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August 20, 2013

Someone Else’s Speech for Graduates

Filed under: humor,living,thoughts,writing — Alfonso Surroca @ 9:34 pm

One time (right now) I read this article about some guy giving a college graduation speech. It’s this speech. And then I rewrote it as my own speech, which I prefer better, because I’m young and selfish, just like the guy giving the original speech expects me to be.

What are old people good for, besides ridicule? Tales of regret.

Once, I was poor, and it was awful; once, I worked at a slaughterhouse, and it wasn’t. I’ve imbibed poop-water in a distant land, and shot a hockey puck at a girl I fancied. Once, a mousey nervous-hair-chewing new girl came to town, and moved away, and I was kind of kind to her when she was around, though mostly she wasn’t; that’s because I was selfish. Everyone thinks they’re the invincible lead in their own story within a greater world; it’s not that we don’t care, we just can’t see outside our stories.

It makes being kind tough, but as we get older, our reflexes dull and we can’t play FPS games anymore, so instead we play casual Facebook games, and we learn to slow down, and be less selfish, and give our money to Gameloft, and Zynga, and others. We realize through endless microtransactions that we’re more of a minor cog in the machine than the lead of the story.

And like that, life grinds you down into dust, but it’s like fairy dust. And if you have kids, you sprinkle them with it. Many of you have decades of the stuff on you, and inside you; you’re breathing it in right now, your parents’ lives.

I’d say “don’t be a dick”, but some Trekkie already made that speech, so I’ll just say this: In 80 years or so, I’ll be 134 with robot legs and laser eyes and a lot of cats, and hopefully some of you will have come to the same realizations I have and become kind, and when you are as kind as the Element of Kindness, and we’re all living in space, drop me a line, and I’ll say “I told you so”, and we can arm-wrestle with our cybernetic future arms and toss back a space brew or seven. Cheers.

May 25, 2008

Old Words About A Sunday Morning

Filed under: personal,thoughts,writing — Tags: , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 10:48 am

One day, years ago, I wrote the following, stream-of-consciousness style, immediately upon waking. Something about crapping out a sort of story out of my subconscious while still in a half-asleep daze makes me smile. Here it is:

She wore a robe of burgundy and gold. Her home was made of felt and porcelain, satin and ceramic. It was too small, as if caving in on itself, and stuffy, though not suffocating. I felt as if I weren’t there.

“The doddering old fool”, I heard from my left. Out of a cupboard-like cubbyhole of a room came a slinking, slimy hag. Pot calling the kettle black, indeed.

“She’s dropped her wishes,” the old lady continued, as if I knew her, what she spoke of, and that it was somehow of great importance. “Go on!” she continued, with more urgency, “pick it up, before she realizes she’s lost it. You don’t expect to get to market empty-handed?”

I was in a dreamlike state, but even from a logical perspective, her words were confounding. Speaking of wishes as a tangible, singular object? Going to market? None of this made sense to me, and this house was beginning to feel like an attic in a dollhouse.

I glanced down the hall and saw a small staff made of white ceramic, delicately painted with complex scribbles of gold paint, and with a bright pale blue robin’s egg—or what outwardly seemed like one. No, a stone with an egg-like appearance. As the cupboard-dwelling hag vanished into the ether and her babbling ceased, the hall became bright, and a draft of a spring morning wafted in.

It was sunny, and glowing; it was Sunday morning.

I picked up the object which purportedly held the wishes of the lady of the house.

She wore burgundy and gold, and held a gold and blue and white staff of wishes, and now she was gone.

“Sunday morning tea and cake, everything methodically laid out.” As I ambled downstairs, that’s what I thought. Rattan chairs with pillows, tea cups of the most ornate sort, delicately prepared pastries, laid out on golden tray, and a view of a wood outside. Everything was methodically prepared.

I sat down, and I ate the pastries, and I drank the tea—both cups—and made my way outside.

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