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Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen

I recently came across the following video accredited to Baz Luhrmann, who happens to be a favorite writer and director of mine. It is rather remarkable.

Even more interesting is the history behind it. Derived from what is commonly referred to as the “wear sunscreen speech” by Mary Schmich, the video puts the speech to music. From the wiki entry:

Mary Schmich “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” was published in the Chicago Tribune as a column on June 1, 1997. In her introduction to the column, she described it as the commencement address she would give if she were asked to give one.

The column soon became the subject of an urban legend, in which it was alleged to be an MIT commencement speech given by author Kurt Vonnegut in that same year (in truth, MIT’s commencement speaker that year was Kofi Annan). Despite a follow-up article by Mary Schmich on August 3, 1997, in which she referred to the “lawless swamp of cyberspace’ that had made her and Kurt Vonnegut to be “one”, by the year of 1999 the falsely attributed story was widespread.

When the column was later turned into a song, Schmich’s “wish” came true when Zagreb‘s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing started to play the song Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) at every graduation ceremony.

The poem-like piece has drawn frequent comparison to the Max Ehrmann poem Desiderata, which was also the subject of an urban legend misattribution.

“Wear Sunscreen” was set to music, renamed “Baz Luhrmann Presents: Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen): The Sunscreen Song (Class of ’99)” or in short “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” and released on an album by Australian film director Baz Luhrmann.

The video is quite inspirational. Initially, I viewed it looking for things to write on sunscreen. I was left with something to present containing words of wisdom for life’s endeavors.

You can view the video below, it is a bit long, but well worth your time.

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