Graduation Speech

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As you inhale the aggregate odor of your senior class for the last time, I’m sure there are many burning questions racing through your minds: “Will I find my place in the world?” If you’re lucky. “Am I really going to graduate a virgin?” Yeah, probably. “Who is that incredibly handsome young man addressing us, and how long do we have the privilege of listening to him?” Howdy, Andrew Gonzales here, and hopefully not long; I realize that your robes are making you sweat, your thongs are making you uncomfortable, and my use of the words “virgin” and “thongs” is making your parents sweaty and uncomfortable.

I’m not up here to talk about sweaty undergarments, though. I’m not even up here because of my charm and good looks. I have been granted this lovely opportunity to speak to compensate for the misery that went into the earning of the title “valedictorian”, and all the misery that will envelope the rest of my life as a result of it. Whenever I can’t figure out how the pump works at the gas station, I’ll hear, “And you were valedictorian?” If I try to pull on a door that says push, it will be, “You were valedictorian?” Get caught picking my nose on the jumbo-tron at a baseball game, and the jeers will assault me: “Hey, jackass, were you really valedictorian?”

The purpose of a graduation speech, as it has been laid out before me, is not to complain, though, but rather to bore the hell out of you. That’s why my speech will last about four hours and seventeen minutes, filled with uninspiring poetry readings, bland quotes, meaningless anecdotes and the traditional candied assortment of shameless clichés and platitudes. Of course, I do realize that my speech is a compulsory formality, and that, in all likelihood, nothing I say will ...

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...s and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush yadda yadda yadda. But, most importantly, have a sense of humor and cherish this gift of spasms and primitive noises as a part of human nature, before you age to the point where your heart will stop if you laugh. Laugh at life’s ironies and disappointments. Laugh at your society, your friends, and yourself. Laugh at Carrot Top even, not because he is funny, but because he thinks he is funny, which is so pathetic and absurd that it actually is funny. I’m going to end with a fitting quote. It’s not by Jefferson or Emerson as is customary in graduation speeches, but by the Harvard graduate, talk-show host, and comedian, Conan O’Brien. “If you can laugh at yourself loud and hard every time you fall, people will think you’re drunk.” Thank you Northglenn High class of 2006. I hope to laugh at you all again in ten years.

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