Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Graduation Speech

April 15, 2008

My friend Jackie has been given the honor of speaking at the graduation ceremony as she receives her Master’s degree. Trouble is, she’s been writing so much lately on her thesis that she’s a little short on inspiration. So she asked me to ghost-write something, which I’m happy to do. This is a first draft:

الجيش الاسرائيلي الذي ينفذ عملية توغل الثلاثاء في بلدتي القرارة ووادي السلقا في جنوب قطاع غ الجيش الاسرائيلي الذي ينفذ عملية توغل الثلاثاء في بلدتي القرارة ووادي السلقا في جنوب قطاع غ الجيش الاسرائيلي الذي ينفذ عملية توغل الثلاثاء في بلدتي القرارة ووادي السلقا في جنوب قطاع غ– …oh, sorry. So sorry. I taught myself Arabic when I was living in Cairo, Egypt a few years ago. Now sometimes when I’m nervous, I lapse back. Please accept my apologies.

What I was saying was what an honor it is to be here on this important day. I wanted to congratulate all of the graduates, and to welcome all of our honored guests, and to thank the amazing faculty and administrators for all of their contributions to our education.

But let’s get real, shall we? Most of you graduates got here by doing as little as possible, most of our families are a pain in the neck, and most of the faculty have been justifying their own existence while we do all of the work. And I’m wondering if the administration is the reason that we’re all carrying so much debt right now.

And hey, while we’re being honest, let’s let the reality continue to fall. Raise your hand if you’re a Reading Specialist. Word. Okay, now raise your hand if you know how to read. See that, yo? Now you ungrateful, self-important smarties know who to thank… Most of you are here today because you are so intelligent, and because you’ve learned so much. But are any of you here today without the ability to read? No, I didn’t think so. You can thank me later.

The greatest Reading Specialist, of course, is Pamela S.. She is an educator in Iowa, and she often teaches kids to read while sleeping. What I mean is, both she and her student will be asleep during naptime, and when the kid wakes up, he’s reading ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. Boo-yah! I know it sounds fantastic, but it’s just another day in her life.

I’m no slouch, of course. Where I come from, half of the first-graders don’t even speak English, much less know which way to hold a book. But does that even put a kink in my stride? I don’t think so. In a couple of months, they’re not only talking about being President someday, they’re reading better than the President!! (Did she say that out loud? Oh, yeah, I think she did!)

So on this day, I want to thank the faculty, who did their best to discourage us and doubt us as we guessed at what they wanted from us. It’s so fulfilling to realize that we had better ideas than you all along. I want to thank the students, who hung together and who tried to do their best to derail their classmates’ success. Congratulations; your success is so much brighter when contrasted against your classmates’ failures. But most of all, I want to thank the good people who cooked and cleaned and cut the grass. They are the ones who know about life, and love, and what’s important. And they aren’t even here for us to thank (though I’m sure they’ll be by later to clean up after us).

Yo. It’s been real. Jackie, out!

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4 Responses to “Graduation Speech”

  1. kate says:

    WHOA. I wanna be there when Jackie delivers that speech.

  2. P3T3RK3Y5 says:

    thanks for writting it mike.

    i say it’s ready to go honey –

    bring it!

  3. Jackie says:

    Waaaahooooo! My work is all done for me. Thanks, Mike! You’re the BEST.

  4. Ryan says:

    Speech fo da ages. Lemme know if ya need help with delivery and gestures Jack.

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