Howard the manager got a request for a graduation speaker. I was not his first choice to fill the ticket. Actually I think he tried to get a guest blogger when the rest of the staff were busy, but the email found my inbox. He cautioned me about not making a scene or something like that, with words about student protests and such. Anyway, I took off and gave it my best, and the transcript follows.
“Good morning and congratulations. You’re done with college. I’m your guest speaker and I would wager you have no idea who I am. That’s good, because I don’t want hate mail later from you or your helicopter mom.
“I was told to say something like, ‘Follow your dreams and do what you’re passionate about.’ Now that I’ve said that as required, I’d add, ‘Now go get a job and start paying off that crushing student loan.’ You see, it doesn’t really matter what you’re passionate about when you owe people money because of one important fact: they don’t give a shit.
“The sad fact is, people, that life often just sucks. There are no more summer breaks, no more frat parties, and instead of grades to worry about, your very well-being now relies on your good performance. Dream all you want and be passionate about that, sure. In the meantime, finish those TPS reports and do them on Sunday if you have to. I can guarantee that being fired and having no money only makes budgeting easier. Everything else gets worse, because food is important.
“You’re probably already thinking, ‘Who is this asshole? Where does he get off saying this to me?’ I hope you are, because I have another nasty little secret for you: I don’t care what you think, and neither does anyone else. You don’t get raises or promotions for what you think. Now get back in your cube, monkey, and keep typing.
“Of course, one or two of you will prove me wrong and turn out to be famous big-shots. I really hope that happens, I do. Statistically speaking, someone sitting out there with a funny square hat will do well. Then again, someone else won’t. That’s something else you need to understand: life is a game with winners and losers. You’re not graded on a curve anymore.
“Some of you have fancy tassels and funky doodads that I suppose mean you’re the smartest people in the crowd. Not bad. I recommend putting them in a shadow box so you can look at them later and remember right now. I graduated magna damn lucky from college, and I’ve worked no harder or had fewer opportunities than the guys with the fabulous tassles in my class.
“All they prove is that you’re better at regurgitating information and assembling thoughts on paper. More likely, you’re better at smelling fake information on Google, but I’m digressing. If you think your degrees make you an expert at something, think again. In fact, if you think the point of this past four years was to put information in your head, you have missed the point. On the other hand, if you realize that the point of college is to learn how to learn, then you have a fighting chance against a world that – as I think I mentioned – doesn’t give a shit about you.
“I’ll conclude this before your start whipping your mortarboards at me like ninja throwing stars. I know I’m irritating. It’s what I’m good at, and I just proved it. Yes, I’m part of the generation that ruined the planet and mucked up America for you. Whether you know it or not, we faced the same problem. You can choose to get mad or get busy.
“So again, thank you for the opportunity to shock you into something that resembles reality. As your parents probably told you, ‘You’re a unique and special snowflake… just like everyone else.’ Go forth, try hard, and be awesome.”
MORE PLACES TO FIND LONG AWKWARD PAUSE:
Facebook: Long Awkward Pause
Tumblr: Long Awkward Pause Mag
LAP TV: YouTube
Would you like to see a topic discussed on LAP? Click HERE.