Saturday, 25 August 2012

Advice to the Millennium Generation

 by Ashley Lister 

 In 1927 the American writer Max Ehrmann wrote Desiderata – a tone poem that offered words of wisdom intended to lead to happiness. A similar piece, written as a column for the Chicago Tribune, was produced in 1998 by a journalist called Mary Schmich. A version of Schmich’s column, which was originally entitled, Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young, was recorded by Baz Lurmann under the title Feel Free to Wear Sun Screen.

And, whilst those works have influenced the style of this piece, I should also add that it’s been more heavily influenced by advice from teaching colleagues.

Advice to the Millennium Generation

1 – Boys. Pull your trousers up. I don’t want to look at your underpants. Or your backsides. It’s a symptom of a sad society when young men have forgotten how to properly operate a pair of trousers.

2 – Girls. Stop being orange. Only oompah loompas, the tango man and David Dickinson are supposed to be orange. If God had wanted you to be that colour you would have been born in Chernobyl.

3 – All students. Bring a pen to the classroom. This is not rocket surgery. You’re in a classroom. There is paper and there might be learning. There’s a strong chance you might need to write something down and – unlike you – a pen might prove useful.

4 – Boys. Don’t mumble. If you’re asking a question I need to hear it before I can answer. That’s the way these vocal exchanges work away from the role playing games on your XBox.

5 – Girls. Don’t mumble. If you’re answering a question the chances are you’re wrong. But at least let me hear what you’re saying so I can laugh about it later and share your inanities with colleagues in the staffroom.

6 – All students. Bathe. Wash. Shower. And don’t just do this once a term. Do it regularly. And do something more than spraying two cans of Lynx Africa at the most pungent parts of your anatomy.

7 – All Students. For the love of God: please don’t breed. Ever since the Baby Boomers, each subsequent generation has been part of humanity’s downward spiral. If the urge to breed does come upon you, either sniff your partner, look at its orange colour, listen to it mumbling, or notice that it’s walking with its pants round its ankles. Surely these observations will be enough to deter you all from breeding.

8 – All Students. Follow the example of your elders and always show respect and tolerance.



Lindsay said...

Haaa! This is brilliant. I quite like the Desiderata, I hate the religious overtones but the sentiment is true, and has become more so to me as I have aged. Great Post, made me giggle on this miserable rainy morning.

Ashley R Lister said...

Glad I'm making you giggle.

You wouldn't believe how serious I am about some of these points when I'm teaching 16 - 18 year olds :-)


Louise Barklam said...

Abso-bloody-lutely! Couldn't have said it any better Mr Lister. Also agree with Lindsay. ;-) Great post!

Ashley R Lister said...


Thank you :-)

I'm delighted this one worked for you.


Adrian said...

Thanks ARL, I enjoyed that. I can imagine your words being spoken by Baz. "Still creative after all these years" to quote the not yet late Paul Simon - you, most of all, and possibly Baz and Paul, but them less so, as the years take their inevitable toll.

Ashley R Lister said...


Thanks for the kind words. I hope you and your writing are both progressing well.