Friday, May 30, 2014

Dear Margaret

Dear Margaret,

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that I will be unable to attend your graduation party in June. My oldest daughter has a c-section delivery scheduled for that weekend, and we will be watching her children during this event.   So in lieu of my presence I am enclosing a check.  Hopefully it will relieve you of the great sorrow you must be feeling right now.

I know that many think of this as a festive time in your young life. But I with the wisdom of years I must give warning of your impending adulthood.  If you knew what I knew, then instead of skipping down the graduation aisle, your class would shuffle solemnly to the stage, with heads bowed in dread.  And the music played would be a funeral dirge.  

Nay go back, back into the class room I say, delay adulthood as long as possible. Have the counselor recount your credits.  Perchance they miscounted and you would need to go back to school.  This actually happened at South a few years ago where the valedictorian did not have enough credits to graduate.   Or maybe tell the school that I really can’t remember the courses I took my freshman year, and that you would like to retake them to refresh your memory so that you don’t feel cheated. 

For once you leave you will have dreams of finding the cure for cancer, solving world peace, and other lofty goals.  And 10 years after you graduate it will be an accomplishment to make this month’s mortgage payment, drop off the child at daycare with matching shoes, and survive another day at some soulless corporate behemoth  without getting fired.   Yes the world will dash your dreams against the rocky shores of life. 

Many of your generation live their early adult years in their parents basement. Something to consider – all you would need is money for pizza and beer.  And no responsibility.  Get an xbox and the internet and you are set.  Yes if I had it all to do again this would be the route to go.  The only way that I would have left home is at the barrel of a gun and a quick lock change so that I could never go back.  

Your father has a basement  - so put it to good use, and use the check to open a credit line with Sarah’s pizza.  And the beer can be gotten by any enterprising American teenager.   And I think that it is a shame that an 18 year old can go fight in some god forsaken country, but they can’t go home and enjoy a cold one after a year of fighting for your life. But on the other hand I like the law for this aspect of it- because everyone breaks it as part of becoming an adult.  It’s a rite of passage.  And isn’t that part of being an American – rebelling against authority, or at least questioning it?  So don’t be afraid to rebel and question.

I am given to understand that you are class valedictorian and a member of the honor society.  Very surprising to me as I recall your father and myself in school.  We scarcely cracked open a book, they remained safely in our lockers until they were returned at the end of school year, no wear on them at all. And if curiosity had gotten the better of us and we had opened one of the books – well we would have consumed the same knowledge as a pair of monkey’s.   But then I think that the both of us are relieved that none of our characteristics were passed on to our offspring. 

Now maybe graduation isn’t going to be that bad of thing. Your generation can’t hardly louse things up any worse than what is being done now. And maybe we do need you to enter the work force.  You need to work hard to take care of our social security and medicare.  Focus on getting a good job and a nice house – with a big basement.   Your folks may need to move in with you instead. 

As Shakespeare once stated, Advice is wasted on the young.  So I am sure that you will not heed me at all but:
All things in Moderation.  An old saying but true.  Love, alcohol, etc.

Neither a lender nor a borrower be – Look at the crazy student debt that people are piling up.  After you graduate college and get your first job everyone wants to reward themselves with a new car.  Get a nice used one instead.

A job is an ends to a means – Not every job is the perfect job.  But getting a nice pay check and living for the weekends ain’t bad.

And the check – remember that studying takes a lot of energy.  And carbohydrates will provide you that energy, so yes even down this path – pizza and beer is the answer!

Irresponsibly and irrelevantly,

 J. Chris Tilton