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've 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 are 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 bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
'The Hunger Games' isn't for everybody. But neither is 'Anna Karenina.'
Linda Tripp has shown that a true friend is an archivist, a biographer.
A line from one of my 1997 columns - 'Do one thing every day that scares you' - is now widely attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, though I have yet to see any evidence that she ever said it and I don't believe she did. She said some things about fear, but not that thing.
Every day each of us wakes up, reaches into drawers and closets, pulls out a costume for the day and proceeds to dress in a style that can only be called preposterous.
Chicago is constantly auditioning for the world, determined that one day, on the streets of Barcelona, in Berlin's cabarets, in the coffee shops of Istanbul, people will know and love us in our multidimensional glory, dream of us the way they dream of San Francisco and New York.
Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.
You can map your life through your favorite movies, and no two people's maps will be the same.
I couldn't have foreseen all the good things that have followed my mother's death. The renewed energy, the surprising sweetness of grief. The tenderness I feel for strangers on walkers. The deeper love I have for my siblings and friends. The desire to play the mandolin. The gift of a visitation.
Good art is art that allows you to enter it from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views.
Opening day. All you have to do is say the words and you feel the shutters thrown wide, the room air out, the light pour in. In baseball, no other day is so pure with possibility. No scores yet, no losses, no blame or disappointment. No hangover, at least until the game's over.
TV happens. And once it's happened, it's gone. When it's gone, you move on, no tears, no tantrums, no videotape.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you'll have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either of them might run out.
One thing you might want to learn before you attend the world's largest ukulele lesson is how to say ukulele.