'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
GRADUATION WORDS OF WISDOM
Surprisingly, no college has asked me this spring to be the commencement speaker at the graduation ceremony. This is odd. Colleges are always looking for people who employ many words but don’t really say anything. That’s my specialty. Oh well, they don’t know what I’m missing.
Just in case I do get asked to be a commencement speaker one of these years, I have my speech all set to go. Here it is:
Thank you for your warm and silent applause. I depreciate it.
I first would like to address the graduating class. Before you receive your diplomas, here is one final multiple-choice test question:
You are not listening to a word I am saying right now because: (a) you dozed off a few minutes ago as a result of attending a pre-graduation party last night that did not wind down until 5 a.m.; (b) many years of classroom experience has conditioned your brains to shut down immediately whenever an adult stands up before you and begins talking; (c) your iPod ear buds are surgically attached to the sides of your head and although you can see my mouth moving, the only thing you can hear is the latest hit song by a band called The Bleeding Cankers, which is titled “I wanna stab your love with an ice pick;” or (d) all of the above.
And the correct answer is (e): you are not listening to a word I am saying right now because today is your Graduation Day, and as everyone knows, on the day you receive a college diploma you already know EVERYTHING. There is nothing a middle-aged schlub like me can possibly tell you that is either interesting or useful.
Therefore, graduates, I encourage you to continue dozing, or spacing out, or listening to your music as I address the most important people here today: your parents.
Dear parents: congratulations! You did it. Your four years of hard work finally paid off. Four years of worrying, of praying, of begging your child to devote at least as much time to studying as he or she devoted to games of Naked Mud Beer Volleyball. Now that these four years are behind you, it is clear sailing ahead. Your only duty now is a mere 23 more years of paying off the college loans. Piece of cake.
This is such a special day for parents because you know exactly what is happening today. You clearly remember your own college graduation a few decades ago. OK, if you’re like me, maybe you DON’T remember much about your own college graduation as a result of attending a pre-graduation party the night before that did not wind down until 5 a.m.
But you do remember what happened right after graduation. You remember all too well that after graduation, for the first time in your entire life, you were forced to deal with…reality.
You know right now that your own child—that happy-go-lucky, confident, cocky know-it-all; that optimistic, smarty-pants flower-of-youth who is absolutely certain that life after college is going to be just as exciting and fun as life in college—you know that child is about to be blind-sided by a tidal wave of pure reality.
And it makes you smile just thinking about it.
So on this special day, I want to challenge you parents: please, don’t gloat. And more importantly parents, please, do not let your college-educated child live in your basement until the age of 30. It’s time for the young scholar to leave the nest. If necessary, use a catapult.
Thank you for your rapt detention.
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