The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

You Gotta Grow to Know

There are some things (actually, you might argue most things) that you don't really fully comprehend when you are first exposed to them. A great example of this for me is the movie It's a Wonderful Life. As a kid I used to be forced to watch this movie each year, an event which I dreaded. I didn't care about some random dumb movie that's really old and only for fuddy-duddies. For some reason though I watched it a year ago over Christmas and was riveted to the TV. Little did I know the treasures that were contained within this slightly cheesy story. By the end I was near tears (but I'm a man, I don't have tear ducts!).

Today I was listening to the radio and a similar occurrence happened. I heard the song Everybody's Free (The Sunscreen Song) by Baz Luhrmann, and for the first time I didn't want to change channels. I listened to what was said, and while I never understood it before I think I do now. The music part is pretty dumb, but the words from the speech are some of the greatest words I think I've heard in awhile. Without further adieu I give you this small nugget:

Baz Luhrmann: Everybody's Free (Sunscreen Speech Song)
Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '99: Wear sunscreen.

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’re 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 bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday 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 the 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 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 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 in your own 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’ll never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography, in lifestyle, because the older you get the more you need the people you knew 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.


Accept certain inalienable truths: price 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 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 who 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.

I found out today (2005.03.01), thanks to where all of this stuff actually came from.

-Btw, I highly recommend going to Snopes if anybody EVER sends you an email that you think is either strange or fabulous (such as the Bonsai Kitten emails).-

Turns out this song is actually from a writer for the Chicago Tribune named Mary Schmich and you can find her column (and others related to it) here, but don't click around too much or they'll try to make you sign up.

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