Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wear Sunscreen.

I got the new Ziad Rahbani CD, and in it was this piece:
"Wear Sunscreen" is a speech written by Mary Schmich. The music that accompanies the text is composed by Baz Luhrmann. (I wish I knew how to link the mp3 I have on my HD... it is really worth listening to.)

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 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 bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm 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 of 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 your 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're 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 with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you 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.


At 4:09 AM, Blogger Red said...

I thought this was a speech that Kurt Vonnegut gave at MIT. But that's not important. The important thing is that this is such a cool piece of writing. So much wisdom in it.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger _z. said...

Hello Red_

Indeed beautiful words and so much wisdom. I will do my best to try and live by those words.
I fell in love with the text as soon as I heard it. I was in the car, listening to my new CD. As soon as I got home, I looked it up, and here is the referencing I got off the internet.

'Wear Sunscreen' was written by Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Originally printed in a newspaper column, this now famous poem was e-mailed around the world, identified as an M.I.T. commencement speech by author Kurt Vonnegut. The false attribution was never explained, but the poem became an Internet favorite; it was later set to music and released on an album by Australian director Baz Luhrmann.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Red said...

Well, there you go, I stand corrected and you learn something new every day. I might have known such wise words were coming from the pen of a woman, not a man! ;-D

At 1:21 PM, Blogger _z. said...

hahaha, good point!

At 1:38 PM, Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Red told me only recently that this was Vonnegut, but she hasn't come clean with this new news yet... Wonder how long she'll leave it. Interestingly, the UK and US versions have slightly differing musical arrangements, at least as far as I'm able to make out.

Hope all is well with you and yours, Z. Best wishes.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger _z. said...

thanks *(asterisk), my family is well.
I didn't know there were two arrangements for the speech, and I don't know which I have. I'll try and look it up. thank you for the info.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger laila said...

i've read this somewhere before, wasnt it a song or something?

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Pie said...

It was on an advert in the UK, never much liked adverts but I absolutely adore this speech.

Tried to get one of my kids to use it in their project on influential speeches for school but of course they are young and don't understand the power of youth. Pretty much all of them stuck to Martin Luther King (not that that's a bad thing).

This is basically my philosophy on life, though sometimes I forget and need to remind myself. Perhaps I'll print it up to keep it fresh.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger _z. said...

I have a dream...
(welcome pie)

At 7:44 PM, Blogger Mirvat said...

yeah, i used to love listening to it. it gave me hope in life in general.
thanks, a little boost i guess..

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Mar said...

It came out the summer of 99, the song that is. It played repeatedly for the 99 grads.

Great post Z. thank you.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger _z. said...

It is weird because in the "song" he starts off by saying: class of 99.
But when I found the actual text on the internet, the speech starts off with: class of 97..

There is a lot of confusion around this speech I guess, but it is a great morale for and of life.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Pie said...

The speech was originally '97 but was changed to '99 for the song. There is an article on wikipedia about the Wear Sunscreen speech which includes a link to the original article it was written in.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger _z. said...

there you go! thanks for clearing that up pie.

At 5:44 PM, Blogger MMMMMMMMM said...

Riz alla, haydeh abel iyyem poshlemon ma heik??

At 8:42 PM, Blogger _z. said...

she wasn't even born yet :P


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