Reading Anonyboy and A Ridiculous Raw Youth today brought back the good words first attributed to Kurt Vonnegut Jr. purported to have been made during a commencement speech at MIT in 1997. (Interestingly, Vonnegut didn't deliver the commencement speech at MIT in 1997 and -- although he has said he wished he had -- didn't even write the good words attributed to him.) But, they were good words anyway, which read, in part:
"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 4:00 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you."
I noted in one of A Ridiculous Raw Youth post that there was an expectation that he, apparently at twenty-two, wouldn't get laid until he was thirty. And, Anonyboy has reported that he hasn't been laid in year. Oh my...
Not that getting laid is as important as, oh, friendship or fresh air or trees or good words or dogs; no, it's just that I worry that the frustration of youth (in not getting laid) -- albeit, probably normal -- doesn't really have to encompass that much angst; that much time.
I would -- if I had the opportunity to be twenty again -- follow Stephen Spender's good words and:
Oh young men oh young comrades
it is too late now to stay in those houses
your fathers built where they built you to breed
money on money it is too late
to make or even to count what was made
Count rather those fabulous possessions
which begin with your body and your burning soul
the hairs on your skin the muscles extending
in ranges with lakes across your limbs
Count your eyes as jewels and your golden sex
then count the sun and the innumerable lights
sparkling on waves and spangled on the soil
It is too late now to stay in those houses where
the ghosts are
ladies like flies imprisoned in amber
financiers like fossils of fish in coal.
Oh comrades, step forth from the solid stone
advance to rebuild and sleep with friend on hill
advance to rebel and remember what you have
ghosts never had entombed in his hall.