RE: Vonnegut's comments to the class of 1997.

Gardner,Michelle (Michelle.Gardner@kp.ORG)
Fri, 8 Aug 1997 12:21:37 -0700

Actually, this was not Vonnegut. According to the LA Times earlier this
week, this was actually written by some newspaper woman in Chicago and
was not the speech given at the MIT I read anyway!

Michelle G.

>-----Original Message-----
>From: (I Find Karma) []
>Sent: Thursday, August 07, 1997 1:51 PM
>Cc: Gardner,Michelle;;
>Subject: Vonnegut's comments to the class of 1997.
>This is what Kurt Vonnegut had to say to the graduating class at MIT.
>Rohit: you've been very good in following this advice even though you
>didn't know Vonnegut had given them.
>Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:
>Wear sunscreen.
>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
>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
>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
>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
>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.
> ----
>I don't know what they what from me.
>It's like, the mo money we come across, the mo problems we see.
> -- Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Mase (with Diana Ross....)