Posted by: standing_baba | June 1, 2009

A Salute to the Sunscreen Song

Eric, Craig, me Outer Banks II

Craig Olson, Eric Shapiro, and I at the Outer Banks, North Carolina

“Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.”  – Baz Luhrman, from “The Sunscreen Song”

Mr. M.B.A. graduate and I

Mr. M.B.A. graduate and I

As if spiraling into a late-90s time warp, I recently heard “The Sunscreen Song” for the first time. Apparently, I missed the dance party.

Though Mr. Luhrman touches on a variety of topics in his essay / phantom commencement speech / smash radio hit with voice actor impersonation, there is one reoccurring theme throughout: the need to take advantage of our short time on this planet. “Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth” is not exactly subtle prose.

It’s hard to disagree with his simple yet compelling advice, especially with the Putumayo-like instrumental back beat that soothes you into submissive agreement, makes you feel guilty about every wasted second, every word not spoken, every missed opportunity, then finally closes the deal, leaving you with a Disney-movie feeling of hope when the following lines burn across your pensive stare:

“Advice is a form of nostalgia. / Dispensing it is a way of fishing from the disposal / wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.”

There is hope! He is human too!

Why then is it so hard to live the now, value the present, tell loved ones they are loved, take care of our bodies, and even take a minute to apply sunscreen knowing it could extend our time in the sun in every sense of the phrase?

No answers here, not yet. The song just has me thinking.

As I leave North Carolina after visiting two of my best, most long-standing friends and begin my South America travels, I’m happily nostalgic and confident knowing they will be there when I return.

You can listen to the complete Sunscreen song here.



  1. Sweet pictures and good luck Trevor. I’ll be watching you, Bob, and even Surly on your trek.

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