Friday, May 11, 2018 – Pomp and Circumstance and My Graduation Speech
Thank you, President of My Pretend University. It is an honor and pleasure to speak to you today. Besides, I come from a family who enjoys wearing a cap and gown and listening to boring speakers providing platitudes of promise and hope. I was hoping to get to wear a big necklace or carry banner or something, but it is ok.
Graduates, this is my message to you this May of 2018.
Enjoy the song now because this is probably the last pomp you will get because the circumstances of life kick in as soon as you take off that cap and gown. Sidebar: It is actually called Academic Dress and the head dress is often called a Mortar Board. The bunch of strings on the side is called the tassels and the side on which the tassels hang is dependent on your degree. Advanced degrees usually have tassels on the left and then move to the right side while the opposite is true for undergraduates.
I graduated from college in 1971. There was a crooked, cray cray man in the White House as president. The country was involved in an unpopular war in Vietnam. The Middle East was about to blow up the world. The people were divided over the war and most everything else. People were mean and beat up and killed other people because they did not like people with a different skin color, gender, or thought processes.
I graduated again in 1978 and again in 1985. The world did not get better; however my gown and headdress did get more academic.
Here are my top ten things you need to know as you enter the world.
First. Get real. The world is not a pretty place. Your world is as bad as mine was, but you get to see yours take place live through social media on a 27/7 basis.
As you enter life, at some point, as the country western song says, you will be “lied to, cheated on and treated like dirt.” Therefore, I say to you “Buck up, Sissy Pants!” (Beverly Holfstedder, TBBT.)
Second. In addition, there will be “Good times and riches and sons of a bitches, and you’ll see more than you can recall.” Change your latitude and attitude often. Go to Margaritaville often, but always have a designated driver. (Jimmy Buffet)
Third. Remember, you and your parental units spent big bucks for you to be sitting there. The reason the thing on your head is called a mortar board is because it is fashioned after the flat thing brick layers use to scrap the goo (mortar) that holds brick and stone together. Therefore the one with the strings on the side is to hold your brain together. Don’t blow it by being and doing stupid. Do not aspire to win a Darwin Award. Stupid is as stupid does says Forrest Gump.
Fourth. Learn to spell the word RECEIVE. Do not spell it RECIEVE.
Fifth. Save your tassels. One never knows when life will hit you and you need to make money dancing. Otherwise, just dance. Learn to lead and follow. You get more dance partners that way and dance more often. Also, when your name is called and you feel like dancing when that sheepskin is in your hands, do not let anyone toss you off the stage of graduation or the stage of life when it is your moment.
Sixth. Own a dog and/or cat and be a responsible pet parent.
Seventh. Know that one day you will wake up to sagging boobs, beer bellies, enlarged prostates, swollen joints, peeing in your pants, and forgetting a lot of stuff. Yes, when I was your age I said it was not going to happen to me either.
Eighth. Vote. It does make a difference.
Ninth. Give back and pay it forward.
Tenth. Enjoy YOUR life. It is the only one you have. Be yourself and be comfortable with the person you are. Make your voice heard. Stand up for what you believe in and go make the world a better place.
A toast to all graduates.
Thank you and good luck. Where do I pick up my check? And you said there were refreshments?