Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

I have a rather extensive music collection. I haven't even heard all the music on my hard drive, and each day I add more. Last night, I was working on a house mix until very late at night. In the morning, I wanted to burn an archive CD so I could review my mix on the way to work. My car stereo plays mp3 CDs, so I can always fit about 5-10 albums on a regular CD. Sometimes, I will add something from the hard drive that either I haven't heard before or haven't heard in a while. And thus, I filled space on my disc this morning with Baz Luhrmann - Something For Everyone. As I was reviewing last night's mix (the whole reason I burned the disc) I decided that it needs so much work, it's not worth listening to. I instead perused the rest of the disc to see what else was on it. And in that way, I stumbled across:

Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free [To Wear Sunscreen]

I was blown away by it. The words were so relevant to me. When I got into the office I did a little more research into the song. Wikipedia has a rather long entry about the song. Here's what I've learned:

The song started its life as an essay called "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young" written by Mary Schmich and published in the Chicago Tribune as a column in 1997. In her introduction to the column, she described it as the commencement address she would give if she were asked to give one. The column soon became the subject of an urban legend, in which it was alleged to be an MIT commencement speech given by author Kurt Vonnegut in that same year (in truth, MIT's commencement speaker that year was Kofi Annan). Luhrmann read the speech and then had some real difficulty contacting Vonnegut's agent. After doing some web research, he learned that it was really by Schmish who was a fan of his movies, Romeo + Juliet and Strictly Ballroom. By the next day, the hired an actor in Sydney to read it, and the rest is history. There are a whole bunch of parodies of the song, but I think the original is great. Here's just a bit of it:

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.

The rest is just as groovy. Click here for the original essay.

I would like to dedicate this post to all my Central Hebrew High students who just graduated. Mazal tov and stay in touch!

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