It was a sunny Memorial Day weekend afternoon. I was relaxing with our dog (Miss Audrey Hepburn) and a glass of iced tea.
Suddenly, Miss Hepburn began to dig into the lawn, her long black nose burrowing into the recently watered earth.
Audrey, I said. Stop that!
Miss Hepburn emerged with a small folded piece of paper in her teeth. Her tail wagged as she brought it to me.
Carefully, I unfolded the paper. It was a record of a commencement speech by former President George H.W. Bush.
Thanks, I said to Miss Hepburn.
Arf, said Miss Hepburn.
I began to read the advice given by former President Bush to the Class of 1992: "Study hard, and you might grow up to be president. But let's face it: Even then, you'll never make as much money as your dog."
The source of this advice was not an economist. The source of the advice was President Bush's dog, Millie. In 1992, Millie had earned $889,176 in book royalties. That year, President Bush earned far less.
In that spirit, here is Miss Audrey Hepburn's advice for the La Cañada High, Prep, Flintridge Sacred Heart and St. Francis classes of 2010:
1. Adopt a dog. You will never be unhappy.
2. When you leave for college, leave the dog at home.
3. Before you leave, thank your parents for watching the dog.
4. Never ask yourself, "Why am I going to college?"
5. Never ask your dog, "Why are you a dog?"
6. The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. (Aristotle)
7. A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad. (Theodore Roosevelt)
8. As builders say, the larger stones do not lie well without the lesser. (Plato)
9. The larger dogs do not lie well without The Cat. (Miss Audrey Hepburn)
10. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. (Plato)
11. Life is like a cobweb, not an organization chart. (H. Ross Perot)