From a college graduation speech by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
there are some things that children should be learning in school,
but don't. Not all of them have to do with academics. As a modest
offering, here are some basic rules that may not have found their
way into the standard curriculum.
Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase,
"It's not fair" 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who
often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When
started hearing it from their own kids.
The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your
does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good
yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem
reality, kids complain it's not fair.
Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you
be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to
a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.
If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't
tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not
to ask you how you feel about it.
Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a
word of burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't
making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to
around talking about Kurt Cobain or Britney Speers all weekend.
It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This
the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of
eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on
dime. Don't whine about it, or you'll sound like a kid.
Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They
that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you
them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain
from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try
the closet in your bedroom.
Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In
schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right
Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians
lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results.
of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real
Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Not
Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours.
you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While
at it, very few jobs are interesting in fostering your self-expression
helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization.
Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems
not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real
people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your
will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.
Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.
Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next
you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth.
what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself"
purple hair and/or pierced body parts.
You are not immortal. If you are under the impression that living fast,
young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously
seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.
Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother,
life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it as to be
kid. Maybe you should start now.w