Saturday, November 7, 2015

Open Letter to the Class of 2011

*Originally Published late 2010


My Babies,

It has been years since I officially freaked all of you out, getting myself arrested and causing you to question our time together that fateful year you were freshmen (07/08).

Some of you, I am sure, would rather have nothing to do with me.

A sizable number of you have attempted contact, and nearly all of the attempts were met by me with grateful surprise and happiness.

I’d hoped to share this moment with you, and for some strange reason I knew you’d be my last group, my last wave of students (long story).

Congratulations on your pending graduation.

Had we a moment prior to your leaving compulsory education, here’s what I would have explained:


What you hold, that diploma, is your entry into civil society, allowing you basic access to higher education and the job market at large. Don’t rest on the piece of shit diploma you now hold. Sorry, but it’s worth exactly nothing. 

I know, I know. I should use flowery language about achievement and all the rest. Balls to THAT.

High school is a farce, by and large. The hipper of your ranks will have already figured that out. The over-achieving, the ASBers, the social climbers, the cliques, all of them fade into the fog of that time. The clubs, the social groups, … are meaningless.

People your teachers told you would succeed (usually the kids who sucked up to them) won’t.

The losers, dirt-bags, and outcasts WILL go on to change the world.

It’s almost a mathematical truism.

Believe me, I’ve seen them come and go, and the ones who were really “in” to high school weren’t necessarily the ones who went on to greatness. Almost never. The smarter kids never needed social groups, clubs, certificates, and letters to validate them as human beings. Often times, the “out” kids were LEAPS and BOUNDS ahead of the faculty, certainly ahead of their peers, and those kids suffered their teachers for the sake of the sticker – they put in their time, waiting to BLAST out of that sick, gross system.

You’ve been taught to revere flags, your school’s mascot and colors, and to disproportionately favor those who went to your school. Sound familiar? That’s FANTASTIC training for a docile, less questioning, less assertive adulthood. They’re preparing you to be a good citizen. REJECT IT ALL.

Hopefully you used high school to discover something about yourself. Hopefully you took chances, kicked ass, and are ready for what comes next.


College? I don’t know.

One sentiment to get through your thick head is NO ONE OWES YOU A FUCKING THING. Mom thinks you’re special. Coach likes you. Grandma said you’re the bee’s knees. Um, no you’re not! You’re absolutely UNtested. You’ve done NOTHING yet. Not one thing. So stop thinking you’re the shit. Get a job, pay bills, and try to raise a family. Succeed at THOSE, and you’re someone. Graduating from a stupid factory, like your god-awful high school, is the LEAST you could do.

Had some tough breaks? Not been treated well? SO FUCKING WHAT!

Everyone has problems, you little brat. Don’t blame ANYONE for your fuckups. It’s weak. It’s pathetic. And all it will do is keep you poor and stupid.  

Own your body. Own your life. Own your choices. If you don’t, you’re a slave … and you deserve whatever happens to you.

But back to the subject of college. Hahahaha. My knee-jerk reaction is to tell you to go, go, go! It’s what everyone will tell you. But too many people are now IN college, wasting away on useless subjects like Political Science or Chicano Studies. And, four years (now typically FIVE) later they’re in debt … relegated to … TEACHING. God, that’s so fucking true. Hahahaha.

In any case, if you’re good with your hands, mechanically inclined, consider a more vocational track. Consider an apprenticeship. Consider an internship. LEARN A TRADE. A skill. If you do decide on something like a community college to start, brush up on your math skills, anything trade-related, transferable. Make sure your communication skills are also up to snuff.

The perfect liberal arts education is available ONLINE, free. Reading the New York Times every day for four years will better inform you than nearly any college. The Mises Institute site is a treasure if you’re interested in economics and free market history, for example. And there are more sites popping up all the time. Get engaged. 


Your world is incredibly small, provincial. You really do not know ANYTHING if you don’t remove yourself from your personal comfort zone.

Get the fuck OUT of where you live. Go somewhere else for a while. Meet new people. See another part of the United States. Work your way across the country, taking odd jobs. Hell, get your passport, save your dough, and go tour Europe with a backpack and a good friend, or by yourself. Do something radical like visiting Qatar. Take a full year off and just dick around, enjoying life.


Colleges and universities are NOT about education, not at all. Much like your K-12 experience, these institutions are about employing sad adults who couldn’t make it in the private sector. These leaches DEMAND you and your kids, and your kids’ kids, pay their salaries, their health care for the rest of their natural lives. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, they DEMAND you do or go to jail (try not paying your taxes). How do they ultimately pay for such a scheme? They bribe you with “loans,” and you gobble them up because you’re stupid and lazy. DON’T DO IT. Sweat a little now by taking a job, and pay for shit with CASH.

What is the point of graduating with a degree in Chilean Lesbian Art saddled with $30,000 weighing on you in the end?

Again, don’t give the fuckers the satisfaction.


It’s tempting. These fascist bastards will con you with “seeing the world” and maybe even paying for your education at the same time. SAY NO. They want minorities for Mr. Obama’s wars, bullet-absorbers to go in and slaughter Muslims, to further this country’s idiotic foreign policy.

You are better than that.

The world has enough soldiers. BE DIFFERENT. Don’t give-in to your insecurities.


Civilization is TRADE, commerce. All the crap you love, from clothes to technological gadgets, come from those who dared to go it on their own. YOU CAN DO IT. The net gives you numerous opportunities to do something amazing. Give it a try.


Work for free! That’s right. Do it. Find a law firm (if you’re considering law); find a bank; find a cool place you’d like to work but you know won’t hire you for money, yet. Ask them if you can hang out and get them coffee. Tell them you want to learn the business. Soon, you’ll earn your way to a job. While your friends are working at Winky Dinky Dog, serving fries, you’ll be cutting your teeth on a career you’re curious about. And you might just learn you’re not interested in that life. All those cop shows you allowed to brainwash you into thinking carrying a gun and pushing people around is sexy, all of these images will burst as you see that the job is boring and ridiculous. It’s better learning that now than to work your academic career just to find that out too late.  


Even if your mom cleaned houses all your life, and you have no cash to speak of, you have the greatest gift: T-I-M-E. You have enough time to grow rich. Compound interest is your friend (remember my lectures?). Take about 20% of everything you make, everything you’re given, and sock it aside. Take that amount and invest in an Index Fund. Don’t gamble. Use the whole of a market, like the S&P 500, investing a little in each company. The idea is to beat inflation (roughly 3% a year), and over the years you’ll get so used to saving and investing that you’ll build a nice little cushion for yourself. As you earn more, the investment will compound and blow your mind. By that time I should have no teeth or hair, live in a box under a bridge – I’ll need you to take care of me. Save your money, fools.

The key to wealth is three-fold: thrift, savings, and investment. Beat that into your head. Make it a lifestyle. Waste money, and you’re a fool … and you’re typical.


They’re out there. Surround yourself with good, loyal people. Be wary, VERY WARY of people who fall in love with you too fast. You’re a fantastic person, and everyone will want a piece of you. Shine that. Take your time with love. If he or she is for real, they’re going to STAY with you during the horrible times. You need to experience crazy shit to see if who it is you’re with is worth the ultimate commitment. Never, ever rush that. If they’re all too eager, maybe it’s best to let them go. MAKE THEM WORK FOR YOUR LOVE. Give it over too easy, and you almost encourage the cabron and cabrona to grow inside the person you’re dating. Go slow.


Partying and drugs are so common. It’s a trap. WHY do you need them? Life is gorgeous and full of excitement without distractions. The reason you’ll want to escape is because you’re not focusing on the beauty of existence. It takes time to cultivate. But I promise you, sobriety is the greatest way to approach your life. Reality is amazing. You just need to develop the tools to discover objective reality, and science and philosophy can help. Don’t be lazy. Drugs and alcohol are so cliché.


Make a lot of mistakes. Take risks. Dance. Laugh all the time. Go to concerts. Keep a journal. Take care of your mom. Tell her you love her. Be kind and considerate to everyone you meet. Open doors. Smile. Wish people well. Spread hope. Don’t vote for Republicans. Don’t vote for Democrats. Don’t vote. Politics is the sphere of the weak and unproductive – the cheats, the idiots.

Don’t lie.

Ask questions. Speak your mind. Challenge everything, but be humble enough to accept hard answers.

Do good work.

Practice rational self-interest.

Keep in touch.

Good on ya, punks. I am very proud of you.

And I mean it.

Craig Edward Kelso is a felon, father, husband, controversialist. He lives in Southern California with his adorable family. 

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