If I were to give a commencement speech it would go something like this:
“Dear Intelligent Ones,
This is one messed up marble. You watch ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘Vice’ so you know the symptoms: climate change, water famine, corruption, selfishness and MGMT’s second and third albums. The world is a hard place. If I could do it over again I would just travel, live on my cunning and good looks (before baldness set in), but it’s too late for me. You though – you have an opportunity to create the next Ice Bucket Challenge, meme or Mentos stunt, but you don’t have to. You can do more. Be selfless and self-fulfilled. Walk more, drive a better car, don’t kick anything (especially while it’s down) and no matter what they say, you don’t have to vote. You really don’t. Politicians are dicks anyway. Why waste the time? You could be cooking a meal or reading that Hemingway book you always tell people you’ve read rather than paying attention to all the political speech. Everything Orwell said about those people was on the nose. Do something. Don’t just donate and walk away. Dig an Arab Spring in your own backyard. Drink a beer on the Great Wall of China. Take a shot at dating a supermodel (not a stripper). Learn to shoot pool like Minnesota Fats. Ride your bike naked across the Salt Flats. Just make enough money to put away for yourself and spend the rest on yourself and maybe a couple others that make you happy with their company. Don’t make any more people if you don’t really have to and be a little selfish. Don’t give up on shame. That’s what makes a Kardashian a Kardashian. Also, listen to a lot of good music, watch a lot of good movies, read a lot of good books and clip your toenails. Here’s the the class of 2015! Hazzahhhhhh!”
Wisely and thankfully, I will never be asked to deliver one of these.
If that didn’t do it for you, here are 10 others that should:
1. David Foster Wallace “This Is Water” – I have a copy of this that I read once a year. I am a better person for about 3 weeks after I read it and then I forget. I should read it every 3 weeks.
2. Stephen Colbert – the Jonathan Swift of our time, no doubt.
3. John F. Kennedy – The John F. Kennedy of his time.
4. Conan O’Brien – my namesake
5. Nora Ephron – Google has her listed as an American journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer, director, and blogger. That’s probably 6 more things than the majority of us.
6. Steve Jobs – apples.
7. Lewis Black – good use of anger
8. Jeff Bezos – Everywhere
9. Kurt Vonnegut – RIP
10. Patti Smith – Rock and/or Roll
Are there any we missed? One you have found inspirational from a lesser known figure? We’d love to know about it.
Best of luck Class of 2015!!!