Remember to wear sunscreen

Today is, at least here in the United States, a very important day.

Today, a new challenge begins.

For today is the day, for many Americans, when the senior High School class has their last official day of school before being unleashed upon the world.

Perhaps your school is already out, perhaps it isn’t until next week. But today is the epicenter of the devastation.

Prepare yourselves, one and all.

Today is unleashed a new generation unto the workforce that know it all, and surely the wrongs of the world will be made right, and peace and a new utopia shall spread across the land.

Look around you my friends, and remember that today’s graduates, the experts of Facebook and Myspace and video games and friends with benefits will be tomorrows’ politicians and businesspeople… and all that stuff they dumped on the web about loving to smoke pot, how it helps the music mellow them out? That they figure they, ya know, invented?

Boy, the background checks these people have done on them are going to be hiLARious.

You poor bastards. 

Okay, but seriously. This is a huge, frightening time, and you may be stressing as it finally dawns on you that, truthfully, you are screwed. Where you go from here is your call, and if you screw it up, it’s on your own ass. Nobody else to blame it on. 

So I have some advice for you to take with you as you head out into the real world. And I really, really mean it. This is the accumulated wisdom of my 40 years on this Earth. Use it well.

Life sucks, the universe is NOT fair, no, NOT FAIR, do not ever, ever, ever use the word ‘fair’ in front of anyone, about anything that shall ever happen for the entire rest of your life.

You think you are worldly, you’ve seen more and done more than any of the innocents that have gone before. You’ve seen the craziness on Youtube, you’ve seen American Idol, you think you’ve got a good idea what to expect.

No, really. You don’t. I wish you COULD, I really would like to save you some pain, but life is going to take you, and embrace you, pat you on the back, and then it’s going to knife you in the ribs and lift your wallet. You’ll learn, and grow, but you WILL have scars before 5 years are gone. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you’re careful, you will escape unharmed. Nobody gets out of this alive, so make the best of it while you’re here. Live life, take risks when you have to, and minimize the potential damage to other people whenever humanly possible.

You will know you’ve gained wisdom when you can properly judge when it’s worth taking a risk, and when you can understand and accept the potential consequences when things go wrong. And in the real world, things do go wrong.

When you go out to begin to make your mark, to carve out a life for yourself and begin, do not take  an attitude into your new world, and do NOT, EVER, be judgmental towards others.

Keep an open mind and remember that what someone else does is only under the control of someone else. Do not get judgmental.

Your boss smokes? Do not get up on your high horse and give him crap for having an unhealthy lifestyle choice. Believe it or not, he  or she has heard the whole thing before, you are not a brave new pioneer telling someone this secret wisdom about how ‘smoking is unhealthy’.

Do not get judgmental. I can’t stress that enough. It is enough that YOU do not do the things that bother you. 

In time, you will gain a better understanding of when it is appropriate to try and help someone else with unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Like when you’re 90.

You have one shot at starting clean in this brave new world. So get out there, and remember what you CAN control.

You can control yourself. That’s it. You cannot control the actions or behaviors of your boss, your friends, your parents, or your co-workers.

You can control your mouth, so it does not open and get you into trouble. You can control your attitude, and not alienate or piss off the people around you.

You can control your own work ethic, and show by example that you can work hard, be consistent, have the ability to focus on your tasks and follow them through to completion, and to have an eye for detail so that when you say that a job is complete, that you have taken the time to verify that every aspect of the job really IS complete, and done right the first time.

You can control your appearance, to give off the impression you really want to give. Yes, if you wish to appear professional, that includes shaving off that peach fuzz with the random stray4″ long hair off the side of your face. No, it’s not a beard. Give it up.

Take a shower or bath, regularly. No, I don’t care if no one ever complained before and YOU don’t smell anything. Do it. And soap, while made out of caustics, won’t actually burn you. Use it.

Hey, that toothbrush and toothpaste? Use them too. And when you swallow a small dab of toothpaste to help freshen your breath? We call that a ‘squib’ of toothpaste.

And finally…

Remember the lessons you have learned here on the blog. If you keep your mouth closed and listen, people may think that you’re an idiot, but the second you open your mouth you PROVE you’re an idiot.

To the new generation of future leaders…

God help us all, and good luck.

25 thoughts on “Remember to wear sunscreen

  1. I’m a year into college, so this comes a bit late for me, sadly. And most of it I had already figured out the hard way before graduating high school. I’ve had scars since I was five. My learning didn’t come from Youtube and American Idol.


  2. @Seleria – if you do have access to financial aid, you could always try to go back for a second bachelors in something with more utility like accounting or business management. or get a certificate in one of the myriad of medical specialties. none of the above is glamorous work, but is always in demand. Major shortage of qualified nurses/cnas/rnas ect.. I’m guessing your degree is in teaching (from the peer teaching) which is also very useful, but without the advanced degree will be limited.

    another option might be to apply to the various local school district(s) as a substitute, there is a surprising amount of work for good subs, it’s not consistent work usually, but the pay isn’t too bad i’m told.


  3. He BBB I think this is what you are talking about. Baz Luhrmann presents Something for Everbody the song is Everbody’s free (to wear suncreen). I really liked this blog. Sadly most of the youth are going to think we are idiots and make the mistakes anyway.

    I spend the whole time I was in the military with this song and Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You Will Go as my moto’s. I wanted to be a better person but I was still an idiot. At lest I tried. Now I am rasing the next batch of youth (I love my kids ). I am confedent they will become idiots but hopefully not to much. I will always be by there side cause I know how scary and crazy life is. 🙂


  4. So… this kind of hits home for me. And I have a question o’ the sagely bear.

    I recently graduated from college rather than high school. I have a degree, but it’s the kind of degree that in the “real world” it doesn’t mean much until you get a higher degree (master’s, doctorate, etc.). I did what I was “supposed” to do and applied to graduate school (with limited geographical choices because of the military + significant other)… and got rejected with a letter that quite literally said in more formal words “Hey, we’d love to have you, but with the economy the way it is, we can’t afford you–we would have taken you last year.”

    So here I am, the equivalent of a high school graduate with pretty much no experience in anything “worthwhile”–I’ve done some waitressing, some grading and peer teaching at school, and that’s about it.

    It is indeed a scary world out there and I feel quite intimidated. I have no idea where to start. The one thing that’s for sure is that having no job is not an option. So any advice?


  5. You remind me of a nice story I heard told in a movie.

    A small bird has fallen out of the nest and can’t get back up by itself. It’s also pretty cold and if the little bird doesn’t get any help it will certanly freze to death. So the bird is constantly calling out for help when a cow is passing by. It walks over to the bird, lifts its tail and let a pile of dung fall onto the poor bird before it walks off again.
    Now the little bird are warm and fine but it doesn’t like being up to its neck in dung so it contines to call out for help. A coyote hears the calls and walks over, gently lifts the bird out of the dung pile and licks it clean. The little bird now starts to feel happy and really likes the coyote but when the bird is clean the coyote looks at it and then eats it.

    The point being: The ones you feel just throws shit on you might actually be helping you while those seemingly nice might only do it for their own profit and could be the ones that are causing you harm in the end.

    (I bet someone else could write this better since this isn’t my native language but I think the idea gets through anyway. And yes, I know it’s not a perfect story but I kind of like it.)


  6. I like the Mark Twain paraphase at the end; it is my personal motto, and my immediate response anytime someone asks me why I’m so quiet.
    “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”


  7. @Kattrinsaa –

    My favorite variant of that had the professor pouring in a can of beer, demonstrating that no matter what’s going on in your life….there’s always room for beer.


  8. You forgot “don’t eat yellow snow!”

    You’re from Minnesota, that should have been the first thing you said!! LOL


  9. I can’t remember which of the kazllion books I’ve read this quote was from but it’s my favorite comment on “fair”
    Said during the villain’s retort to “it’s not fair”

    Fair? As far as I am concerned fair is just a state that lies somewhere between poor and mediocre.


  10. Nicely done Bear. I am certainly aware that all we can do is give them the tools to be at their best. Be respectful, be appreciative, be kind and be on guard for the unexpected.

    As my only druid teenage daughter will soon get her drivers’ permit, I’m sick at the thought of this hugh responsiblity but know its inevidable. I dunno how you folks deal with teenagers getting their license hehehe.

    Great post Bear…I may print it and stick it on her wall:)


  11. Have you found a way to get Dr Demento in the Cities? Every time I look, none of the stations around here carry the show. It’s a crying shame. That’s no way for Minnesota to treat one of its own.

    For now, I subsist on the FuMP


  12. I know many of us have seen this bit before but it goes along well with all the bear wisdom we just got.

    Stephen Covey is one of my favorite authors. In the book
    “First Things First” he describes a story that one of his
    associates experienced on a seminar. In the middle of the
    lecture the presenter pulled out a wide-mouth jar and placed
    it on the table, aside to some fist-sized rocks.

    After filling the jar to the top with rocks he asked, “Is the jar full?”

    People could see that no more rocks would fit, so they replied, “Yes!”

    “Not so fast,” he cautioned. He then got some gravel from under the
    table and added it to the jar, filling the spaces between the rocks.
    Again, he asked, “Is the jar full?”

    This time the students replied “Probably not.”

    The presenter then reached a bucket of sand below the table, and
    dumped it on the jar, filling the spaces between the rocks and the
    gravel. Once again he asked “Is the jar full?”

    “No!”, the students shouted.

    Finally, he grabbed a pitcher of water and filled the jar completely,
    asking to the public what they could learn from that illustration.

    One of the participants answered, “If you work at it, you can
    always fit more into your life.”

    “No,” said the presenter. “The point is, if you don’t put the big rocks
    in first. . . would you ever have gotten any of them in?”

    The challenge for our younger generation is to figure out for themselves
    what their “big rocks” are.


  13. Hey BBB,

    I know the song you’re talking about… just sent it to the email address you have on your contact page.



  14. Actually, this is a grumpy old man, hey kids get off my lawn speech.

    The title is from one of my favorite ‘advice’ speeches, that someone made into a song that I loved on Doctor Demento.

    The opening to the song/speech was to remember to use suncreen, and the tagline of the song was “And I meant it about the sunscreen.” Everything in between was teh aw3some.

    I need to figure out which song that was, it was awesome. Too many decades of water under the bridge to just have the name pop in my head now.


  15. Graduation speech, huh?

    Although I kid, I think it is a great message to send to those (such as myself), finally leaving their sanctuary of safety and shelter, where ever it may be.


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