Mark Washburn

Way to go graduates, here are keys to world

N.C. State’s graduating class this month, awash in red with a line of white and blue uniformed ROTC seniors.
N.C. State’s graduating class this month, awash in red with a line of white and blue uniformed ROTC seniors. hlynch@newsobserver.com

It is my pleasure to address the graduating class of 2016. No need to remove your ear buds. I get paid either way.

I must commend you all on your unanimous commitment to wandering around in your bubbles of bliss, listening to enchanting music while gaping hypnotically at your phones.

We were cursed with growing up in a cold, stark world of breeze-rustled trees, the annoying giggles of children playing with puppies, splashy sunsets, lilting birdsong and unceasing interaction with random primates. And you can see how we turned out.

Still, there may be friction in the world you inherit, and I shall offer you a few scraps of advice, which I expect you to instantly lampoon on Snapchat.

No matter how much you scrub the apartment, the landlord will keep your security deposit.

There is a vicious, unceasing storm of disappointment awaiting those who cling to the belief that life is fair.

Ditto business.

You really do get what you pay for.

No fashion accessory you can buy will make you look better than a genuine smile.

Learn a whimsical skill you can occasionally use to astound your friends, like ballroom dancing, card tricks or parallel parking.

You are on a collision course with a bad boss. Sooner or later, you’ll get there. When it happens, you can wait it out, or fire him and find a better one. Waste no time: Do the latter.

Someday you will get fired because that’s just the way it works. You get exactly 48 hours for a pity party, then knock it off and find the next thing.

If you really hate your job, do yourself – and your co-workers – a big favor and find another one.

To figure out how much you’re really worth to your company, get a job offer from another one.

People can effectively judge you based on the appearance of three things: your desk, your car and your refrigerator. Clean out all three periodically.

No matter what you eat or drink, your weight will probably remain the same. That magic spell abruptly expires in about five years, and you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering what happened.

If it has moving parts, pay for the warranty.

Prepare to be amazed when your mom, the dumbest person in your life, instantly becomes the wisest once you have kids of your own.

Beer: $4. Cab: $40. DUI: $4,000.

Pick your friends like they’re ingredients for dinner. Consider negative people poison.

Tattoos are forever.

If you find yourself having the absolute best time of your life, it’s probably a signal you need to go home and go to bed.

Poke around a little bit and find a charity you like. Support it by volunteering or giving little donations when you can. Strangely, you’ll find it gives you more than you give it.

If you can keep a plant alive in an apartment, you can do anything.

You cannot imagine how excited your parents are today. They think you’ll be moving out now.

There is one decision you’ll make that will affect every day of your life: Choosing a spouse. Pick carefully.

You are the smartest, most promising generation ever created. All our hopes are riding on you. Please fix this messy world we’ve left you.

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