Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wholesome Advice

A while ago, a few friends and I were talking about speeches and which ones are considered timeless, which ones made history or which ones move us to this day. One of my friends mentioned Baz Luhrmann's 1999 hit single "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)" which was originally written as a column titled "Advice, like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young" in the Chicago Tribune by Mary Schmich in 1997. Now, I remembered the song, a mellowed out remix of Rozalla's "Everybody's Free," and the random advice that was given throughout the track by the Australian voice actor Lee Perry. But it was 1999. I was what, thirteen when it first came out? Anyhow, I decided to look it up and instead of hearing it out again, I wanted to really listen to it. And so I did. I think all of us should give it a listen and also, read along with the lyrics below so that it sinks in good.

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 everyday 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.

Remember the compliments you receive.

Forget the insults.

If you succeed in doing this,

tell me how.

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 olds 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 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.

In closing, below are more songs by Jimi Hendrix which I think is the musical theme for this first week of Ramadan. Enjoy!

Jimi Hendrix - Gypsy Eyes (zSHARE)
Jimi Hendrix - Hear my Train A'Comin (zSHARE)
Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe (zSHARE)
Jimi Hendrix - Highway Chile (zSHARE)
Jimi Hendrix - I Don't Live Today (zSHARE)
Jimi Hendrix - Killing Floor (zSHARE)

at 8:30 AM


  1. Blogger Zeecu posted at 10:33 AM  
    I love that speech. The track is probably amongst the very few mp3s surviving 5 computers up to the current one.

    On another note, you should watch 'Waltz with Bashir' if you haven't already. I promise it's less depressing than 51 grams :p (trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKwJgOrN1f4&fmt=18 )
  2. Blogger Dalal Arch posted at 8:40 PM  
    I like the post and I like that you're blogging more often :)
  3. Blogger Spicy Pepper posted at 9:07 PM  
    Oh my u really brought back memories with that track! reminds me of college in the states.i keep remembering it from time to time. thanks for the memories erzulie!
  4. Blogger Erzulie posted at 12:31 AM  
    zeecu: wow. i just saw the youtube clip you posted, saw another one that featured the director AND read up on it on wikipedia. sounds and looks like a good movie. i was first thrown off by the animation bit because i'm not a big fan of that genre, but it really looks well done. thanks for sharing :)

    dalal: thank you :) and i like it as well :P

    spicy: hi! sure thing :)
  5. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 5:33 PM  
    Fee here!
    Just found out i have this song on my itunes! I love it when that happens! :)
  6. Blogger Erzulie posted at 12:46 AM  
    fee: haha :P i really like the lyrics...i don't know if you can even call them lyrics...more like words strung together...know that sounds odd but it sounds right for this track for some reason :P

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