Thursday, June 14, 2012

Commencement Address

Well, another graduation season has come and gone with nobody asking me to be their commencement speaker.

(They asked this guy - and rightly so. Great speech! Not as good as mine, though.)

Yes, I have a commencement address, 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. Feel free to recommend me to your alma mater next year.

(In case they need to know, my fee is contingent upon how far I'll have to travel. I figure thirty dollars a mile would be fair, so if you're a graduate of the University of Bangkok, I'll return your call immediately. Harvard? I'm just down the street from there, so not as quickly.)

As an added incentive, I'll mention your name in the first minute of my speech and make it seem as though you actually amounted to something.

Here's the speech.


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

You may be wondering who 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 nobody gives a damn who I am, so why should you? Face it - nobody gives a damn who you are, either, so I'm at least your equal. In any case, your illustrious past graduate, [insert name here], never worried about who I was and look what it did for [him/her/it].

If you have any complaints, I turned down Harvard to be here today, so shut up.

The first thing you should know is that, monetarily speaking, you wasted the past four years. If you add the money you could have earned in the real world 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 thirty-five. 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. Hell, I'm 55, and the only reason my student loans are paid off is because I got this gig talking to you. And I only went to a one-year certificate-program broadcasting school. Yes, that's right. I'm not even a college graduate, yet here I am giving your commencement address. See? Four years down the tubes. Oh, well. I hope the beer was good. And if you didn't get laid once or twice, you should ask for a refund.

All right, graduates, I've given you my credentials - such as they are - and now is the time when I give you some good advice that you'll find useful throughout your life. Here it is:

Wherever you go, there you are.

(*stares at audience for five seconds*)

That's it.

(*another five seconds of staring*)

I'm serious. That's it. That's the best advice I've got.

(*five more seconds, or until they start to throw stuff*)

Look, here's the thing. If you're driving north on Route 1 in Boston, and you get onto the Tobin Bridge, then you take the off-ramp for Charlestown, and go into McDonald's and buy an Egg McMuffin, you shouldn't bitch about not being in Los Angeles scarfing down a filet mignon at Emeril's. It's your own fucking fault you're in Charlestown, right? If you don't make the effort to put your ass in a seat at Emeril's, why do you think you have a right to complain? 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 might 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 it would be smart of you to consider just where those choices 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's a swell option if you want to go to Brooklyn.

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."

Well, boo-friggin-hoo, precious little snowflake! Consider yourself dope-slapped. You think everyone else had it easier than you? Well, yeah, OK, maybe 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 or gal 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 then 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 person, and you don't whine about your problems, people will actually ask you to tell your story. Rest assured, however, that nobody wants you to grab them by the lapels and sobbingly complain about how tough you've had it. All that will do is make you a pain in the ass.

So, let me slightly amend my advice. Wherever you go, there you are. And, while you're there, shut the hell up about the problems you had getting there, unless you can make the story entertaining. If someone asks you about your journey, use your sense of humor (if God granted you one.) 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 willing to listen to your problems. It's only the little girl pissy pants whining that drives people away. Make 'em laugh and you own 'em.


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

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

Two - 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 having beeped your horn. Mostly, beeping your horn will not make people think kindly of you. It's the same as the music thing above, but in a shorter ruder form. And if you're 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 the times you should have done it.

Three - If you own a vicious dog 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 vicious dog 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 the dog.

Four - 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 I'm sitting next to you and you tell the person on the other end of your blathering conversation, "I'm at Park Street right now", when in actuality you're somewhere else, I am going to grab the phone from you and yell into it, "He's Lying!", and then either toss the friggin' phone out the window or throw it on the ground and stomp on it. It's bad enough that I have to listen to you at all; I refuse to also listen to you lie.

Five - 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.

Six - No matter how terrible some situation is, have a cookie. It'll make you feel better.

Seven - 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 twats 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, and we thank you.

In closing, be aware that you will never replace these past fifteen minutes, nor should you want to. They may have been the most valuable fifteen minutes of your life. I know they're pretty high up on the list for me, assuming 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...)


I'm sure the offers will now come flooding in for me to deliver this address, so I may be tied up for a while. If not...

Soon, with more better stuff.


joeh said...

Damn! You are a lose cannon. Great advise however.

Where do I go for a refund, I never got laid in College, and I used to be good looking!

Cranky Old Man

Craig said...

Hey, that's considerably better than a lot of the commencement addresses I've heard. . . 'Course, I had a pretty nice scholarship, so I got thru without any long-term debt (which isn't to say I didn't have to wash a few thousand dishes along the way. . .)

And, may I add -

Two(a) - Her father, most especially, will not appreciate your horn honking from his driveway. And if you have any plans for the young lady beyond the five seconds it takes for him to tell you to f**k off, you'll have to deal with him, sooner or later. . .


Seven(a) - likewise for 'there/their/they're'; and 'use to'. Also 'should of'. So their!

Claudya Martinez said...

Any speech that addresses the audience as suckers is bound to be good and it is so true that nobody wants to hear your music.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

One What's the matter with klezmer music?

Four Another solution[sic] is to yell, "Get off the phone, honey, and come back to bed" loud enough for the party on the other end of the conversation to hear.

Five Don't forget you're welcome. But don't say, "No problem."

Kat said...

Heh, heh, heh. Loved it! :)
And can you also add that I's is not a word? As in Tommy and I's house. It is Tommy's and my. There is no such thing as I's. Where the hell that ever started I don't know, but it drives me CRAZY how many people say that these days.

stephen Hayes said...

I can't understand why nobody has called on you to give a commencement address. Thanks for pointing out the difference between lose and loose. Next time I hope you'll tackle further and farther.

Michelle H. said...

If people do ever throw stuff at you, let it be beer and pretzels in celebration of your awesomeness. Since it's at commencement, hopefully they don't throw used condoms.

Buck said...

Seven - 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 twats 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, and we thank you.


Buck said...

BTW... I met several specialists in international relations who were quite possibly graduates (or mebbe undergrads) of Bangkok U while I was there. Great school, that.

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

This all started when folks made graduation from kindergarten a big deal ...or maybe it was sooner?

In any event, all of those earlier commencement celebrations have cheapened the high school graduation, which IMHO is achievable by a large majority of this country's populace. It might even mean something if administrators and teachers held students accountable.
College isn't for everyone and there's no reason why someone without a degree should be dismissed for that reason alone.

Karen said...

I hope you get some offers... this is one great speech and the grads would be hanging on every word!

Anonymous said...

Hmm. So now I'm wondering. Is hosers really spelled hoosers?

Yes, you definitely got me thinking with this GREAT post.


notactuallygod said...

Actually there was a lot of good advice in there, but you left out "Always wear clean underwear, because you never know."

Tabor said...

So you have every girl in that back row crying now. I hope you are happy with yourself.

lime said...

i think cookies should also be had when celebrating something good. i wish you had given the address at my college graduation. they decided to go without and just read the 1000 names of graduates. yes one thousand. and they mispronounced mine. and i sat in the drizzling rain, while pregnant and suffering morning sickness. no, i am not whining. i am just trying to emphasize how much you would have been appreciated then.

Jackie said...

"It's" wonderful to read your work. "Its" "effect" on "your" readers is a sign that "you're" a genius. You "affect" a lot of folks in a positive way.
Just lettin' loose,

messymimi said...

Have another cookie. After that speech, you deserve it.

Ami said...

I never had a college commencement. My high school commencement was the culmination of 13 years of wasted time.

I think I participated in a couple conceptions (well, two that I know of) but don't consider those a waste.

I loved your speech. If I ever find an opportunity for you to use it, I'll call ya. Meanwhile, I shall link for tomorrow's post because I think it should be required reading for just about everyone.

Maggie May said...

Loved your speech. Two sides to everything!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Daryl said...

I cant imagine why no one has called to invite you to speak .. my god daughter graduated Syracuse Law School in May and they invited Dan Quayle .. seriosly...

Juli said...

I'd like a cookie. Please, and Thank You.

colleen said...

You're having way too much fun up there in Watertown!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Four & Seven - yes. A resounding yes with bells and fanfare. Guess you've got at least one person won over because I laughed my ass off the entire way through this piece. Not to mention I pretty much spent the whole time while reading this thinking "Did we have a commencement speaker? If not, why didn't we get Jim, and if so...who in the world was it?"

Anonymous said...

I love it! As usual, you nailed it simply and concisely, and had fun doing it. I still have one in college... I'll see what I can do about getting you a gig. :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

Wouldn't it be great if you were invited to give the speech-- It would actually be USEFUl information for the grads! And you crack me up.

Thank you.

silly rabbit said...

What a commencement speech that I don't have to grit my teeth to endure? Good stuffs Suldog!

All of it is so true. The loan issue has really gotten out of hand. The expense to educate someone is so not worth how long it takes to pay it back anymore. You get a BA and they want a Masters, deeper in debt you go to hear that they then want a Doctorate. That bank account is looking like a very sound investment.

Shammickite said...

Oh I wish, wish, wish that commencement speeches were really like that. I love the advice at the end... especially about the horn beeping. So pointless. I hope you get a chance to use that speech. Bloomin' great.

Jenny Woolf said...

This cracked me up! I'd hire you like a shot, except that no university would have me. Of course you're welcome to come and give the speech on my street corner in London, (I'm such a damn looser I don't even have any friends so no point in asking you to give the speech in my living room.)

Graham Edwards said...

Thanks to Jenny Woolf I popped over to have a look at this name Suldog that seems to crop up all over my Blogland however much I try to ignore it. Why, in heavens name, I haven't visited before I have no idea. I shall be visiting again. After all, anyone who has so many followers who write comments as interesting and witty as the original post must be good QED.

Al Penwasser said...

I'm over here from Jenny Woolf, An English Travel Writer. This is fantastic stuff! I wish someone would give this speech. Or I could give it. Don't think anyone would pay me, though. Hell, I'd do it for free. Even at a Community College. Or Hamburger University. Or Connecticut School of Broadcasting. You know what I mean.
I loved this.
Well, not physically.
You know what I mean.

The Broad said...

Sully, this is brilliant! And to think you were coming down with a miserable cold/flu while you wrote it -- well done!

Unknown said...

I like your commencement address way better than the "you're not special" guy's.

I do have one question, however. What is "welly cheese"? (We've finally found a question Google doesn't know the answer to.)


Suldog said...

I was waiting for someone to ask that question! Thanks, Tim!

"Welly cheese" is cheap American cheese, usually handed out in blocks the approximate size of a square loaf of bread at the local food pantries or (thus the name...) welfare office. It was a staple for many poor kids in Boston, at one time.