Al Batt: There was a lot of name-calling during the graduation ceremonies

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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Tales from Exit 22 by Al Batt

Welcome students, parents, teachers and staff of High Falutin High School.

Al Batt

I know one of you has cruelly referred to this esteemed institute of learning as the Buffoon Factory.

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I say, shame on you, Principal Positivity.

You students started school back when all things were unprecedented. It wasn’t that many years ago when you wanted to be a superhero. Now you’re wearing a gown and a mortarboard. Having a brain isn’t for the faint of heart.

A new box of crayons and a sharpened pencil smelled like the beginning. The next thing you knew, your chemistry class introduced you to the world of minor explosions. The brevity of your school experience is evident now. You’ve gotten to where you are by starting where you were.

Graduation speakers are supposed to give advice. Something along the lines that you should be like the server who brings something unexpected, something extra, to the table. You get enough advice. I will not burden you with more advice you won’t remember or that I wouldn’t take. To be frank, I’d have to change my name, but I do give good advice. If you don’t believe me, just ask me. “Look out!” I said to my wife and she narrowly avoided being run over by a five-year-old on a tricycle. And that’s just one example of the good advice I’m capable of dispensing. In general, my advice is to not give advice, but I will pass along the advice given by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) during a grad speech at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois in 1977: “My uncle ordered popovers from the restaurant’s bill of fare. And, when they were served, he regarded them with a penetrating stare. Then he spoke great Words of Wisdom as he sat there on that chair: ‘To eat these things,’ said my uncle, ‘you must exercise great care. You may swallow down what’s solid but you must spit out the air!’ And as you partake of the world’s bill of fare, that’s darned good advice to follow. Do a lot of spitting out the hot air. And be careful what you swallow.”

There, the required thoughtful advice has been covered. That was worthy and, as a bonus, it rhymed.

The collection of words that follows isn’t meant to be advice. They are merely things I’ve learned.

Things will never be the same.

Procrastinators don’t live longer.

The music we grew up with isn’t any better than other music, we just like it more.

It’s OK to eat lunch meat for dinner.

Only fools are certain. I’m certain about that.

Never make snow angels in a dog park.

Moss always grows on the north side of a compass.

It’s OK to not know what prefix means. It’s not the end of the word.

Inacupuncture is ineffective.

Tall people sleep longer.

They don’t make yardsticks any longer.

Never ask a knitter, “Do you know what that’s going to be when it’s finished?”

A GPS teaches us that some things don’t want to be found.

Getting out of bed is a display of enthusiasm.

You will have ungrateful bosses. Be grateful they all aren’t.

Air isn’t free. Buy a bag of potato chips and see.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

If you’re being chased by an angry mob of taxidermists, don’t play dead.

Sometimes I am the problem.

With great power comes a great electric bill.

Reread a favorite children’s book.

Everybody is an expert on something.

If one door opens when another closes, I had a bad contractor.

If I had a dime for every time I’m confused, I’d wonder where all those dimes came from.

I’m infernally grapefruit for autocorrect.

Mosquito repellents wear off before the mosquitoes wear out.

When I was in the third grade, a neighbor girl told me, “Girls go to college to get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.”

No one complains about not having anything to complain about.

Approximately 85% of Americans are terrible at math. Be lad you’re one of the other 25% because that has allowed you to graduate.

Now that you’re all smart and stuff, you can make educated guesses.

You’ll have to go now.

Your brain is full.

Al Batt’s columns appear in the Tribune every Wednesday.