Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Graduates: Take Old Advice as You Party

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Graduates: Take Old Advice as You Party

Article excerpt

One of the most satisfying things in life is to give other people advice, even if they don't need it and even if they are not your spouse -- especially not that, because giving advice to a spouse is futile. You can ask my wife if you don't believe this.

In my line of work, we advise politicians and the government what to do all the time, which also tends to be a waste of time. But we do it because it is fun and helps fill up the newspaper.

But it's more fun to give advice to young people. For one thing they are young, which is most irritating of them. It makes them prime candidates for being told what to do by anyone over age 40.

Young people who are leaving high school or college have been given advice lately by graduation speakers in various stages of antiquity. The students have already forgotten this seasonal advice. If the speaker was a traditionalist, the advice had to do with two roads diverging in a yellow wood and one less traveled by.

What does this mean? Nobody knows or cares. That's because the best road to take is always the one less-orange-construction-coned by. We learn this in Pennsylvania at an early age. The color of the wood is irrelevant, and don't let anybody called Robert Frost tell you different.

That is why graduation speakers often are forgotten in the time it takes for the students to leave the hall and shout the magic word "Party!" You see, traditional advice does not venture into those areas young people are concerned about, such as, "Is beer pong an actual Olympic sport?" (Answer: No, but beach volleyball is in the Olympics, so anything is possible.)

Into this void comes the untraditional advice giver (that would be me). Listen up, young people. Now you will hear what your graduation speaker never told you.

Some of you may ask about my credentials for giving this advice. I will overlook your impertinence just this once to answer.

Credentials? Besides being over 40 and then some, I am a member of a generation that has bequeathed to you a world full of woe -- widespread wars, a ruined climate, widespread denial of a ruined climate, a poisoned environment, a politics suitable for oafs, mountainous debt, a shortage of jobs, encroachment on freedom in the name of security, and talk radio with the greatest collection of gas bags since the era of the zeppelin. …

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