By STEVE BREWER
Scripps Howard News Service
June 06, 2005
We traditionally mark this occasion with a portentous speech by a successful alum or a semi-honest politician or, sometimes, a show-biz celebrity who stops by campus on his way to rehab.
Such a speech typically celebrates the students' accomplishments while also offering words of wisdom to prepare them for the future. The speech reminds teary parents why they spent all that money on their children. Also, it delays, for half an hour or so, the moment when students hurl their mortarboards into the air and resume drinking heavily.
We've all heard commencement speeches, but what if we were called upon to give one? Granted, most of us aren't successful enough to be in the running (and some are alumni the school would rather forget altogether), but let's say you were selected to give a graduation address. Do you even know any words of wisdom to lay upon a bunch of rowdy undergrads? We didn't think so.
Luckily for you, we've drafted the following Do-It-Yourself Commencement Address. Choose from the multiple-choice answers to customize your speech to your audience and your own personal philosophy.
Add your favorite joke (but not that one about the chicken). Throw in a quotation from Einstein or Santayana or Larry the Cable Guy, and you're good to go.
Greetings to the 2005 graduating class of:
(a) (Insert name of university here)
(b) (Insert name of high school)
(c) (Insert name of reform school).
I'm honored to be your commencement speaker today. May I offer my heartiest:
for your accomplishments here at (insert name of school again).
This is indeed an important day in your lives. A day to look back in fondness and to look forward in dire trepidation. A day to think about where you've been and where you're going.
I'm sure when you recall your years here at (school), you'll remember the "good old days," such as that time:
(a) your team won the championship
(b) your toga caught fire
(c) the charges were dropped.
But let us look forward. Today, you graduates have reached a:
(c) decision to join the Army
and the wider world now awaits you. Those of us in the older generations can hardly wait to see you take charge and lead us in new directions now that you've mastered:
(b) video games
(c) Jell-O shots
(d) blaming older generations.
We're confident your education has prepared you for taking over the reins of the nation. Unfortunately, these are hard times for our country. Among our many problems are:
(a) mountains of debt
(b) global warming and overpopulation
(c) bitter political and religious divides
(d) the lack of anything good on TV.
It will be up to you, young friends, to solve these problems. These solutions won't be political or technological. No, the solutions will come from within. Using your initiation and your idealism and whatever brain cells you have left, you will find the answers. May I humbly suggest that you begin by:
(a) looking into your own soul
(b) calmly reflecting on your goals
(c) hiring a good lawyer
(d) turning your baseball caps around so the bill's in front.
As you go forward, you'd do well to always keep in mind the words of: (Insert quotation here. Oh, look it up yourself. We shouldn't have to do everything.)
Remember, class of 2005, the future is yours!
(a) Make the most of it!
(b) You can have it!
(c) Try not to drop it!
Contact him at ABQBrewer(at)aol.com