Ferris's lessons have bailed me out again and again over the years. When his high school class of 1986 finished college in 1990, Barbara Bush was confronted with what proved to be the most controversial address of her career. A graduation speech at Wellesley College. Some had objected to her status as merely a wife and mother.
She won the crowd with her powerful message about mermaids and CEOs, about diversity and choice. A presidential speechwriter at the time, I owed my minor contribution to Ferris. The speech needed humor, and maybe a touch of hip relevance. In urging young Americans to be a friend first, a sister or a brother first, a daughter or a son first, Mrs. Bush invoked Ferris: "Life moves pretty fast. If ya don't stop and look around once in a while, ya gonna miss it!"
The crowd roared. And Mrs. Bush ad-libbed, perfectly: "I'm not gonna tell [the president] you clapped more for Ferris than you did for George."
Barbara Bush (sort of) a badass.
The last anecdote he recalls is pretty funny too. I have a strong suspicion he leans to the right side of the aisle.