Friday, June 02, 2006

Commencement Speech

Well, another graduation season has come and gone with nobody asking me to be their commencement speaker; not even my own school. Of course, my own school has changed its name at least twice since I graduated, so maybe they did ask me and I just deleted the e-mail because I didn't know who it was from.

Their loss, of course. I always have a speech ready to go at a moment's notice and it's a corker. Since you've got nothing better to do (and I have nothing better to write) here it is, and feel free to recommend me to your alma mater for next year. In case they need to know, my fee is contingent upon how far I'll have to travel - five dollars a mile seems fair. So, if you're a graduate of the University of Bangkok, I'll return your call before someone from Harvard. As an added incentive, I'll mention your name in the first minute of my speech and make it sound as though you actually amounted to something.


Hello, graduates! I'm your commencement speaker. My name is Suldog.

You may be wondering just who in the hell I am and how in the hell I was chosen to be your commencement speaker. Too many questions. The first lesson you need to learn before hitting the real world is that nobody gives a damn who I am, so why should you? I mean, nobody gives a damn who you are, either, so I'm at least your equal. In any case, your illustrious past graduate, [your name here], never worried about who I was and look what it did for [him/her/it]. Hey, I turned down Harvard to be here today. Shut up and listen, you bunch of losers.

The first thing you should know is that you wasted the past four years. If you combined the money you could have earned in the real world, and added it to the money you (or, more likely, your parents) spent on this place, and invested it in even an extremely cautious mutual fund, you would have been a millionaire by the age of 35. Instead, you'll be paying off student loans for the next ten years and the only way you'll ever make up the ground you've lost is if you marry someone rich. Heck, I'm 49 and the only reason my student loans are paid off is because I got this gig talking to you. Sallie Mae? The check's in the mail!

And I only went to a one-year certificate-program broadcasting school. Yes, I'm not even a college graduate, yet here I am giving a commencement speech. See? Four years down the tubes. Ah, well. I hope the beer was good. And if you didn't get laid once or twice, you should ask for a serious rebate.

[If you graduated from a seminary, I'll delete that last line. Unless it was a Catholic seminary.]

All right, graduates, I've given you my credentials - such as they are - and now is the time in this speech where I give you some really good advice that you'll remember and take with you throughout life. Here it is:

Wherever you go, there you are.

(*stares at audience for fifteen seconds or so*)

That's it.

(*another five seconds of staring*)

I'm not being facetious. That's really it. That's the best advice I've got.

(*five more seconds*)

Look, here's the thing. If you're driving north on Route 1 and you get onto the Tobin Bridge and then you take the off-ramp for Charlestown and pull over, park, and buy an Egg McMuffin at Mickey D's, you shouldn't be disappointed that you aren't in Los Angeles scarfing down a filet mignon at Emeril's. It's your own fucking fault, right? If you don't put your own ass in a seat at Emeril's, who the fuck will? And if you never made even the slightest attempt to get to L.A., why in the name of Beelzebub's left ass cheek do you think you deserve to be there?

Wherever you go, there you are.

Mostly, YOU will decide where you end up. The choices you make will bring you somewhere, so consider where they might bring you and make sure that's someplace you won't mind being. And if you have someplace you want to be, do what needs to be done to get there. You can't get to Paris by taking the New York City Subway, but it is a swell option if Brooklyn is where you want to go.

Now, some of you are saying, "But, I had to overcome so much to get here. I had an alcoholic father and my mother was a crack whore and I had to eat welly-cheese every second meal and my parish priest fondled me on alternate Sundays."

Boo-fucking-hoo. Consider yourself dope-slapped. You think someone else had it easier than you? Well, yeah, most people did. Shut the fuck up, anyway. Everybody on the face of the earth had to overcome something.

Maybe you had to overcome more than the guy next to you. Fine. Congratulations on your achievement. You know what? You had it easier than someone else, too. There's someone out there who had no father or mother, didn't even get welly cheese, and whose parish priest fondled him every day, twice on Sundays, and then rented him out to the next parish over for summer vacation. On top of that, he was born with one eye and contracted cancer of the ears at age three. And he's out there somewhere doing his nine-to-five and happy to have the opportunity.

Here's the deal: If you're a nice enough person, and you don't whine about your problems, people will actually ask you to tell your interesting story. However, nobody wants you to grab them by the lapels and sobbingly complain about how tough you had it. All that does is make you a pain in the ass. So, let me amend my previous advice.

Wherever you go, there you are. And shut the fuck up about the problems you had getting there - unless you can make the story entertaining.

If someone asks you about your journey and you have a sense of humor, use it. Everybody likes to laugh. And if you can tell people your problems and make them laugh at the same time? You'll never be without someone to tell your problems to. It's only the whining that drives people away, you know.


OK, that's the big deal advice. Here's some smaller stuff you should know.

Nobody wants to hear your music. It doesn't matter if it's heavy metal, rap, classical, show tunes or jazz. If you turn it up loud enough to invade someone else's hearing space, they will not enjoy it. They will, in fact, curse you out and call you an inconsiderate asshole - and rightly so.

Over the course of your lifetime, you will be able to count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that you will be thanked for beeping your horn. In actuality, that will be the number of times that you should have beeped your horn. And if you are giving someone a ride and you come to their house and beep the horn for them to come out, that person might thank you, but there will be at least ten neighbors who think you suck, so that doesn't count as one of them.

If you own a pit bull and it decides to go off its nut and maul somebody, you deserve to be strung up. As a matter of fact, if you own a pit bull at all, I say we cut to the chase and string you up now. What possible reason could you have for owning a dangerous weapon as a pet? If you're that insecure, get a gun. At least then when the thing you own kills somebody, we can kill you instead of a dog.

Trust me on this next one. Nobody wants to hear your cell phone conversations. Well, nobody except the government. In any case, the next time you're using public transportation and someone calls you, if I'm sitting next to you and you tell the person who called you, "I'm at Park Street right now", when in actuality you're somewhere in Newton, I am going to grab the phone from you and yell into it, "He's Lying!" It's bad enough that I have to listen to you at all; I refuse to also listen to you lie.

You should never be afraid to say "please" or "thank you". It doesn't cost anything and people will like you a lot more if you do.

No matter how terrible something is, have a cookie. It'll make you feel better.

The word "lose" is spelled with one "o". If you use more than one "o", you will go through life mystified as to why you get no respect from those of us who use only one "o". If you ask us, we will gladly tell you. However, most of you who use two are ignorant self-satisfied fucks who think spelling and grammar aren't important. Those of us who know better are happy to have such an easy way to identify the assholes.

In closing, be aware that you will never be able to replace these past fifteen minutes, nor should you want to. I am now going to call my bank and make sure that the check has cleared. If it hasn't, consider everything I just told you a lie.

So long, losers!

(Or "loosers", as the case may be...)

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