Seth Godin starts a list of the top 1000 things someone should know when they graduate high school. Looking at his list, I think it's a little advanced for high school: #4 is "How to Manage a project". I've known adults whose job consists of managing projects, who can't accomplish this task.
Oh well, here's a couple more:
* Do emergency repairs on a car
* Sew, especially socks and pants
* Negotiate a contract with a car dealer and an apartment owner
* The general outlines of how to buy a house
* Emergency first aid
* How to swim
* How to cook (at least) 20 basic healthy meals
* Know how to learn, and how to pick up what you don't already know
* Basic no-weapon self defense
* How to find facts for yourself, so that when someone lies to you, you can check up on it.
* How to listen
* How to drive
* How to budget and shop for things (especially groceries, but also cars, houses, clothes, and medical insurance).
* How to deal with big bureaucracies (health insurance companies, the government).
* How to comfort someone
* How to be nice to other people
* A little statistics
That's enough for a start.
It's the end-all of bad writing contests: the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. One starting sentence, honed with cliches, insertions, and meandering thoughts until it's just right. "Right", in this case, being "the most absurd sentence you've read in years."
This year's winner was Dave Zobel, with the following:
She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight . . . summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail . . . though the term "love affair" now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism . . . not unlike "sand vein," which is after all an intestine, not a vein . . . and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand . . . and that brought her back to Ramon.
Entries for this year's contest are due April 15th... approximately. They'll take them until June 30th, evidentally.