Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements

משפט זה כלול במאמר שפירסמה מרי שמיש בשנת 1997 בעיתון "שיקגו טריביון",
תחת הכותרת הבלתי נשכחת:
עצות, כמו נעורים, קרוב לוודאי מבוזבזות על הצעירים.
הטקסט נפוץ באינטרנט ויוחס לסופר קורט ונגוט שכביכול נשא את הנאום הזה
בטקס הענקת תארים של המכון לטכנולוגיה של מסצ'סטס, MIT. (למעשה, את הנאום המרכזי
באותה שנה, נשא קופי ענאן).
בשלב הבא במסעו, נפל הטקסט לידיו של במאי הקולנוע באז לוהרמן
("רומיאו ויוליה" עם ליאונרדו דיקפריו וקליר דנס; "מולין רוז'" עם ניקול
קידמן, ו"אוסטרליה", עם ניקול קידמן ויו ג'קמן).
לוהרמן החליט לשיר את הטקסט, ואפילו שיחרר סינגל לרדיו, תחת הכותרת
"כל אחד חופשי להרכיב משקפי שמש".
בשורה התחתונה, טקסטים טובים חיים לנצח. הנה המאמר של מרי שמיש במלואו:
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 have 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’re 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 bubblegum. 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 Tuesday.

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 yourself.
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 old 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 what other people think of it, it’s the
greatest instrument you’ll ever own…


Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own 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 are the best link to your past and the people most likely
to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the 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 you knew 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 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 85.

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.