If you were a teenager in the 1990’s, there is a chance you would have had a run-in with Baz Luhrmann.  Not because you necessarily wanted to but rather his movies possibly made up part of the “film study” portion of your English class.

His film style is… unique.  Weird and melodramatic they contain boatloads of fodder for a film study class aimed at 16 year-olds, especially when the movie starred the heartthrob of era – Leonardo DiCaprio (what better way to get a bunch 90’s teenagers interested Shakespeare than to cast Leo as Romeo!).  Then there was the Cyndi Lauper sound tracked “Strictly Ballroom” and of course “Moulin Rouge”, which Wikipedia describes as “a jukebox musical romantic comedy film” (whatever that means), although I remember the ending being downright depressing, so I’m not personally sure about the “comedy” bit.

Regardless of whether you love or hate Baz’s filming style, there is one thing of exceptional value that he gave high school students of the late 1990’s – a one-off spoken-word composition based on an essay written by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich.  The short chorus was borrowed from a song off the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack.

I heard it on the radio yesterday and it made me super nostalgic for a time when my life was substantially simpler.  A lot of the “advice” is still pertinent too.  Below are the lyrics if you’re interested, and you can click here to view the song on YouTube.

Have a happy Monday!

Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)

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; or 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 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 PM on some idle Tuesday

Do one thing every day 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

Dance, 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


Brother and sister

Together, we’ll make it through

Someday our spirits

Will take you and guide you there

I know you’ve been hurting

But I’ve been waiting to be there for you

And I’ll be there just helping you out

Whenever I can

Get to know your parents; you never know when they’ll be gone for good

Be nice to your siblings; they are your 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 fantasise 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


Brother and sister

Together, we’ll make it through

Someday our spirits

Will take you and guide you there

I know you’ve been hurting

But I’ve been waiting to be there for you

And I’ll be there just helping you out

Whenever I can

Everybody’s free

Everybody’s free

Oh, yeah

Don’t you fear

2 thoughts on “Sunscreen

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