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Old 03-20-2009, 04:11 PM   #1
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Everyone's Free(To Wear Sunscreen)

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Everyone's Free(To Wear Sunscreen) - a faux commencement speech written by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich in 1997, that was subsequently made into a pop song - the column spoken by Australian voice actor Lee Perry over an ambient piece of pop music, produced by Baz Lurhman. I've always loved it, and I listened to it again a few days ago, and I was struck again by how good some of the advice in this thing is. I'm only 24, this advice is supposed to be lost on people my age, but I appreciate it. So, I felt like starting a thread on it, and even though Everyone's Free(To Wear Sunscreen) is a pop song, I thought this would inspire more serious discussion here.

Everybody's Free
(to wear sunscreen)
Mary Schmich
Chicago Tribune

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '97... 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. Never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have 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 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 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 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 never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are 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 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, 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.

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Old 03-22-2009, 02:59 AM   #2
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I liked the original, and really liked the fake one. I was highly irritated in the highschool years by the very people these kinds of songs and commentaries appeal to and are written for. I hope I don't sound as though I think I am above them; rather the opposite. I was never the prettiest, most popular, smartest, richest. I sat rather low in probably all highschool scales. But my isolation from the cool kids allowed me to learn very quickly and early on that it never really mattered how fat I was (or was not) or how good my marks were, that I would get by on my own merits and I never needed validation. I knew that while I could never hope to do well in any advanced maths classes, I could dance en pointe. I was looked on with pity because my family didn't have a car, but I was fitter and more resourceful and less spoilt as a result of walking and busing/training it everywhere. I wasn't one of the pretty smart girls, but I never had to sleep with the basketball team to make friends or worry that my tan was dark enough (being glowing white means you eventually give up and accept your ghostly white complexion!). And you know, I still managed to get married and even have a few kids. I mustn't have been too ugly or intolerable to be around - despite what Nada once said. Nada, who I might add, had the unfortunate luck of looking like a twisted Dunlop Volley... I may have stuck to arts, history and English subjects, but now I'm hoping to finish 2 degrees. I have plans to 'get my 3rd degree' before I die. What did 3 unit chemistry get most of those people? Same places I am, I'm sure.

Anyway, I'm rambling. No wonder people and teenagers hate teenagers. And it only seems to get worse. I cannot stand the filthy, maudlin looking morons who congregate in public places. I'm gearing up for the shotgun and rocking chair on my porch...

<a href=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v196/angelaharlem/thPaul_Roos28.jpg target=_blank>http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...aul_Roos28.jpg</a>
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Old 03-22-2009, 03:29 PM   #3
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The above actually goes for some adults I know, too. Which is where the filthy, maudlin teenagers get it from.

I also know some great teenagers and adults who I want to grow up to be like when I'm older.
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