Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2006: PLAY GAMES.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, gaming would be it. The long-term benefits of gaming have been proved by geeks around the world, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than the re-imagining of the classic trilogy. I will download this advice... now.
[electronic music begins]
Enjoy the sugar and caffeine of the Dew. Oh, never mind, you won't appreciate the sugar and caffeine of the Dew until they've faded. But trust me, 20 minutes into a session of Unreal 2003, they will leave you feeling as if your hair is on fire and every fiber of your being is alive.
You are not as fast as you imagine.
Don't worry about the last three installments of the Star Wars saga: they will never get made. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. And yes, I know many of you totally rock at algebra. But that is not the point.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. Like what happens if Evo Terra ever meets Keanu Reeves in a little Chinese takeout place off of Hollywood and Vine?
Do one thing every day that scares the dickens out of those around you.
Don't be reckless with other people's dice; don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on paranoia. Sometimes you're ahead of the FBI; sometimes you're behind a firewall. The race is long, and in the end, it's all about how many seasons of Doctor Who that you've downloaded before they catch up with you.
Remember your passwords; forget Jar-Jar.
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old game consoles. Throw away all of those subscription cards that come fluttering out of Wired Magazine like a nor'easter in Connecticut.
Dont feel guilty if you haven't seen the perfect ending of Final Fantasy VII. The most dedicated gamers I know hadn't seen it at age 22. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know are convinced it doesn't exist.
Get plenty of XP.
Be kind to your parents; you'll miss them when they finally kick you out of the house.
Maybe you'll play Naked Twister; maybe you won't. Maybe you'll play Full-Contact Monopoly; maybe you won't. Maybe you'll play eight hours straight of Killer Bunnies after a Philip K. Dick/Moorcock/Spherical Tomi-induced bender. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Instead, berate that 12-year-old chump who thought he was so l33t until you fragged his behind into the middle of next week.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can, but always close the curtains; there's laws against that stuff in some states.
Dance. Especially if you have one of those suh-weet hard pads, with the rails. And the lights.
Read the directions, but go online to get the walkthrough.
Do not read those kinds of magazines. Mom may be right; you just might go blind.
Get to know your cow orkers; you never know when they may put you onto the next Firefly.
Be nice to your siblings. It's not their fault they didn't get the geek gene.
Understand that friends come and go, and that Jesus saves, but all others take half damage.
Live in your parents' basement once, but leave before they kick you out.
Live in a dormitory once, but leave before you fail out.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Dvorak gets no spam; Shatner was the first captain; you too will get old. And when you do you'll fantasize that when you were young G4 rocked, Starbuck was a guy, and kids played Vice City for the cars. Okay, maybe we'll all remember the G4 thing with painful clarity.
Don't expect anyone to support you, especially if that support has been outsourced.
Remember that time is not a line; it is a circle. That is why clocks are round.
Do not mess too much with your action figures or by the time you are 40 the arms will have fallen off and you'll never get full value on eBay.
Think carefully about who you'd switch sides for, but really dwell on who you would double back for.
Photoshopped images are a readily available resource. Profiting from them simply requires retrieving them from the internet, recovering the naughty bits, and sharing them with all of your geekier friends.
But trust me on the gaming.
The part I will take away and use repeatedly is "Think carefully about who you'd switch sides for, but really dwell on who you would double back for." Heh.