"Some Dork’s Speech for Graduates"

August 20, 2013

One time (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 and unkind, 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 it gave me the shits for months. I shot a hockey puck at a girl I liked, and missed. Once, a nervous-hair-chewing girl came to town, and moved away, and I was kind of kind to her when she was around, but mostly she wasn’t; I think that’s because I was selfish.

See, 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. I’m using stories as a metaphor because I’m an author, so that’s all I know.

Being the hero of your own story makes being kind tough, because who gives a shit about the nervous-hair-chewing girl, right? You’re the hero. Still, as we get older, our reflexes dull and we can’t play FPS games anymore, so instead we play casual Facebook games and give all our money to Gameloft, and Zynga, and others. We slow down and lose our faculties. We can’t tell jokes anymore. We realize through endless microtransactions that we were, after all, not the lead of the story at all.

And like that, this cruel, inhuman modern life grinds you down into dust. But it something like fairy dust. And if you have kids, you’ll sprinkle them with it with every lesson and every story you pass on. Many of you have decades of the stuff on you, and inside you. You’re even breathing it in right now, your parents’ lives. See, they live on through you, and you’ll live on through your children, in an endless cycle of reincarnation through fairy dust.

I’d say “don’t be a dick”, but some Trekkie nerd already made that speech, so I’ll just say this: In 80 years or so, I’ll be 134, probably with robot legs, and laser eyes, and a cyberbrain, and a lot of cats. Hopefully by that time, some of you will have become kinder, because you’re all a bunch of dicks right now. I can tell. I used to be one of you. 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, now get the fuck out.