Monday, May 08, 2006


Graduates, faculty, staff, parents, friends, guests, and Osama bin Laden--in case he is hiding in this audience--welcome to the commencement exercises for the class of 2006. I want to thank all of you for coming out to honor these graduates, or in your case sir, trying to find a place to sleep that's not outside.

We are gathered here today, in this hot, crowded gymnasium, with facilities so spartan that even condemning the building doesn't seem enough, to honor the graduating class of 2006.

I'd like to thank the fifty speakers that spoke before me. The college's president, the vice-president, the chief of staff, the archbishop, the centerfielder, Tom Cruise, some random guy we pulled out of the audience, the warm-up comedian, the moment of silence guy, and the SGA rep whose introduction of me was actually longer than the speech I am about to give. I'd also like to thank the orchestra for taking much longer than necessary to play the jazz rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance." I'm sure you'll enjoy the ten other speakers that will close out the ceremony as well.

Graduates, the future holds many wonderful things for you. Not for you specifically, but for the editorial "you." The "you" that may be actually talented enough to do something. Not the you that will be leaving this school and plying your trade as a vacuum cleaner salesman to get whatever small change you might be able to scrape up to afford your putting gas in your car, much less your student loan payments.

In just a few moments, we will be passing out diplomas to our graduates. As we call each graduate's name, we want to make sure that each graduate's family and friends have ample opportunity to whoop and holler, and generally embarrass both the graduate and their ancestry. All screaming should be done in such a manner as to indicate that you actually thought the graduate would never have in a million years been able to achieve this moment and that you are quite frankly amazed that they could even calculate 2 plus 2, much less complete the course work for a bachelor's degree. You should also attempt to make your performance of such volume that any graduate whose family actually has class and does not clap or scream will look like a complete and total loser. If possible, have someone standing by the stage to give those graduates a wedgie.

But before that, I want to speak directly to you, the candidates for graduation.

First of all, why do they call you candidates? Is there any possibility that one of you might suddenly be disqualified and not graduate today? Don't you pretty much have this thing in the bag already? I thought so.

Graduates, as you go forward, I want you to remember one thing. Follow your dreams. And two months later, after your dreams have left you broke and living back home with mom and dad, get a real job. Don't imagine that your college education has in any way prepared you for reality. Granted, there are success stories out there, but there are also plenty of us out there who use our diplomas as little more than something to fill a picture frame, which then is used to cover a nick in the sheetrock that comprises the wall.

We're sure that you'll make plenty of impact on this world, and by impact we mean regular monthly payments to the financial institutions that have recently purchased your student loan from us. For further impact, we will continuously send you solicitations for donations for scholarship funds that, if you refuse to send money to them, you will feel morally bankrupt, such as the Scholarship for the Deaf, Blind, and Hemmorhaging, or the Scholarship for Kids Whose Parents Beat Them Bi-Hourly. Please be fully assured though, that no matter how much these scholarships suffer from underfunding that the school will continue to provide 100 percent of the scholarship monies for bone-head athletes.

But I digress. As you look toward the future, graduates, I hope you charge out into the world that's waiting for you. It's a world of thrills and wonders, a world that you will be summarily unable to experience because you will be too busy working to pay those things called bills that your parents always took care of without you noticing. Not only that, but laundry too.

Two minute warning, parents and guests! Start peeling your aching butts off of the bleachers.

As you leave this auditorium today, remember one important thing: when you greet your parents outside the doors of this ceremony, be sure to stand there and hold long drawn-out conversations, such that no other person with more body mass than a number 2 pencil can possibly escape the premises. Aside from that, I have no other advice to offer.

Go forth, young graduates. Be strong. And if you can't hack it in the real world, remember this: there's always a master's degree to chase!

Congratulations to my sister, Sarah, (pictured above) for her recent college graduation.


At 11:46 PM, Blogger Tori said...

Big Congrats to the rather beautiful Sarah.
I do love a commencement speech! Wipe wipe...
Now - more about the tried and tested all over body massage you promised to teach Hugh!!!!
Well you'll have to teach Big Wave but I WANT ONE!Lucky Emily... I tell ya!

At 11:50 PM, Blogger Stacy said...

Congrats to the sistuh! :)

Your play-by-play was painfully realistic and made me VERY thankful that I have enough small children in my brood that no one actually expects me ATTEND graduations at this point in my life. Most people are happy enough that I send a gift.

Funny stuff :)

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Sailorcurt said...


Now we know where the looks in the family were bequeathed.

My Son just finished his Freshman year. I'm very much looking forward to his graduation in three years if not to the ceremony.

I remember sitting through my ceremony (Associate's degree from Community College at age 35) thinking: please, please, please just shut up and give me my diploma already!

Someday I'll finish my Bachelor's degree but I have to decide what I want to be when I grow up first.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

is that what sarah graduated in? it looks like a v.v. pretty wedding gown!

well, wedding gown or no... she looks lovely & smart too ( i have a daughter so all "pretty" comments must be tempered with a "smart" match.")

off topic, if you are handing out full body massages, you should be able to call emily at 6:30 am.

At 5:40 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

No, she didn't graduate in it. I think that was a formal she wore once. It may be a wedding gown, as she has one that she's yet to use (since she broke up with the dude she was supposed to be marrying.) I'm sure she'd let it go for a reasonable price :)


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