Vol. 3, Issue 17, June 28, 2005
Commencement Address 2005
(The following address was delivered at the prestigious Hackwood College on June 25, where the Editor received an honorary doctorate in pseudo-journalism.)
Young ladies and Gentlemen, it is always a Pleasure to see so many of you sitting Still and neatly Attired. It is Almost like spending an evening at the Opera, but with fewer Octogenarians. And less interesting Hats. But that is another Story.
The overdressed Gentleman on the Stage here, to my Left, is about to hand you all some sheets of Paper. Since he was kind enough to give me one a few moments ago, I can tell you with Authority that they are very Handsomely inscribed indeed, and smell faintly of Cognac: but then so does your college President, so there is no great mystery There, I think. It is a much more Sophisticated smell than that produced by Tequila and beer, which is what I am detecting from the front row of the Audience. It is the difference between Experience and youth, one which perhaps you shall come to Appreciate in the coming years.
Many of you are Absolutely Delighted to be sitting here in this scorching sun, feeling that this day represents the Culmination of the previous four years of Effort. Many of you have had your eyes on this Prize, and nothing Else, for the past several years. For those of you who focused Diligently on this day, the day you would Leave these manicured lawns and charming faux-gothic Colonnades for the real world and leave your studies Behind, I can say with Confidence: what an utter and Remarkable waste of Time!
A waste! With all the questions of the World before you, all the Resources that a well-invested college Endowment and several hundred thousand Dollars of Tuition can offer, you have spent the Whole Time looking for the Exit. It is Analogous to dining at a fine Restaurant and spending the while eagerly waiting for the Check.
"But surely," you may say, "surely the study of Beowulf and postmodern postprandial deconstructionist Politics shall have little relevance to the Real World!" To which I can first only say, never underestimate Beowulf, youngsters! But more generally, it is not what you learn, but how you learn it that is the True strength of your education. This estimable Institution has been trying these past four years to teach you How To Think, in case you have not Noticed.
Not What to think, mind you, but How to use your Brains in a manner both logical and Productive. The questions you Examined here may be Obscure and Abstruse; and you are Correct that the history of the Thirty Years War is not likely to impact your Job application at the Brokerage (unless you are applying at Hapsburg Merrill Lynch. But I digress.) It is in examining the Deeper questions, the riches of Academia, that you fortify yourself to cope with the real-life struggles at the Brokerage. Where, might I add, short Knickerbockers are not an accepted part of the Dress Code. Yes, I am talking to you in the Fifth Row back there.
That said, there does come a time when one must step Forth from these hallowed halls. I now see among you not a few Smug smiles at my words - the Literature majors among you, no doubt, or perhaps those of you who have made a Career out of undergraduate studies and are now departing after seven or eight Years, and under Duress at that. I know your type quite Well, for there is one sleeping on the Couch in my News-room at the present time. Eternal apprenticeship is not a wise choice Either, lads! The world Does beckon, and sooner or later your esteemed Parents will require you to leave your Couches and Divans and "get a Job," as the saying goes, and however Awkward that might be. Here is a Tip: wear Pants when you leave the house. It improves one's social position Considerably.
I can see that a Lot of you are not finding this advice particularly Helpful, to which I can only say, if you waited until Now to learn the purpose of your Education and how to proceed from Here, you need a bit of help in the Planning department. Nevertheless, I do leave you with some words to live by: Always buy the Good Scotch. Dress for the weather you Want, not the weather you Have. Read everything, but do not Believe everything. Store your harpoons and rum Securely when Sailors are about. Never under-estimate your Friends, your Parents, the IRS, or yourself. And finally, did I mention the Scotch? Oh, good.
Godspeed to you all, and do not lose your Diplomas! Otherwise, you shall have to go through College all over again.