This piece was presented as Kurt Vonnegut’s commencement address at MIT in 1997. It’s great stuff, but apparently it wasn’t written or delivered by Vonnegut. It’s still a beautiful piece… Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
Just got one of those feel good emails I felt like sharing with everyone. Thanks to Frank Cook for the big smile I got after reading it.
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for
help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.
There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the
lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and
introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
‘I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’
‘No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son
came to the door of the family hovel.
‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked.
‘Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.
‘I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’ And that he did.
Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and
went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill .. His son’s name?
Sir Winston Churchill..
Someone once said: What goes around comes around.
Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching.
Sing like nobody’s listening.
Live like it’s Heaven on Earth.
Well, I knew it was bound to happen. My brother-in-law Brooke warned me, my fellow Rotarian’s laughed about it and now it has come. I was sent a membership application from AARP yesterday. Yes, the American Association of Retired Persons found out I’m turning 50 shortly. I swear I just turned 21 yesterday. How did those years pass so quickly.
Do I feel 50, no way. Age is just a state of mind and while I feel I have gained wisdom in the 50 years, life is still as playful as it was 29 years ago (ok, so my body doesn’t recover as quickly but my mind does). To keep a youthful exuberance and a positive outlook on life may not be so easy, especially in today’s turbulent economic world, keeping an optimistic point of view is the only way to stay young in spirit.
Being an Eeyore is a sure way to age faster than you should. Being a realistic optimist is a way to slow down aging and to enjoy each and every minute. Here are a few of my thoughts on life:
- Don’t hold grudges. It takes a lot of energy to stay being angry at people.
- Be honest. Lying means you have to remember what you lied about so you don’t get caught.
- Lead an ethical life. It is so much easier to be fair and ethical. Follow the Rotary 4-Way Test and your life will be easier.
- Laugh. Do this at least once a day (more if you can) and you’ll extend your life and enjoy it more as well.
- Cherish friends. Friends make your life better. Join an organization like Rotary, or Lions, or maker a young friend by being a big sister or big brother to a needy kid.
- Don’t stress the little stuff or for that matter the big stuff. Care about everything in proportion but don’t let it stress you to inaction or to the detriment of your health.
- Learn something new everyday. My friend and one time business partner Judge Alan Tiras had a saying, every day I learn something is a good day.
- Finally, Do something good for someone, anyone, everyday of your life. There is no greater gift you can give than a kind thought, a good deed or a lending hand.
Life is way too short to be miserable and angry. As bad as things may seem, they can and will get better if you want them to and work toward that end.
Anyone who’s done a mock draft knows that it isn’t a science, it’s a guessing game. No general manager of an NFL team tells the truth and the “so-called experts” honestly are guessing as well. Here is my best guess and this Saturday I’ll see how well (or more likely bad) I did.
1 – Jake Long OT – Miami Dolphins – I got this one right since they already signed him.
2 – Chris Long DE –
3 – Glenn Dorsey DT – Atlanta Falcons – Beast of a man who will improve their defense immediately.
4 – Darren McFadden RB – Oakland Raiders – Raider fans cheer for this explosive running back.
5 – Ryan Clady OT – Kansas City Chiefs – They need line help and he provides it.
6 – Vernon Gholston – DT – New York Jets – Hopefully his career follows his workouts.
7 – Leodis McKelvin – CB – New England Patriots – The lost Asante Samuel and need to replace him.
8 – Matt Ryan – QB – Baltimore Ravens – They can’t believe their luck getting a new QB.
9 – Sedric Ellis – DE – Cincinnati Bengals – More help for their beleaguered defense.
10 – Keith Rivers – LB – New Orleans Saints – This guy can play and they need linebacking help.
11 – Devin Thomas – WR – Buffalo Bills – An instant upgrade to their offense.
12 – Branden Albert – OG – Denver Broncos – This guy can be a great guard or tackle in the NFL.
13 – Chris Williams – OT – Carolina Panthers – Happiness in Pantherland when he falls to them.
14 – Jeff Otah – OT – Chicago Bears – Him or Mendenhall at RB but I think they have bigger needs in the offensive line.
15 – Rashard Mendenhall – RB – Detroit Lions – They have so many needs but this is a solid pick (at least its not a WR).
16 – Derrick Harvey – DE – Arizona Cardinals – Another happy team with their pick.
17 – Phillip Merling – DE – Kansas City Chiefs – Replacing Allen on the D-Line was the purpose of this pick
18 – Mike Jenkins – CB – Houston Texans – Surprise pick but a definite need.
19 – Dominque Rogers-Cromartie – Philadelphia Eagles – No one saw this coming but it makes sense.
20 – Ketwan Balmer – DE – Tampa Bay Bucs – More defense equals more wins.
21 – Limas Sweed – WR – Washington Redskins – Returner and receiver is just what the Skins need.
22 – Felix Jones – RB – Dallas Cowboys – Everyone saw this one coming from miles away.
23 – James Hardy – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers – They need weapons and he is one of them.
24 – Calais Campbell – DE – Tennessee Titans – Boost the defense in this round, offense in the next one.
25 – Dustin Keller – TE – Seattle Seahawks – Matt Hasselback throws a party now that he has a top TE to throw to.
26 – Marcus Harrison – DT – Jacksonville Jaguars – Solid pick.
27 – Ryan Clady – OT – San Diego Chargers – His drop surprises many, Chargers are happy.
28 – Kenny Phillips – S – Dallas Cowboys – Why not?
29 – Dan Connor – LB –
30 – Chad Henne – QB – Green Bay Packers – They either trade him for more picks or get a backup to Aaron Rogers.
31 – Tyrell Johnson – S – New York Giants – Real value pick.
Ever wonder how long a particular food item, especially condiments last? Well here is a great website with a fun way of giving you that information using a Table of Condiments. Very smart and humorous but useful.
Last night I watched the movie “Thank You for Smoking” and it was hilarious. It may be fiction but it so illustrates how companies that sell dangerous products like cigarettes can spin the truth and keep in business. Toxins in your environment like bisphenol A and phthalates have industry spokespeople and paid “scientists” try to make you believe that their chemical poisons are safe despite evidence to the contrary.
Aaron Eckhart does a great job as the lead character Nick Naylor who is a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. The moral dilemma’s he avoids and the way he deals with his enemies is both funny and quite scary. Worth the 1 1/2 hours, but make sure the kids aren’t around as there is some rather racy language.
As some of my readers know, I’m a BIG pro football fan. My favorite teams include the NY Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers (the Super Bowl two years ago was a dream game for me). Now that the new season is about to start tonight, it’s time for my prognostications for the upcoming season. Here goes:
AFC East – New England Patriots AFC North – Indianapolis Colts AFC South – Pittsburgh Steelers AFC West – San Diego Chargers
AFC Wild Cards – Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets
NFC East – Dallas Cowboys NFC North – Chicago Bears NFC South – New Orleans Saints NFC West – Seattle Seahawks
NFC Wild Cards – Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers
AFC Champion – San Diego Chargers
NFC Champion – Seattle Seahawks
Super Bowl Champion – San Diego Chargers
Team with the first pick in the 2008 NFL Draft – Miami Dolphins
First team to fire their coach after the season – New York Giants
So, there you have it, my wild guesses. Take them as such.
The pharmaceutical industry, trying to make more profits at every turn, is now creating disorders in order to market drugs that normally would’nt see the light of day. So, in my attempt to be fair and balanced, have uncovered a website that allows you to create a disease of your own. The people at Newstarget.com have a Disease Mongering Engine. Now you know how Big Pharma does it. Funny stuff.
Have you ever yearned to hear those old radio shows or wanted to find out what your parents or grandparents used to listen to well try the OLD TIME RADIO website. Oh and btw, it’s free!!!