Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Driving in the real world |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Driving in the real world

Richard Carnes
Vail, CO, Colorado

There is a very valid reason wearing seatbelts is a law.

There is, however, no law against being an idiot.

Yet it is a well-supported fact that you are an idiot in today’s society if you do not wear a seatbelt.

Understanding the above concept will help all 2012 high school graduates as they begin maneuvering their way through the real world.

If you do not understand it, ask your parents. If they are clueless, too, well then, I can’t help you. (You’ll have to figure out on your own if that’s one of my goals here.)

Either way, graduates, life’s road is full of speed bumps and potholes, and even the occasional brick wall.

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Get used to it.

Speaking of walls, some are made out of Styrofoam and can be plowed through with virtually no resistance. Case in point: Last week presidential hopeful Mitt Romney claimed that American students are getting a “Third World education” under President Obama, as if he somehow magically transformed all teachers in 2009 into drooling socialist zombies incapable of free thought.

Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside about what you’ve spent the last 12 years accomplishing?

Listen, just blow through this nonsense as if it is nothing more than a typical politician’s attempt to degrade his or her opponent prior to an election. Life is full of such shallow and insulting blather.

Get used to it.

Unless you’re a fourth-year senior, this will most likely be your first opportunity to vote in a national election. Pay attention, do research (Facebook opinions are not research), reach your own conclusions, and then vote however common sense dictates.

Whatever the outcome, accept it and move on.

I also strongly suggest you never travel any path without some sort of protection (tempting though it may be, I promise to stick with traveling metaphors for now..), and for many of you that protection comes in the form of further education — i.e., a university or trade school.

Unless your specialty is AI (artificial intelligence), we don’t need more game programmers. But we do need scientists, engineers, designers, researchers, and so on. We desperately need you to study math and science and focus on all the “improving the world” stuff, as opposed to what we did, which was focus on making money — period.

While it might have worked out well for a few, look what we did to the economy in specific and the planet in general. All we did was make it worse.

Please, please question everything. Replace those fears of the unknown with curiosity, never being afraid of the truth. Don’t panic, just learn to understand reality, for without doing so the world will never change.

I am truly sorry to hand over the torch of responsibility while firmly attached to apologies, but hey, it’s your turn.

Get used to it.

And wear a seatbelt.

One last thing: Do not pay too much attention to older generations that constantly bombard you with advice based upon their personal worldly experiences. Although well intentioned, most of them are just making stuff up to make themselves feel better.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at