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Some things you don't brag about

My wife, Eartha, and I know a young lady who lives in a city that has a paper where this column appears. We have known her for a few years, but not all that well. The last time we saw her, she had just discovered this column. She scolded me — "Why didn't you tell me you wrote a column?" Eartha was quick with an answer: "There are some things you don't brag about." Regular readers know she's right — you don't brag about writing this column.

Bragging is an interesting business. Do you know the least read verse in the Bible? It's Proverbs 27:2, "Let another praise you and not your own mouth, a stranger and not your own lips." In second place is Jeremiah 9:23, "Let not the wise man boast of his own wisdom, let not the mighty man boast of his might, and let not the rich man boast of his riches."

Bragging goes on all around us. Small wars and huge riots break out over bragging rights. Just think about the soccer riots in Latin America and Europe. Maybe you didn't know it, but there are a lot of things you shouldn't brag about. If you are one of those people too clunky to know when not to boast, this column is dedicated to you — cut it out and stick it on your refrigerator. Here are the top 20 things never to brag about:

• Never brag about the women you've groped if it costs you $130,000.00 to keep each one quiet.

• Never brag about a possible Nobel Prize until the Little Rocket Man gives up his rockets.

• Never brag about your cousins in California. They may come to visit, and everybody will meet them.

• Never brag about your dog. Your neighbors know things about him that you don't.

• Never brag about the Minnesota Twins until after the playoffs.

• Never brag about the Minnesota Vikings until after the playoffs.

• Never brag about your crops until after the harvest.

• Never brag about your singing — you're flat more than you realize.

• Never brag about your kids. Just tell them privately how great they are and love them.

• Never brag about your body or puff it up in front of the mirror. Sooner or later it will go the way of all flesh.

• Never brag about your lawn. The dandelions will humble you.

• Never brag about your cooking. Your fridge is full of leftovers.

• Never brag about your cool new car. It will be obsolete before you finish your first year's payments.

• Never brag about the big fish you almost caught. Everybody you talk to almost caught a much bigger one than that.

• Never brag about your winter in Florida until the sunburn scabs have been scraped off the tops of your ears.

• Never brag about your husband — for a thousand reasons known to everyone. People will consider you a liar.

• Never brag about winning the lottery. You'll hear from more cousins then you knew existed.

• Never brag about your important friends, you name dropper. Most of those people have no idea who you are.

• Never brag about your big new boat. Your friends already consider you the biggest hotdog they know.

• Never brag about the book you just read, unless it was over a thousand pages long. But if it was over a thousand pages, don't brag about it anyway because you'll just prove you didn't understand it.

I hope I haven't spoiled all the fun. Not all bragging is off limits. If you want to brag, go ahead and make somebody's day. Brag about your grandma, your little sister or one of your teachers. And no, don't worry — I won't be bragging about this column.