Graduates: These Aren’t the Best Years of Your Lives

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comDear High School Graduate:

First off, I probably need to apologize. If you’re reading this, it means one of your parents is probably making you. Or, maybe you have a grandmother who likes to cut things out of the newspaper she thinks you need to read.

Beyond that, though, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, this is no “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” The good news is, you only have about 550 words left. You’ll be finished in 2 minutes.

This is my graduation gift to you (because I know you have enough of those pesky twenties already).

Here are some things you need to know at this important milestone in your journey.

People older than you are telling you these are the best years of your life. Don’t worry; that’s not true. What these people mean to say is to should enjoy some semi-carefree living before all the adult responsibilities pile on you over the next dozen years or so.

If you are going to college, don’t stress too much over your major. The vast majority of people my age who went to college aren’t doing what they thought they would be doing.

If you’re not going to college, learn a trade or a skill and work to be the best you can be at it. If you think that sounds cheesy, compare the people 3 to 4 years older than you who are following a skilled career path to those who are bouncing from job to job chasing a 25-cent an hour raise.

Regardless of the path you take, do something you enjoy. Don’t pursue a career to please someone else. And, the first day you wake up and dread going to work, make a 90-day plan to change what you’re doing.

Take your time falling in love. And, please wait to start a family until you’re in a committed relationship, and you and your partner have the means to take care of kids.

Whatever you do, stay out of those 24-hour money stores with the big neon signs. These places are open at 2 a.m., because that’s when people are most likely to make dumb decisions.

Oh, and since I brought it up, your parents are right: nothing good happens after midnight. If your biggest goal in life is turning 21, get your mind on something else. It’s overrated.

Learn the difference between a mistake and a bad decision. A mistake is forgetting to lock your car and having your laptop stolen. A bad decision is heading to the money store at 2 a.m., with someone whose biggest goal in life is to turn 21.

You’ll make mistakes. When you do, learn something from them.

You’ll also make bad decisions. Before you do, look around at the other people those decisions will hurt.

Check your oil. I blew up my car 2 hours from home on Christmas Eve when I was not much older than you because I didn’t.

Put down your phone every now and then. Don’t live your life on Facebook. The entire world should not be privy to your every thought and problem.

Cherish your family. They’re irreplaceable. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Pay your bills on time. If you ever can’t, talk with the people you owe before the bill becomes delinquent. You will be surprised how willing they are to help you.

Don’t get a tattoo you can’t cover up.

I tried to figure out a say this more eloquently, but I can’t. People who vape look like idiots.

Swing by the produce aisle every now and then.

Don’t be too cool to be spiritual.

Be nice.

And most importantly, have fun. These aren’t the best years of your life, but they are pretty enjoyable if you do it right.

WWCD: Making Your GF’s Mama Like You

What Would Chely Do? Read or Listen!
by Chely Sizemore

what would chely do, chely sizemore, beaverdamusa.comClick here to LISTEN to this edition of “What Would Chely Do?”

Bobby writes: Dear Chely: I’ve been seeing a girl for a couple of months now, and I don’t think her mother likes me. Can you give me some ideas of what I can do to make her come around?

Dear Bobby, I admire you for caring whether her mama likes you or not. That means you have a good head on your shoulders. Before I make some suggestions on what to do, let me talk about what not to do.

Don’t take her flowers or candy or anything like that. Parents can see right through that, and it makes you look like you’re trying to butter her up. Once when I was your age a boy who liked me always brought mama wildflowers and she never liked him. I’m not sure if it was him or the way the flowers aggravated her hay fever, but she sure was glad when he hit the road. And she sneezed a lot less, too. Also, don’t try too hard to be nice. That never works out well.

By User:Danbavo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Nope, not gonna… a-choo!… not gonna cut it.

Here’s what to do. Always go to the door to pick her up. Always look her mama in the eye. Always tell her where you’re going and what time you’ll be back. Say yes ma’am and no ma’am. Stay at her house sometimes instead of going out. And go to church with them every now and then. You do those things, and she won’t have any reason not to like you. Just don’t bring anything in the house she might be allergic to. (Follow Chely on Twitter.)

Do you have a question for me? Email


Best Friend Problems

Best Friend Problems: “Friendships are Forever”

What Would Chely Do?
by Chely Sizemore

Jazmine writes: Dear Chely, I told my girlfriend we would hang out Saturday night, but then this cute guy asked me to a party he’s throwing, and I told him I would go. I really want to go. What should I do?

Jazmine: You made a mistake, girl. Don’t cause yourself best friend problems. First of all, take responsibility for it. Lots of times these days, people are looking for an excuse instead of taking responsibility.

Well… Now that we have out of the way, I will say it sounds like you may be more worried about missing the party than hurting your girlfriend. There will be other parties. But we only have so many friendships in our lives. Tell the guy that you accepted his invitation before you remembered you had other plans. (That might end up working in your favor. Hard to get is still one of our biggest weapons.) Tell him you already had plans to hang out with a friend, and the two of you might drop by the party if that’s okay.

Now, we’re not done yet. Tell your friend what you did. It’s okay to tell her you got a little anxious and lost your mind for a second. She’ll understand. Things like that have happened to the best of us, and y’all will probably have a big laugh about it. Then, ask her if she wants to drop by the party.

Have fun, and remember: parties are a dime a dozen, but friends are forever.

Do you have a question for me? email


Saving Mr. Midriff

Mr. Midriff beaverdamusa.comWhat Would Chely Do?
Chely Sizemore (@chelysizemore)

“Hey there, Mr. Midriff. You look like a dang fool.”

Well that’s what I wanted to say, at least. But mama taught me to be more polite than that. And speaking of that, where is this poor boy’s Mama? Oh, I shouldn’t say that I don’t guess. She probably did the best she could. Or, she might say, “You should see him without a shirt on whatsoever.”

No thanks, Mr. Midriff’s Mama. We’re getting plenty ‘nuff of a view here.

The cutoff, cutout and cut away sweatshirt from his high school playing days is bad enough, but girls, it’s the visible waistband on his tidy whities just made me want to grab the checkout girl and a couple of bag boys and have an intervention right on the spot.

Here’s my advice or what to do if someone you love goes out in public looking like this.

First off, if you love somebody who would go out in public looking like this, email me at I have some questions.

Second, you’ve just gotta be brutal and tell him he looks like a dang fool. Like I said, that was my first instinct. You don’t always go with your first instinct, but it’s rarely wrong, I’ve found.

Third, get your loved one a fashionable shirt at Maybe an orange one for him and a camo one for you. That way, at least nobody will see you coming.

Okay, y’all, I’ve gotta go. See you soon!


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