Some words to all the upcoming graduates

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, May 13, 2015

First, let me apologize.

That isn’t an easy thing for a man to do. Men are much better at crowing than admitting wrongs.

I don’t want to apologize for the graduation speech I’m about to give.

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What I want to apologize for is the lateness in getting my high school graduation thank-you notes sent out.

I’ve been meaning to mail them, but I was out of town and then I caught a cold.

I will post them soon. I’m pretty sure.

So my advice to you, graduates, is to try and get those thank-you notes sent out within a few years or hire an airplane to pull a banner reading, “Thank you,” through the sky. If you get enough money as graduation gifts, you might add your name to that banner.

You have been to the prom land, and now an unfortunate accident has happened. You’ve graduated. You’ve outlived your welcome here. You’ve become vaguely overeducated. You’ve been here since Hector was a pup. Being a senior was bodacious, but you didn’t get any senior discounts and it’s not as cool as being senior vice-president in charge of digital marketing implementation and stuff.

Congratulations on getting through the easiest part of your life. Now you can grow a mullet, allow your unibrow to go wild or get that pony you’ve always wanted.

Are you ready for the next step? It doesn’t matter. You’ll need to take it whether you’re ready or not.

Here is the part of the speech where I’m supposed to tell you things that you won’t remember. Much of life consists of sitting around while someone talks to you about things you’re not interested in hearing about.

The longer you live, the smaller the proportion of your life you will have spent in school.

You can never have too many cellphone chargers.

If you are tall, you will bump your head.

Crummy jobs are a rite of passage.

Wisdom is overrated. Look how well your parents have done without any.

Don’t become emotionally involved with a font.

You will need to learn to speak up and to shut up. And you will need to learn when to do each.

You could be president of the United States one day, but don’t worry about it. It’s unlikely to happen unless your last name is Bush.

Honeycrisp apples are the crème de la crème of the genus Malus. That’s useful information right there.

Keep learning things. You will need to do that because you will keep forgetting things. If you can say, “I don’t know,” you have learned more than a good portion of our population.

Never buy a used car with a vinyl roof.

It’s important that a speaker include a story about a teacher who made a difference in his life. Mine was Mrs. Johnson. She told me that it was more important to have nice clothes than to have a nice spouse. She said that she could go many more places without a spouse than she could without clothes.

This heartwarming story should be followed by a bit of useful knowledge. It is “just deserts” not “just desserts.”

You graduate from and you graduate to. When you walk away, you walk towards.

Dr. Seuss is often quoted in graduation speeches. And for good reason. “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”

That is even better than what Gandhi said when he told us to be the change we want to see in the world. I think Gandhi also advised us to clip our toenails regularly.

As Mother Teresa said to me, “Go away.” I think each of us can find some meaning in that.

Stop on red. Go on green.

Have a gratifying graduation. You are done and dusted.


Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.