I went back to high school today. Not my own high school, but a very similar one. It felt the same. The smell of gym socks and mysterious cafeteria “food” has not changed much in thirty years.
It’s career week at Rocklin High, and they invited me to speak about being an author. I wanted to speak about being a bullfighter, but they said it was better to stick to things I’d had direct experience with, so whatever. Author it is.
I really had a fun time sharing my knowledge and insights with the students about authoring, but I also felt like I left a lot on the table, advice-wise. I mean, I gave them plenty of advice about being an author, such as, “If you want to be able to afford food and clothing, be a dentist instead,” and “Never name your evil villainess after your mother-in-law if you can help it.”
But I really wished I could have gone a step further and given them general high school life advice. The format and time constraints of the day wouldn’t allow for it, but there was definitely more wisdom I wanted to impart, such as:
- Talk to the girl. She’s nervous and self-conscious just like you are, even if all you see is her being amazing and you having zits. If she wants nothing to do with you, smile and say, “OK, no sweat. I hope you have a great day.” Or cover her front yard in toilet paper at midnight. Either way you want to play it is cool.
- Pay attention, you idiot. The things they are teaching you do not suck and are not lame. This is all stuff you will need in life. Except algebra. Algebra does suck and is lame. No one uses algebra in their job.
- Here’s a good joke for your math teacher:
What does the little mermaid wear to math class?
- While you are here, learn to form grammatically correct sentences on paper and with your face. If you can’t do that, you will always work at the car wash.
- Drive while driving. And drive as little as possible while you’re in high school. You think you’re amazing at it, but you’re not. You suck at it. So much.
- Stand up straight, look people in the eye, have a firm handshake, and speak clearly. In other words, stop being you and start acting like a human. It’s time.
- Quit wearing beanie hats unless it is below 45 degrees. Never wear them indoors, unless you work in a walk-in freezer.
- Be extra nice to your joints – your knees in particular. Trust me.
- Go to any other country before you start college. Just go. You don’t need any money.
- Get your hair out of your eyes. For you boys, it makes you look like a lazy slob. For you girls, it makes you look like Cousin It. Not good, either way.
- Go to any other country after you finish college. Just go. You still don’t need any money.
- Sit up straight.
- Your parents know a lot of useful information, and they want you to have it because they love you. You don’t know anything useful at all. Listen to them and stop being a turd.
- And no, having “likes” on your selfies is not useful. Stop taking selfies and learn how to cook a steak properly.
- Pronounce words correctly.
- You will get out of college exactly what you put into it. So be sure to study. Also, be sure to learn how to do an upside-down keg stand properly. Both are vitally important to college.
- Seriously, stop wearing beanie hats.
- Get a job if you don’t have one yet. You are not too busy. Throw your cell phone away and you just freed up 80% of your day.
- Once you learn something, start your own business with zero dollars in your bank account. If you fail, big deal. You’ll still have zero dollars. If you succeed, you’ll have more than zero. It’s just simple math.
- Deodorant. Always.
- Don’t say, “To be honest with you...”
It gives the impression you aren’t being honest all the other times.
- And above all else, remember - Us adults are just as lost as you, but we have mortgages. Stay in high school. You have no idea how good you have it.
I’m going back tomorrow to talk to more students. Maybe I’ll find time to fit some of this good stuff in.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen
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