Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Robert St. John: To the Mississippi Graduates of 2022

 It’s graduation season. This year’s high school seniors have experienced an extremely uncharacteristic high school career filled with Zoom classes, masks, and mandates. But this this once-in-100-years craziness appears to be over. We are, once again, hosting graduation ceremonies with caps, gowns, cords, and commencement addresses. 


When my two children went to college, I wrote each of them letters and tucked the letters into the desk drawers of their dorm rooms just before saying my final goodbyes. I have combined and tweaked each of those letters— and added some points from a commencement address I delivered several years ago— to serve as this year’s unofficial 2022 commencement address to all Mississippi high school seniors.


Dear graduates, there are two, seemingly unconventional, routes to success in your upcoming professional and personal life— through passion and fun. The decision regarding your professional life should be the easiest decision you’ll ever make. Your career should be about one thing— PASSION


It took the first 20 years of my life to find my passion. But once I did, my career path was set. The minute I started working in restaurants I fell in love with the industry. Almost instantly I knew what I was “supposed” to do. I love restaurants. I eat, sleep and breathe restaurants. Restaurants are my hobby.


A few years ago, my son and I were riding together. He asked, “Dad, what should I do when I grow up?” I thought for a minute and then said, “Son, whatever it is, don’t follow the money, follow your passion.” 


Someone once said, “Do what you love to do for a career, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That is passion. It’s true. I do my hobby and I get paid for it. That is what I want for each of you.


Success follows passion, every time. 


The second piece of advice is about fun. Go out and have fun. Seriously, it’s as simple as that. But it’s got to be the right kind of fun, and it’s got to come from the right kind of places. 


Having fun is where it gets a little trickier. It took a lot longer for me to figure out how to be a success in my personal life, and how to find the true source of fun—it’s not at a frat party or at someone’s apartment at three in the morning. Granted, those things might be fun in a fleeting sort of way, but you’re never going to achieve a fuller life at a frat party. 


After I graduated high school, I looked for fun in a lot of the wrong places, and I searched for fun for a long time. It was around the time that my children were born that the 40-year-old me figured out what life is all about— faith, family, friends, food and fun. Those things, in that order, are what lead to a full, fruitful, joy-filled and productive life.


Graduates, befriend the underdog. Laugh a lot. Make others laugh a lot. Visit a nursing home. Make them laugh a lot. Hug your parents long and hard. Hug them so long that they’re the ones who let go first. The next time you see your favorite teacher, give him or her a big hug. Thank them. If you don’t appreciate them today, I promise you that you will, soon. Hug the teacher you liked least, too. They’re likely in need of a hug. They probably worked just as hard, you just don’t realize that, yet. 


Take care of your teeth. Walk a lot. Drink milk. Don’t hate. Stay in touch with your friends. Make new friends. Share a meal with your friends. Floss. Travel. 


Don’t ever compare your insides to other people’s outsides, and always stay humble. When your head begins to swell, your mind stops growing. 


Recently, I have come to the realization that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience. Just know that if God were small enough for you to truly understand, God wouldn’t be big enough to take care of the things God needs to handle in your life. Have faith. Trust God.


At the first sign of trouble, go to God first. The will of God will never take you where the grace of God won’t protect you (though your second call should be to a parent). They say, “Nothing will happen today that you and God can’t handle.” They are right.


You will face challenges and setbacks over the next several years. Remember that despair is only a visiting moment, hope is always around the corner. Never lose hope. Never. 


I have learned that the difference between intention and decision is that intention is followed by more intentions. Decision is followed by action. Always take action.


Never confuse pleasure with happiness. Trust me, there’s a difference. Ladies, always know that “no” is a complete sentence.


Know to your core that the best things in life aren’t things, and until you give up the idea of happiness being somewhere else, you’ll never find it.


Don’t worry too much. I’ve lived through the worst stuff that NEVER happened way more than the stuff that DID happen. Again, trust God. If you pray, don’t worry. If you worry, don’t pray.


Don’t take drugs. Drugs are the lie that you never learn the truth about until it’s too late. Trust me on this one.


Eat French fries. Be nice. Be bold. Behave. Spend time with your grandparents. Love your neighbor. Love your neighbor’s neighbor. Love your neighbor’s grandparents. Make mistakes. Then don’t sweat the mistakes you make. Go out and make more mistakes, you’ll get it right eventually. Forgive others for their mistakes. That whole “Do unto others” thing is truly good advice. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t be so hard on others. Just make it a general rule not to be hard. 


Volunteer where you feel led. Don’t just “give back.” To “give back” you must have received something first. Just “give,” then give some more. Give of your time, give of your resources and give your love. When you think you’ve given enough, then give even more. 


Don’t forget the laughing thing. Don’t forget the hugging thing either. Don’t forget any of it. Find your passion. Make that your career. Then go be passionate. Have fun. Help others. These days aren’t a rehearsal for some upcoming future event. This is your moment. This is your life. You will make mistakes. Don’t dwell on them. Learn from them and move on.


Find “one thing” that can make a difference in other people’s lives. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just one thing. Once you find that thing, whatever it is, do it. Your thing— no matter how small— can be contagious and your friends might find their one thing that helps others. Imagine how great this world could be if everyone did just one thing, out of their normal routine, to help others.


Give of yourself and give of your time. The only things we take from this world are what we gave away, shared experiences, and lives impacted. Now is a great time to start giving. Your life will truly begin when you stop expecting the world to give you something and you start trying to figure out what you can give to the world.


Share your happiness. Count your blessings. And when all else fails, follow directions.


Know that life is short, but it’s the longest thing we’ll ever do. So have fun, be kind, and call your parents.



Comeback Sauce 


2 cups              Mayonnaise

1 cups              Ketchup

1 cup               Chili sauce

1 cup               Cottonseed Oil

1                      Large Onion, diced

1 /3 cup           Lemon juice, freshly squeezed

4 Tbl               Garlic, minced

2 Tbl               Paprika

2 Tbl               Water

2 Tbl               Worcestershire

1 Tbl.              Pepper

2 tsp                Dry mustard

2 tsp                Salt


Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Allow to sit overnight in refrigerator before use.


Anonymous said...

Congrats to these seniors and I pray THEY will remember this last 3 years and work hard to ensure it NEVER happens again. Never forget what big pharma and feckless leadership did to you kids. Hold them to account !

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Sound advice, very well said.

Anonymous said...

Sound advice, very well said.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS