Advice to graduates

Some advice I thought I’d pass along (a post from a while back with some new additions).

1. If someone says to you that your high school or college years will be the best of your life, run away from these people as fast as you can. That’s just depressing.

2. Save money. This may seem like a no-brainer, but trust me: having money is a lot better than being broke.

3. Good credit is more important than love. You’ll find love eventually, but if you mess up your credit you’re screwed.

4. If you fail at something, don’t freak out about it. You really do learn as much from your failures as your successes.

5. “I’m really not sure what to do next” is not a reason to go to graduate school.

6. Don’t be one of those people who constantly talks about their grades, athletic success, or anything else that happened in school. People stop caring about this stuff one hour after you receive your diploma/degree.

7. If you find yourself in jail, act crazy. The others will stay away from you.

8. Your parents are smarter than you think. I know this doesn’t seem true now but it is.

9. Working is usually better than not working. See #2.

10. To high school graduates: when you get to college, you will meet a lot of assholes.

11. To college graduates: Same when you get a job.

12. Read books, of all kinds. Read, read, read, read, read.

13. Move out of your hometown. And if you need/want to stay in your hometown, live some place else first and then come back to it.

14. Sunny weather is fine, but learn how to appreciate the rain and snow.

15. Don’t tweet. Nothing good ever happens on Twitter.

16. It’s amazing what a simple “thank you” or “I’m sorry” can do. For the person you say it to and yourself.

17. Kindness is a superpower.

18. Don’t envy anyone. It’s a waste of time.

19. Have an interest in things that happened before you were born. People, events, movies, TV, music, everything.

20. Put your phone down. Seriously, just put it down.

21. The best app? Pen and paper.

22. Take a second and breathe before you speak. Don’t be in a hurry just to get a word in.

23. You can’t control what other people do. But you can control how you react to it.

24. You can tell a lot about a person by how they act at the supermarket. Say hello to the cashier, put the divider after your groceries for the next person, and return your cart to the corral when you’re done.

25. Don’t be the type of person who would go on a reality show.

26. Naps are underrated.

27. New Year’s Eve is overrated.

28. Don’t put tomatoes in the fridge.

29. Underbake cookies a little bit.

30. You can never have too many batteries.

31. Shemp is just as funny as Curly. Don’t let anyone tell you he isn’t.

Noir City

I have a piece in the new issue of Noir City, the magazine published by Eddie Muller (Turner Classic Movies), edited by Vince Keenan, and designed by Michael Kronenberg. It’s about the Saturday Evening Post stories that later became classic film noir.

You can get a subscription to the digital version at the Film Noir Foundation site by making a $20 donation to help the organization’s mission of restoring and preserving films. (There is also a snazzy print edition that should be available at Amazon in a couple of weeks.)

Also in this issue: the careers of William Holden, J.T. Walsh, and Stanley Baker; horror films from noir directors; Carlito’s Way; Melissa Errico’s new noir album Out of the Dark; cocktail recipes; book and DVD reviews, and more. It’s really a great magazine.

Candy and Magazines

My mission, trivial as it may seem, was to find a Bit-O-Honey bar.

Does that make me sound old? Should I be eating more modern, “rad” candy bars? Have I just proven how old I am by using the word “rad” and thinking it’s a current, hip term? I couldn’t find any at the convenience store, so I casually asked the 17 or 18 year-old girl behind the counter if they sold them. She didn’t answer me, she just sort of looked down in the general direction of the candy shelf. Then she said, “Is that, like, a candy bar?”

Yes, it’s like a candy bar.

I explained to her what it was to the best of my ability (“it’s brown-ish, somewhat hard to chew, and with a bit of a honey taste”) but I think I just confused her more. I decided to use a little self-deprecating humor to lighten things up and said, “Have I just dated myself?” So now this girl thinks that not only do I like weird, fuddy-duddy candy, I also date myself. Which lately isn’t far from the truth, actually.

It reminded me of the time, 20 years ago, when I went to my local bookstore and asked the clerk if they had any issues left of that week’s Entertainment Weekly. She looked at me, slightly puzzled, leaned in and lowered her granny glasses to her nose and said, “S+M Weekly?”

She actually thought I said S+M Weekly.

This was frightening on many levels. 1.) That she would actually say this out loud so everyone else in line could hear. 2.) She knew who I was and waited on me all the time and now thought I would ask her if they sold a magazine with that title. 3.) That if there was a magazine with the title S+M Weekly it would have to come out every week because there’s so much bondage and fetish content it couldn’t be every other month or quarterly.

They didn’t have any issues of Entertainment Weekly so I went to another store. In fact, I never went back to that bookstore again.

COVID and Taxes

Now there’s a depressing headline.

Maybe it would sound better if I put in an exclamation point. COVID and taxes! Yeah, now it’s a party.

Just getting over the former. I feel fine, a little tired and a slight cough has suddenly appeared. But I’m at 99%. Maybe 98%? I’ve never been very good at math.

The latter I’m doing this weekend, and it isn’t easy for someone not very good at math. I always wait until the last minute. Hey, why do them early when you have to pay? (That’s a quote from Rudyard Kipling … or Morey Amsterdam, I can never remember.)

Since I’m busy I’ll keep this short. My Saturday Evening Post column this week features random thoughts, hurricane names, Gilbert Gottfried, Being the Ricardos, venomous blue dragon sea slugs, the Titanic, and SPAM recipes (for Easter, of course).