From time to time we need to be reminded that not many writers in the English tongue have improved on Rudyard Kipling's classic poem 'If'. With Kipling in mind, I make a list of 27 items contemporaries might find useful.
1. The classic man has approximately 1/3 the number of shoes of his wife. He knows which few are his favorites and understands the rest are not purchased with his tastes in mind. He leaves her to her budget.
2. The classic man is comfortable at all times because he knows whatever can go wrong inevitably will. He never uses terms like 'swimmingly', instead he measures stresses at the weakest links and prepares for their breaking.
3. The classic man prefers not to eat movie theater food, and only goes for big screen blockbuster openings with his friends or family. He expects the chaos of crowds as part of the moviegoing experience.
4. The classic man indulges with moderation, and always has his steaks cooked to order.
5. The classic man always gives himself plenty of time when out and about in his vehicle. He never particularly minds the extra walk from the far corners of the parking lot.
6. The classic man's bedtime routine frequently involves passing out from a long day's work, but his morning routine is disciplined.
7. The classic man reserves very little of of his capacity for critical judgment on the subject of sugary soft drinks. Whiskey on the other hand...
8. The classic man's erudition is developed and deployed for the sake of unambiguity and wit. He always communicates with respect for the listener, never to prove his superiority. However the classic man has stinging comebacks for insulting posers.
9. The classic man's gentleness instructs his sons. His strength instructs his daughters. His unconditional love binds them all.
10. The classic man takes pride in all of his manual labors and chores in which he aims to be swift and thorough. He always avoids cutting corners and shoddy work.
11. The classic man's business is not in the street. When he uses the web, it is not to be anonymous or crude.
12. The classic man orders toiletries and other staples well in advance of their necessary use. Since he loyal to his brands, surprises are not in order.
13. The classic man has broad tastes in music and literature and is always curious to know what his acquaintances are enjoying. He is never too far from the fashion but slavish to none. He is, despite his habits, always prepared to be pleasantly surprised.
14. The classic man accepts change in technologies and methodologies with an eye to their purpose and effectiveness. He will often be stubborn in holding to an old-fashioned habit or two, not to be perverse but for the sake of his actual enjoyment of the practice. The classic man never forgets Chesterton's fence.
15. The classic man's home looks lived in because it is. It is orderly after his fashion and it speaks volumes about who he is.
16. The classic man is chivalric in all things. He will unselfishly protect the weak from predators wherever he is. He will balance his instinct to be the hero with practical situational awareness, but he will not stand idly by or simply record crime when he can intervene or encourage others to assist him.
17. The classic man has the right tool for the job, but it's all about the job, not about the tool.
18. The classic man may have the occasion to repeat himself for the benefit of those who don't quite understand the universality of his principles.
19. The classic man indulges in the sentimental and romantic with verve, but understands they are no substitute for virtue.
20. The classic man shares his burdens with those he respects most and in that way reinforces his desire to overcome those burdens.
21. The classic man enjoys slapstick in his children as well as their clever wit.
22. The classic man is modest with his endowments and does not titillate his neighbors.
23. The classic man has read at least 75% of the books on his shelves and always has reference books. He is entirely comfortable with digital libraries.
24. The classic man is dependably available according to his commitments. If he needs to be on call, then he is on call. No excuses.
25. The classic man will prepare himself morally and practically to make life and death decisions and will not shy from those areas of life which may ultimately demand it of him.
26. The classic man strives to be reminded of the true dimensions of human tragedy He is not petty.
27. The classic man dances, sometimes with discipline, sometimes with abandon, always with heart.