So, young graduates, here is my commencement speech to you:
1. When you are in social situations be sure to steer the conversation towards others: ask them about themselves before you jump in and start talking about yourself. And whatever you do, don't be a conversation hog who talks and talks and talks, making it impossible for anyone else to get a word in edgewise and boring them to death.
2. Remember that good conversation is a two-way street.
3. Remember that the rules for turning at a two-way stop sign differ from the rules for turning at a four-way stop: when two cars are facing each other from opposite directions at a two-way stop, a car going straight or making a right turn always has the right-of-way over a car making a left turn even if the car making the left turn was at the intersection first.
4. Be sure and finish up your prescription of antibiotics. Don't just take your meds for a couple of days then stop when you're feeling better. What this practice does is kills off the weaker microbes but allows the stronger ones to live and develop a resistance to the antibiotic. This stronger, antibiotic-resistant microbe is the one you're now spreading around and the people you're spreading it to are likewise spreading it around so now a new, stronger antibiotic must be used to kill this stronger microbe. This misuse of antibiotics has been going on for so many years that it's caused the proliferation of stronger and stronger microbes until we now have super-bugs like MRSA that are on the verge of acquiring resistance to every antibiotic in the human arsenal. So don't turn the microbes into invincible monsters! Finish your prescription!
5. You can't tell if a cantaloupe is ripe by its feel or color; the only way to tell if a cantaloupe is ripe is by sniffing the end opposite the stem end. If this end smells like cantaloupe then the melon is ripe. I learned this at a cantaloupe farm in New Jersey.
6. If none of the cantaloupes in the supermarket produce section are ripe but you're hankering for cantaloupe anyway, buy the melon then cut it up in a bowl and toss in a can of pineapple tidbits in juice. The pineapple will sweeten the melon right up.
7. If you become good enough at what you do it generally won't matter how you dress.
8. If someone introduces you to their big, scary, aggressive dog by saying, "Poochikins is just a big old sweetie, he would never bite anyone," be prepared to be bitten.
9. No matter how miserable you're feeling or how scared or upset you are, never be rude, surly, or demanding to the doctor, nurse, or therapist who is taking care of you or your family member. Despite our high expectations, medical people don't have all the answers and are just trying their best to save people's lives, which is more than most service providers are trying to do. So be patient, polite, and respectful to health care providers. Besides, you never want to give a hard time to the person who has your or your loved one's well-being in their hands and who's in charge of distributing the pain-killers.
10. Don't beat yourself up too much if you try something that ends up falling flat and you come away feeling like a big honking idiot. Instead remind yourself that this was something you wanted to do, you did it, and this is just how it turned out. Besides, people who've never failed at anything haven't tried very many things. People who try a lot of things fail now and again.
11. Although it's been preached to you since you were knee-high to an i-pad, I'm going to say it again: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA!
12. And most important: Always remember that no matter how great and indispensable you may become at what you do, no matter what a respected expert you may become in your field, no matter how rich, famous, or important you become, still be nice to people.