Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Commencement Address.

I've never been asked to give one. I'll probably never be asked to give one. Unless of course I become a notable alumni by writing the Great American Novel. Then West Blocton would have to ask me back right?I have the opportunity to attend several graduations a year. They are invariably the same, year in and year out. It is almost as if there is a rule book for graduations. It also seems to me there is a separate book for valedictorian/salutatorian and commencement addresses. And they were written by the same person. Without fail they say the same things (We now start a new chapter in our lives...) quote the same poems (I stood in a wood...), and tell the same jokes (We never again have to do {insert teacher and project here}).
I told Kara that I should have given a speech at my graduation. She thought it was a horrible idea. But she also has a broken sense of humor. Here is what I might have said if I had been valedictorian.

"Fellow students, faculty, family, and friends; we are here to mark an end and a beginning. We have worked our whole lives for this one moment in time to finally leave the nest and make our profound marks on the world. Staring up at me from the seats in front are America's future. And to tell the truth it scares the crap out of me."

At this point I would make a grand show of picking up my speech, folding it, and throwing it behind me. I would then drive off the reservation, so to speak.

"Who am I kidding? We are not unique. We are not special. In ten years only a handful of us will be what we thought we would be when we grow up. And only a precious few of those will find any real joy in that. And there are hundreds of thousands of people just like us who think they are special. The very thought that one of you might become the President of the United States makes me want to have myself sterilized. In case you haven't noticed, to quote the great sage and wit Frank Constanza, "I got a lot of problems with you people!!"

Hey you! You're pretty now but eventually you are going to be as ugly as the rest of us.
And you! Picking on people and making them feel small and useless is not a marketable skill. I hope you work for me one day. If I could go back and change one thing it would be your face with a framing hammer.
And you! The car you are driving does not make you cool.
And you! Here's to hoping you have a trust fund to fall back on.
And you! Quit getting in the tanning bed. When you are 35 your skin will look 50. You are going to look like a bleach blond piece of beef jerky.
And you! Just because you are...."

At this point someone has killed the sound system and started the process of forcibly removing me from the stage.

You know what? Maybe Kara is right. I would have been a horrible (but memorable) commencement/valedictory speechifying person.

If you could have said one thing from the stage the night you graduated from high school what would it be?

1 comment:

Brian Argo said...

I probably would've just made some lurid parody of the poem "Invictus." And maybe thrown a flaming bag of poo at someone. I don't know, I'd improvise.