High school and college commencements are fresh in the air like aerosol cologne in a boys locker room.
I wish to offer all of these younglings in graduation garb — with their hair combed, looking tall and impossibly thin — some heartfelt advice. I am concerned as a dad for my own daughter and because I don't want "The New Hope of the World" to take as long as I did to come up with a few of life's basics. Here they are:
You are beautiful. Everyone is beautiful when young. I was stunning. My high school photo becomes more stunning the older I get.
Tanning won't kill you when done in moderation. However, burn yourself now and your skin will look like a pita pocket in 20 short years.
Keep your teeth clean. You will want them later.
Consider getting all the education you can. Remember that getting good grades and getting an education are not always synonymous. Everyone knows something you don't. Find out what that is.
Old people get it — they just don't care about it. That shirt with those pants? We know it looks silly, and we are not going to bother with explaining how much we do not care.
Saying what everyone else says and thinking like everyone else thinks is not all it's cracked up to be. But don't forget who you are for all the "being different."
Sag your pants now and over the summer if you must. However, remember that the older you get, the fewer people want to see your underwear — unless you become a professional pants sagger like a rapper or an underwear model.
Please don't become a rapper or an underwear model.
Good is better than evil because good is more kind
Start the day with something you don't want to do but has to be done. This is maturity in action.
Go with your gut — unless your gut says to drink and drive or use drugs. If that is what it is telling you, then tell your gut to keep a lid on it.
Grow your hair long while you can. In five years, you won't want to and in 10 you won't be able to. In 20, you will not remember where you put it.
Find something you believe in and then believe in it with all your heart. Not believing in anything takes a lot of energy of which you will have less and less.
Acting is better than reacting unless you are choosing a career in the arts. If that is the case, then react your way to a degree in computer science or anything not artsy.
Know that your parents want you to have fun, but not too much fun. We want you to look hot, but not too hot. We love you and want you to do well and are a little afraid you will get hurt unless we are there to be a buffer or give advice. That's why we sometimes freak out a little.
You can always call us or text us regardless of the time. If it is a decent hour (for us) calling is better.
When we make a suggestion it is because we were once wearing your same lace-ups. Shoe styles change, but feelings and experiences are more the same than they are different.
We will refrain from saying we told you so even though we did tell you so because you will not remember that we actually told you so until you are at least 40. Then you will write a book of pithy sayings for the angst-ridden and buy us a Winnebago – at which point we will consider the matter resolved.
Have a wonderful life, and we mean that. And please, don't stick around the house just to please us. Come back to visit with grandkids and a degree.