Dear Graduates

My niece Elizabeth graduates high school in a couple of weeks, which got me thinking... What would I tell a high school graduate?

The sunscreen IS important - that's a good one - but don't go loco with it. A little sun isn't going to kill you, but the cocoa butter and the spray bottle might.

But really... what have I learned in almost 25 years since I graduated high school?
  • Always lean over the sink when you brush your teeth.
  • Similarly, if you drink coffee, avoid wearing white shirts.
  • Always blow your nose when you get out of the shower. Always.
  • Girls, always keep a tampon in your purse, bag, backpack, car - everywhere. Also, always have quarters on you.
  • Hide a $20 or $50 bill somewhere in your wallet where you can't see it. You never know when you might need emergency cash.
  • Make a few sets of spare keys to your apartment and leave them with friends. If you end up out on the town too drunk to remember where you lost your keys, you'll have someone to call to let you into your place.
  • If a weird guy (or girl) thinks he's coming home with you after a party and gets into your cab even though you've told him no dice, jump out of the cab a few blocks from home and run like the wind. He'll never find you.
  • If you must cut your own hair, use photo references - lots and lots. Try to refrain from busting out the clippers. That won't turn out well.
  • If you must vandalize your place of employment, admit it immediately if management busts you - it'll go a long way to helping you keep your job (ifin you want to keep your job).
  • Don't smoke pot with your boss. Things get weird.
  • If you end up passed out at a friend's house (or dorm room) and puke in the bathroom sink, have the courtesy to bail it out before you sneak off. It's OK to bail it out the window if that's your best option.
  • Dry wheat toast and V8 is an excellent hangover cure.
  • Take road trips. Often. By yourself and with friends.
  • Live alone as soon as you're ready. For girls, never live on the ground floor, always go up.
  • Go to parties by yourself and if you're nervous, assume the identity of a Martian on a fact-finding mission.
  • If you don't have a power drill, use a small nail to pound a pilot hole, take it out, then soap the screw (dry bar soap) and it'll go right in.
  • Before you move, spackle all the holes you pounded into the wall.
  • If you have an annoying neighbor living on state disability for a bad back, sneak some photos of him using a pole saw to prune the large tree in his front yard.
  • If you manage to get yourself arrested, do not sass and do not call anyone in uniform a Rookie.
  • If you have no idea what you want to be when you grow up, welcome to the world - most people never figure it out, but they usually find something fun along the way.
Good luck, Graduates!