Monday, May 21, 2007

When I Was Commencement Speaker

Well, actually I never was, but I *did* get asked if I would allow myself to be considered for a high school graduation over on the West Side. That seemed to indicate that I was not on the “A” list and, possibly, nowhere near the “B” list, either.

I could not imagine what I would speak about. None of the students would care to hear anything I had to say; they just wanted to get out of there. Unless I was practical and a bit funny, down-to-earth and somehow relating to them. Fortunately, someone more desirable than me was chosen.

Graduation speakers are the last punishment a college can mete out to its students as they leave. If you work in education, the stories abound as new faculty join, or old faculty tell stories of events they have witnessed.

Old men with heavy Spanish accents who mutter into the microphone without ever looking up; well-known people who think you want to know nothing else than them and their exploits; others who think talking for nearly half an hour is just a wonderful speech that will never be forgotten.

Occasionally, some famous person’s graduation speech will make the rounds on the Internet. It’s really not his, it wasn’t at a graduation, but it’s good anyway. Whoever did write it should sell that sort of thing to people who do get caught being asked to talk. We would remember the occasion a lot longer, would enjoy sitting there listening to it, would have nice memories of our graduation day.

2 Comments:

Anonymous cold josh vail said...

The only graduation speech we got was from the principal, Aaron Shefkind on the day of our class picnic........

''Anybody caught with booze will not graduate.''

(So, being kids, as kids will do, we all showed up with booze).

May 22, 2007 10:33 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

My college commencement speaker was the president of the Ford Credit Company. Not Ford Motors, not the Ford Foundation, the Ford Credit Company. Is there such a thing as a G-list?

August 01, 2007 12:10 PM  

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