I wished I had listened to my mom more about cooking and put more effort as opposed to the half assed way I approached it. The money I would have saved from not throwing out poorly made food and ordering pizza would have all been invested… and lost in the stock market now (no, I’m not cynical or jaded at all.)

Actual listening skills aka active listening.



  1. i coulda done a lot better in life….if i’d stayed in school…

    but i didnt….ive worked since i was  14

    had all the parties..took all the drugs

    and if i could go back in time….

    i’d tell young me to not bother trying ketamine…. the k-hole is boring

    oh also..stay in school

    • i whole heartedly endorse most other drugs tho….

      speed especially…get shit done on that stuff (well… makes 500 laps of suzuka in forza not boring at least)

      cocaine makes me think im very interesting…and chatty..great stuff

      and heroine is the little death…the sanguine peace of nothingness….till you want more anyways…its a bit of an arse when it wears off

  2. oh but yeah…cooking

    the quickest way to anyones heart is being able to cook the tasties!

    i’m being serious here….. specially in college/university…. being able to cook is the sexiest ability

  3. As more and more people get dependent on phones, navigation without them is still pretty key, along with associated skills like coping when the GPS is wrong and how to ask people for directions.

    • Reading maps is a very useful skill. I am a decent land navigator and even know how to call out coordinates on a standard grid map (thanks Scouts.)


      Kidding. I’ll admit when I’m lost.

    • I’d say that learning when to detach from Google and social media and figure the thing out yourself is fairly key. I certainly wish that I’d learned the equivalent of this when I was young, because not doing this meant literally separating myself from other people and sitting in front of a device for hours on end. But at least back then there was a hard line between being online and offline. These days, it almost seems like there’s no clear distinction anymore, and that can cause some trouble in and of itself.

  4. I agree with @farscythe – stay in school. And learn how to study. It’s not enough to be smart, you have to have discipline. By the time I realized that it was too late, I hadn’t mastered the necessary skills to go to the next level of learning.

    • Me, too.

      I got my ass kicked in university and only graduated because I was smart enough to just get by. I am probably on Queen’s Shitlist as one of the worst students ever to graduate.

      I learned much later (5 years after school) like most of my life skills.

  5. “What life skills do you think that a young person preparing for adulthood should learn on the way?”

    How to jump a car battery–and this includes owing their OWN set of good jumper-cables (the heaviest/thickest wire you can get/reasonably afford–iirc, mine were around $30-40 and on sale at the time I got them… they’ve evidently gone up in price, but are SO worth it, when you count the number of times I’ve been able to give folks a jump, when others had tried with weaker/cheaper cables & hadn’t been able to give a decent charge!).

    Learning, too, how to check the oil, transmission, radiator, & windshield washer fluids, how to change out windshield wipers yourself, if it’s easy to do on your vehicle, AND knowing where to find your spare tire & do THAT by yourself… all this is especially important, if you’re a woman–you don’t wanna be stuck by the side of the road, terrified that the help you called will make it to you before sone “friendly guy” who’s actually a creep does!

    Other things to know; basic sewing skills (how to sew on a button, slap a basic seam-line hole closed, and sew up a hem long enough to get through an event), how to check your circuit breakers, how to shut off water at the various places it comes into/out of your dwelling & walls, how to plunge a toilet & zip a drain (and NO, i didn’t realize they were originally designed by a guy from Duluth, I just know they & the other brands/styles like it WORK when you’ve got long hair!), how to cook meat to a safe temperature–indoors *or* on the grill, how to bail water if your sump pump goes out & where to dump it out so it doesn’t come back *into* the sump hole, basic CPR & First Aid (including choking, bandaging a wound, using an EPI-pen, and using an AED!), how to assess the safest ways to get out of your dwelling in an emergency/fire (touch the door gently to check for heat, don’t just open it, etc!), what your best, local, source is for weather info during storms–before they happen!, how to sharpen your knives–because sharp knives are safe knives, also knowing that “a falling knife has no handle!”–just move back & let it DROP…

    Basic tax info (like how to fill out your withholdings, and do your own taxes if they’re easy!), basic bank-account balancing (to avoid excess fees!), and basic financial literacy are all good, too.

  6. If you REALLY wanna geek out about life-skills, I’d also highly recommend the Foxfire books:,has%20become%20an%20American%20institution.

    Book 5 is HARD to find in a used bookstore, but the rest–especially the earlier ones in the series, 1-8 or so, are typically pretty easy to find!  I discovered a couple years ago–when I fiiiiinally found (and bought!) a copy of Foxfire 5, exactly why it’s so difficult to find used–it’s the one that covers ironworking & gunsmithing.


    Things I’d wholeheartedly recommend, for learning some real, valuable, and useful skills/info are;

    The Foxfire books, a copy of the Mother Earth News archives, the Euell Gibbons books for learning foraging, and the Rodale Herbal book, along with the Andrew Chevallier Herbal Medicine book–to learn what *NOT* to eat/use/consume for extended periods of time**

    Between ^those,^ and a good understanding of the plants & animals living on/in the land & water in your particular region, even if we ended up having some sort of societal collapse (although the M.E.N. Archive *would* be difficult to access in the event of a complete collapse of the electrical grid or a large-scale EMP event😉), you could do well in “survival mode” for quite a while, if you had reasonable resources around to raid/ gather/ forage, and a few physically capable folks in your crew to get things done/ built/ accomplished.

    It wouldn’t be an easy life! You’d basically be homesteading… but it would be sustainable & keep you fed, sheltered, reasonably warm, and safe from the elements.

    **the Chevallier is one I’ve honestly pulled out REPEATEDLY on various occasions over the years, to help me explain to friends why herbal supplements they get from “Healthy” places like GNC(🙄🙄🙄) *or* the “Natural!” Energy Drinks they want to consume on a regular basis are unsafe to consume long-term!

    So many of the plants used in the supplements & energy drinks–which yes, are natural, *also* shouldn’t be consumed for more than 4-6 weeks at a time, because they can cause damage to nerves or organs…

    The Chevallier is one of the few places I’ve found, which consolidates ALL those herbs into *one* place, and then lists out the possible long-term effects on people’s bodies.

    I’ve had pretty decent luck in getting friends to stop taking those supplements & cutting back on their usage of energy drinks from “daily/regularly” to just “occasionally,” by showing them the book’s entries on the herbs in *their* preferred drink/pill/tea.


  7. Be willing to ask questions.

    I was so afraid that someone would think I was stupid, that I rarely asked the follow-up questions that would have saved me so much wasted effort and time. Don’t worry about what people might think of you for asking — they’ll form an opinion of you whether you like it or not.

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