|2/8/2014 3:55:00 PM|
No wonder he wasn't a speaker
Hard to believe, I know, but another graduation season has come and gone and not once did my phone ring with anyone requesting my services as a speaker.
Who woulda thunk it?
After all, I gave the class address at my graduation some hundred years ago . . . or were we the 100th graduating class? I never remember which. And the folks who work here often tell me that they truly value my input and opinions . . . usually while asking for time off, a raise . . . or both.
But hey, I have opinions. This column is called Two Cents, by golly. And since, once again, no one called, I thought I'd share my two cents with our learned graduates. And listen up grads, feel free to cut this out and keep it where it'll do some good (around fish or in birdcages are my recommendations).
First, skip the tattoo. I know, I know, it's the thing to do. When I was a kid, it was hair. The thing is, hair can be cut. Tattoos last. Remember this. Let's say you could go back in time and get your tattoo. Go back 10, 15 even 20 years. What would you have on your arm, neck, or back, today? What was the big thing in your life then? Barbie? Transformers? Power Rangers? My Pretty Pony? Believe me, as silly as that sounds now, you'll be thinking the same thing a decade or two from now.
Have a best friend. Make sure you have someone in your life who's there in good times and bad, someone who listens and really understands you. Someone who'll be by your side no matter what. And no, that someone is not your iPhone.
At the risk of sounding like a dad (but after all, I am a dad), set goals. The further away from school and mom and dad you get, the less anyone else cares about what happens to you. Think I'm kidding? Who, pray tell, would it be? Your boss? Hah! That's funny. (Oh wait, I'm a boss.) The only person who has a vested interest in your success is (surprise!) you. When things don't work out, and you're going to find that without aforementioned parents around so much things don't work out as easily as they used to, everything will end up in your lap. Hey, you've been asking for that for a while, so don't gripe.
Actually, it's not a bad thing. Try this: Write down what you really want in the next 10 years and stick it on the fridge in that new apartment or dorm. Every day look at it and ask yourself this question: What have I done today to make that happen? If you're ambitious enough, you'll like the direction that takes you.
Read a newspaper. No, seriously, read a newspaper. The Internet is great and I'd hate to learn to live without it. But the Internet also has more misinformation and gobbledegook than Lady Gaga has tattoos. (See, I really am hip.) A newspaper, old-fashioned as we may be, still has people trained to get the news and to get it right. Sure, we make mistakes, but mostly we do get it right. And we provide more than 8-second sound bytes and YouTube gaffes (although you've got to love that idiot with the electric dog collar). Our society is full of people who are quick to spout off with some less-than-half-baked opinion. Be better than that. Get all the facts and get the facts from a source you can trust. Then make your decision. Be informed, not just opinionated. (OK, blatant self-promotion portion is over.)
Take care of yourselves. We know more about health today than ever in the history of humankind. Take advantage of that and be smart. Be smarter than your parents and grandparents. Trust me on this one.
Don't be a victim. Seriously, people are going to screw with you. You can let it pull you down, or you can stay above it. If they get the best of you today, learn from it and move on tomorrow. Don't fill up on poison and thoughts of how they're going to pay. Remember this, the best revenge is to live well.
You may be wondering when this will end. Well, young ones, let me point out that you are not covered in a polyester cap and gown, sitting on a hard chair and enduring the entire process of a graduation ceremony. So shut up and keep reading . . . please.
Believe. I'm not the best guy to preach religion. But wandering through life as a non-believer doesn't serve anyone particularly well, most of all you. Maybe it's hard to understand now, but there is a power up there bigger than you, and, just my opinion, I wouldn't want to tick Him off.
Get a job and love it. Whether you're going back to school or heading to work, now's a good time to think about working at something you're passionate about. There is much truth to the adage, get a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life. If that can't happen in the short run, keep it in mind for the long.
And lastly boys and girls, if you don't agree with anything else, just think about how stupid a big, ol' Barbie tattoo would look on that bare arm right now.
Peace and prosper, graduates. And welcome to the real world.
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