It’s graduation time, and I have my commencement speech all ready to go.

But wouldn’t you know it: My invitations to speak must have been lost in the mail.

No matter: I’m going to deliver my speech right here. And there’s more: For the same price, you won’t be reading my thoughts. Instead, you have the opportunity to sit at the feet of Bill Gates.

According to a posting on the internet, theses are his rules for a successful life. My personal relationship with Bill precludes me from confirming that statement, but even if they aren’t his rules, I think you – and perhaps a graduate or two – will find them interesting.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it.

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You won’t make $40,000 right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president with a care phone, until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for flipping burgers – they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parent’s fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes – learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, try have abolished failing grades, and they’ll give you as many times to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

Rules 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off, and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is not real life. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for you.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.