Well, it’s graduation time and again I’ve been bypassed as a speaker for the ceremonies at Armijo High, Fairfield High, Rodriguez High, Vanden High, Vacaville High, Wood High, Vacaville Christian High, Buckingham Charter, Solano Community College, Rio Vista High, Crystal Middle School . . . well, you get the idea.
The reason is obvious: You don’t want to bring Michael Jordan in to play because the next team would feel bad in comparison. I presume that bringing me in as a speaker would set the bar unreasonably high for the 2015 or 2016 graduation speakers, which would not be fair.
This column is fair. (Literally. My editor said “your column is fair. Tony Wade’s? Excellent!”) It’s an opportunity for my annual graduation tips, dispensing nuggets of wisdom as the grads head into the real world.
If you’re graduating, remember:
- The world is changing. What was thought of as impossible when your parents were your age – mobile phones, electric cars, email, the Golden State Warriors being relevant – is now reality. You live in a world where Wikipedia is a standard way to look up “facts” and social media is where you tell people about your relationships. Embrace the new. Learn, adapt and do everything you can do to avoid being the person who isn’t the grouch complaining that new technology is stupid.
- On the other hand, don’t be the jerk who races ahead and tells everyone how great every new thing is. Retain your cynicism and keep a balance. I wish I knew this when I told everyone how LaserDiscs were going to change the way we watch movies and dismissed the iPod as “a Walkman that’s easy to lose.”
- Look up “LaserDisc” on Wikipedia.
- Do something slightly interesting in the next few years, so you can bore your children with stories about it.
- Think about yourself 10 years from now and do things that he or she will thank you for doing. If you’re a high school graduate, do some things that the 28-year-old version of you will appreciate.
- A cooking tip that I didn’t know for a long time: Scallions are the same thing as green onions – despite the fact that “scallion” sounds like fish.
- Quit being such a critic about music. Your favorite music will be mocked by kids who are in diapers now.
- Become friends with a senior citizen. You’ll benefit greatly – and so will they.
- Quit driving so crazy. You’re not Mario Andretti!
- Look up Mario Andretti on Wikipedia.
- Realize that everything – everything – worth doing will sometimes be boring and frustrating. School, jobs, marriage, parenthood . . . everything . . . is hard at times. Persistence is what is important.
- On the other hand, realize when to walk away from something that’s not worth it. If you figure out exactly when to do that, tell the rest of us.
- Subscribe to the Daily Republic. (Paid for by the McNaughton family).
- Practice the ultimate secret to building wealth: Spend less than you make, for a long time.
- Realize that the aforementioned “secret” is about spending less, not making more money.
- Recognize that while your parents – or the most important adults in your life – want you to succeed, they’re even more terrified that you’ll make a life-ruining mistake in the next few years. So don’t do that.
- Realize beer pong isn’t really a sport.
- If you really want, I’ll consider getting you the same thing I got for high school graduation: An electric typewriter. With correction tape!
- Look “correction tape” up on Wikipedia.
- Remember that tip about scallions. It will help.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.
Brad Stanhope is the Daily Republic's news editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 17 years as a sports editor and three years as the associate editor before spending three years away from the newspaper (though continuing as a columnist). He returned in December 2010 as news editor. Brad lives in Suisun City with his wife, Mrs. Brad, and two sons. He enjoys cheese.