The late, great columnist Mike Royko was once asked for sure-fire career advice from a group of aspiring journalists

The late, great columnist Mike Royko was once asked for sure-fire career advice from a group of aspiring journalists. Here’s what he said:

 

“Bathe regularly.”

 

That’s the kind of gritty advice – the popular word these days is “granular” - that you just don’t get in your typical, soaring, high-minded “footsteps in the sands of time” graduation speech. Young people about to stumble out into life are told to “shoot for the stars,” when what they really need is to be told not to hold up traffic in the Walmart parking lot, waiting for the perfect parking space. (I’ve had that space. It wasn’t that great.)

 

With that in mind, it’s time once again for Dave’s Swell Advice to the Graduates, revised and updated tips from a certifiably old guy who has made his share of mistakes and might keep your leg out of a crack.

 

- If you’re headed off to college, Grasshopper (a reference to an old TV show you know nothing about), you’re going to see some nutty behavior, much of it from the adults running the joint.I never thought I’d see the day when free speech was opposed on campuses, and could touch off riots, but here we are. Political correctness rules. The vast majority of professors and administrators are lefties, and some are pretty radical about it. (The term “re-education camps” might apply here.)

 

There have always been nutty professors. When I went to college in 1969, one freshman English teacher would give you an A if you could tell him a joke he hadn’t heard, or do 50 push ups. Meanwhile, my English teacher made us work for our grades. 

 

It’s worse today, and ultra political, with little tolerance for conservative views. I’m glad my kids are beyond college age. Trade schools look better all the time. Give some thought to being a plumber.

 

- Never trust politicians, from either party. The Democrats are nutty spendthrifts bent on re-election, and the Republicans are nutty spendthrifts bent on re-election, too. They just want to spend money we don’t have on different things. At least the Democrats are honest about their profligacy. The Republicans lie to you about cutting spending, then spend just like the Democrats.

 

(There’s a lot of talk these days about “contempt of Congress.” Don’t we all hold Congress largely in contempt?)

 

How you young people are going to pay for the debt my generation is running up is a total mystery to me. Sorry.

 

- Falling in love is a wonderful thing, but don’t expect that pounding pulse and breathlessness to last 50 years. If you require breathless love long-term, your life is going to see more turmoil than necessary. Look for the potential spouse who can be trusted with a checkbook, and who will be there with your wallet and keys when the anesthesia wears off.

 

- Don’t have kids with a person you can’t trust with a checkbook.

 

- It’s easier to take the garbage out than to argue about taking the garbage out. Trust me on this.

 

- The older you get, the less impressive a lifetime warranty is.

 

- When you settle down, get a Labrador Retriever.

 

- Save money from every paycheck, invest it over the years, and don’t touch it. Compounding interest works, and you’ll need that money someday. In the meantime, it will be an insurance policy against bad jobs and bosses you don’t like. It’s not greedy to amass wealth for your family and your retirement. It’s common sense.

 

- If you don’t like your job, find one you do like. Life is shorter than you think.

 

- Everybody gets to be a little crazy about something. Ronald Reagan said, “There’s nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.” For me, it’s sitting by the fire at a little cabin in the mountains. For The Wife, it’s an Elton John concert. Nobody can take these things away from us.

 

- All things in moderation, including moderation.- Don’t sweat the small stuff. (It’s almost all small stuff.)

 

- Forget that socialism crap. You want to be like Venezuela? Not me.

 

And always, always remember this:

 

Bathe regularly.