Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2009 … wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
But I have a lot of column left, so I will offer you more. The rest of my advice, though, is a wholly owned subsidiary of my experience, and may or may not have any applicability to yours and may or may not get you into a lot of trouble.
Stop to consider that in 10 years you are very likely to be married, living in your own house, driving your own car, working a job you hate to help pay the babysitter. Yeah, you’ll have a kid, too.
Stop to consider that the following 10 years will go by faster than the previous 10, and the next 10 will go by even faster than that. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.
Don’t count the minutes, count the memories. If you can’t remember, pretend you can and laugh when everyone else does. It’s easier that way.
You are as fat as you imagine. Everyone else is fatter, though, so it works out.
The future is a story you tell yourself. The past is the same. The present is the only thing you can be sure of, but you just missed it worrying about the other two.
Get to know the Serenity Prayer.
Beware of fads; it will soon become clear that Barack Obama is just another man and that Twitter is just another way to sell you something.
Your Roomba is stupid, too.
Guys; don’t intimate that you totally dig her outlook on life and wish more people had her sense of humor when really you just wanna be all up ins. Gals; don’t be surprised when you fall for it.
Bag it before you tag it; wrap it before you tap it; bundle before you rumble; yadda yadda yadda. Just use one, all right?
Jealousy is not conducive to happiness. Sometimes you’re better than everyone, sometimes you suck more than Sasha Grey. The point is to not care about it either way, because no one else cares whether you have a bigger truck or a more stylish messenger bag.
Really, they don’t.
See that? I just lied (they do care, but that’s because they’re jealous, which means you’re better, which means don’t worry about it). Be careful about that – lying – because the Internet isn’t going away.
Speaking of the Internet, Google has rendered “I don’t know“ an unacceptable answer. Google also makes it very easy to pretend to know a lot of stuff and write columns about it.
Keep your love letters and your bank statements; one never does know when supporting documents and/or blackmail will be necessary.
Guys; take a yoga class. It’s good for you and the girls are flexible.
Gals; take a yoga class. It’s good for you and at least the guys totally dig your outlook on life and wish more people had your sense of humor.
Never figure out what you want to do with your life. If you do, your life will be boring and routine. Instead, figure out what you want out of your life, and let the rest evolve.
Get plenty of calcium. And fiber. And exercise. And vitamins. And water. But not too much. But more than you get right now. Just not a whole lot more. In fact, here, buy this book; it’ll explain everything.
At some point, say the following out loud and in public, “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass … and I’m all out of bubblegum.“
A few minutes later, start yelling, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”
Watch the movie KIDS.
Be kind to your knees; bend them for no one.
Be kind to your back; lift from your knees.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t (with thanks to Proposition 8). Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t (with thanks to now-free Viagra). Maybe you’ll get divorced, maybe you’ll make out with the waitress on your 50th wedding anniversary (with thanks to your spouse). But no matter what you do, do it with passion. We can’t control much, if we can control anything at all, but we can decide how to respond to our life’s circumstances.
You are the marble and the Michelangelo.
Really, how fucking unnatural are mirrors? Humans spent tens of thousands of years without them, and now suddenly our psyches are supposed to make sense of looking at ourselves all the damn time? The challenge: Try to go a day without looking at yourself in a mirror.
Then try a week.
Dance. Film yourself. Fall. Put it on YouTube. Get famous. Make no money. Get depressed. Dance.
Remember that Google has rendered “I don’t know“ an unacceptable answer? That counts for directions, too.
Take it easy. And if it’s easy, take it twice.
Go ahead and read beauty magazines; just be sure to openly and loudly criticize the models‘ feelings of low self worth while in the checkout stand.
Do not buy the magazine.
Ask your parents (or legal guardian) one totally random question per week. What was 1978 like? Who did they see at their first concert? How did people get around before the Segway?
Be nice to your roommates; there’s no guarantee that toothbrush of yours won’t end up in the toilet and then back in your mouth. As System of a Down says, “Need the ones you love/ love the ones you need.“
You’ll meet new people after you graduate. You’ll move someplace different. You’ll work on novel projects. Know your roots. Do not forget your old friends, old apartment, old work. More to the point, do not burn bridges; scorched earth is a blunt and crude way of limiting the energy you expend maintaining a relationship.
The shit’s chess, it ain’t checkers.
Go to another country. Mexico doesn’t count, and Canada counts as half. Iran counts double. North Korea is an automatic win.
Accept certain inalienable truths: earnings will fall, politicians will start wars, humans will run out of fresh water. And when you get old, you’ll rationalize it all by pointing out that you can hologram-conference with your Army buddy fighting for the Amazon in Brazil for free after 6 p.m. on weekends and that makes it totally worth it.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Conservatives are going to kill the social safety net if it’s the last thing they do (and it will be).
Get a tattoo.
(But not while you’re in one of those other countries.)
If someone is selling their advice, it means one of two things. Either they made it big and are just looking for a way to fill time and stroke their ego, or they didn’t make it at all and are just looking for a way to fill time and stroke their ego. The only way to know is to use Google. When you do you’ll realize that Jim Cramer beat the market from 2005 through 2007 by 4.6 percent. Then reality beat the market by 56.8 percent.
The lesson: the safest advice is the stuff no one wants to sell because the safest advice is to not buy any bullshit, which is what everyone is selling.
Even me, I’m sure.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
K.C. CODY really does want everyone to wear sunscreen. Any final thoughts can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.