Every year since time immemorial in the SClarita Valley, graduation happens. Chancellors, principals, valedictorians, dignitaries and goody-two-shoes going particularly nowhere are forced to address the multitudes. Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, latitudes and sophistry are slopped onto the plates of the unsuspecting.
But now, thanks to College of the Canyons, technology and Dr./Mrs. Dianne van “Captain” Hook, speech givers no longer have to suffer digging through arcane quote books and practice their Death To Traitors/Our Class Has Got A Vision lectures.
Through COC, the mortar board set can now, for just three payments of $79.95, get their own boilerplate address to the next inheritors of civilization.
Here is just a sample of one generic graduation speech offered:
It is June and June it is. We, the proud class of (insert your college, high school, sweathog factory academy or nursery & year) have triumphed over many travails lo these many months.
We are the future. We are the past. Yes. We are the village it takes to raise a child, yet, we are more than that.
Many of you out there in the seats will not be with us in a scant 12 years.
Perhaps the main reason will be that janitorial has long put away the chairs and made insistent coughing noises that you should leave. Beyond that, unless we change our ways, there will be no Earth in a scant 144 months, so pay off those loans early.
But, if our plucky class of 2019 has learned anything, there is a natural resource that can never be depleted, never defeated, never deleted and never de-cheated. And that is hope.
Which rhymes with dope.
A word of many meanings. For some, it is the epitome of that which best describes our enemies. Our enemies are legion. Racism. Incontinence. Profit-mongers. Intolerance. Tolerance. And yet, dope can be cool.
We, at this your graduating class of (insert school name), are dope.
(Smile. Wave. Wait for cheers to die down.)
“Cool” will take you many places where talent will not. Look at Obama.
(Wait for boos to die down.)
No. Not that Obama. Bob Obama, the Italian guy, from nearby Canyon Country. Bob has overcome many obstacles to possibly graduate this insanely muggy June day. Yes. Some people look at Bob and say, “Cripes. What a victim.” But isn’t victimhood his birthright? Our birthrights, once, of course, we get past that abortion thing? You’re jolly well darn tooting it was. You all know what I’m talking about.
(Pause and nod knowingly.)
Damn them all to hell.
But Bob showed them. Bob can go forward from this campus with his head held high. His shoulders back. His stomach in. His sphincter tight. His bothersome manhood nobly held in check. Tonight, Bob can walk from this stage and — go someplace.
Like — over there.
And, having the education and experiences he has somehow survived here at (insert school name here) he can now choose to go — somewhere else. And who knows how the Fates will spin his course. Perhaps Bob can set his sights on a new journey, like maybe — BEYOND over there.
In life, a wise man once noted: there is not but one there, there are many theres. Not only that, have you asked yourselves, “If there’s a there, could there actually be a — here?” And that is our heritage. Our journey. Our duty. Our campus. For are we not the mighty ____________ (fill in blank with Spider Monkeys, Fighting Druids, Incontinent Boll Weevils or your own particular mascot)?
(Pause for cheers to subside.)
At one time in our lives, maybe two, we all ask this question. Doctors. Lawyers. Teachers. The Anabaptists. “How do I make a difference?”
(Speaker leans forward and offers a steely stare.)
You make a difference by being you. You make a difference by staying alive. For was it not that pop group of the ’80s, the Bee Gees, who observed: “Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Haaaahhhhh — uh-ahhhhhhhh!”
By staying alive, you do a service to your community, your family, your friends. Of course, there will be those naysayers who will point out that by staying alive, you are probably putting a mortician, florist or funeral deejay out of a job.
In semi-conclusion, prepare your minds, your bodies, for life after school as if you were a Picasso paining. Keep your eye on the ball. Keep a steady hand on the wheel. Nose to the grindstone. Moist finger to the wind. Ditto with your moist heinie.
Never forget. NEVER forget. Your keys. Your Social Security number. Especially your anniversary.
All ANY of us have is — THIS.
As you grow, some of you by as many as 260 pounds or more, as you start families and careers, there will be those doubters, dream squishers and fools who will try to distract you.
They will try to convince you that all you have is — THAT.
With all your hearts, reach for your dreams, the sky, the breast of someone between relationships.
Reach for this. Not that.
John Boston is the most prolific humorist in the universe and has earned more than 100 major awards, writing about this, as opposed to that.