The Commencement Speech I’d Like to Give

I always wanted to give a commencement speech. Two reasons, really. First, most of them really suck, and I’m on a mission to rehab the commencement speech as an art form, and to rescue captive graduates and their families from more blah-blah. Second, I have some things I’ve figured out about life that would be really helpful to know at the starting gate of “real” life, that should be passed on to the next gen. Some of it is sublime. Some, pretty damn ridiculous. But such is life.

So here’s the sublime/ridiculous list in random order:

Dating is like playing the lottery. The more you play, the more you increase your mathematical odds of winning. But you’re still almost certain to lose. The best route to quality intimacy is through friends. If there is enough there to become friends with someone of the gender to which you are attracted, then there’s probably enough there to become lovers, perhaps even companions. I’m not talking about friends with benefits, which essentially means mutual sexual exploitation. I’m talking about the benefits of friendship evolving into something deeper, and the odds of that happening being a whole lot better than winning Powerball.

Eventually you’re going back to church (or whatever you call your place of worship). If you know that now, you can come to terms with what is behind your youthful boycott and save yourself a lot of time. You may not end up back in the faith tradition in which you were raised, but the odds are good you’ll be praying somewhere, in some organized fashion. They are especially high if you have kids. That atheist stuff isn’t as cool as you think. Get over it.

I hope you went to college for personal growth and enrichment because college isn’t supposed to be trade school. If you wasted the last four years and $200K on glorified job training, you’re a real sucker. Because, as all the other commencement speeches will tell you, you’re going to change careers seven times before you retire. If you retire.

If you own your own business, you never have to worry about finding a good job. On the other hand, if you don’t own a business, you always have to worry about losing a job and being stuck in a job at the same time.

Most of what “They Say” is complete crap. Here’s one thing that isn’t. When they say, “You can never go home again,” (other than for Christmas and funerals and shit) you’d better damn-well believe it.

OK, so you’ve graduated. I dare you not to “use” your degree at all for a minimum of five years. Now get out of these ridiculous costumes and start changing the world—or your Twitter handle. TC mark

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