Even though some of you young people may have already gone through your commencement exercises, I feel I should throw my two cents into the mix.
The average graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells a gymnasium full of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that individuality is the key to success.
I don’t feel average is good enough.
So, iGen, Gen Z or Gen Alpha people, whatever you all are called, I have given myself the distinct honor of delivering the commencement address in this column to you, the graduating class of 2019.
As I look out over your shining faces, I am reminded of the famous words of the great American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, “Eventually your skin will clear up and your faces won’t shine so much.”
As is so often the case with great thinkers, they fantasize about the truth. Skin is a life-long enemy of all Generations. It has thousands of hardy zit cells that will continue to function long after the rest of your organs have become elderly and decrepit. People have been known to break out with embarrassing blemishes at their own funerals.
But postmortem acne is not what you, young people, should be thinking about today as you prepare to go out into the world, leaving behind the hallowed halls of your school.
Yes, young people, you must learn from the wisdom of your elders, and if there is one piece of advice that I would offer you, it is this: Burn your yearbook right now. Because otherwise, years from now, feeling nostalgic, you’ll open it up to your picture and this super nerd will be staring back at you.
If your children happen to see it, they will immediately plead with you to tell them they are adopted.
It is a well-known fact that no matter how good your yearbook picture looks now, after 15 or 20 years of total darkness and being pressed up against somebody else’s photo, it will morph into a humiliating picture of a complete goober.
This is true of everybody world-wide. I definitely remember looking normal in high school, but there it was, this photo of me looking like a junior life insurance salesman wearing glasses styled by “Bob’s Eyewear for the Intellectually Impaired.”
If the U.S. government would quietly contact Vladimir Putin and threaten to publish his yearbook picture in major newspapers globally, he would drop his government’s attempts to interfere in the 2020 elections like a 300-pound maggot.
A few years ago, my high school alumni newsletter decided to publish graduation pictures of members from my graduating class, and I was unlucky enough to be chosen.
Afterwards, people I hadn’t heard from in years emailed me with heartwarming thoughtful notes.
“Dave,” they said. “I forgot what a Dweeb you were!”
Or, “Who gave you that haircut, Bigfoot?”
If you do anything after graduation, get rid of your yearbook picture and save yourself any future harassment from friends, classmates and relatives.
One other piece of advice before I finish: Remember that your families are extremely proud of you. You can’t imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing at this very moment. This would be a most opportune time to ask for money.
Thank you, and good luck in the real world!
P.S. Before I forget, I want to give a big congratulations to all 8 of last week’s National Speling Bee Co-Champians.