Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where is the bar?

Saturday morning, we attended commencement. It was a joyous (though long) occasion, made even longer by the fact that the keynote speaker forgot the cardinal rule that applies to commencement speakers:

It's not about YOU and YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, you droning, monotone asshole.

No one cares. Everyone is there to celebrate what the graduates have accomplished. Your job is to keep it short (under ten minutes, preferably), sweet and congratulatory. To prolong your speech is to piss everyone off, prevent them from acquiring a bit of the hair of the dog (there were some truly monster hangovers amongst the undergrads -- I saw someone barf into their mortarboard)) and delay luncheon reservations (Great Aunt Edna wants to hit that buffet harder than Grant hit Richmond, and she gets dangerously cranky when her blood sugar gets low). All you have to do is hit the salient points:
  • "You've accomplished a lot in four years!" - "Your liver capacities have grown to gargantuan proportions, you've smoked a one-ton bale of weed and banged everything within campus limits."
  • "Your families should be justifiably proud!" -- "That you did not get arrested, maimed or killed during any of your epic 'tarded adventures."
  • "You've got a bright future ahead of you!" -- "Even if you're broke as a mofo and will probably be moving in to mom and dad's basement."
  • "You've invested in a great financial future for yourself and guaranteed yourself monetary comfort!" -- "Even if you're headed in to the worst job market in years and have no applicable skills."
The guy droned on for forty-five minutes. Every time we saw light at the end of the tunnel ("To wrap this up,..." "In conclusion,..." "I don't want to drag on,...") he'd come up with another ten points to mention. AUGH. 

The Chancellor -- wielder of the ceremonial university mace -- was seen to caress the weapon contemplatively on more than one occasion. (I was rooting for her to lay about with it and crack a few skulls.) Finally, three members of the Board of Trustees cleared their throats at once (it sounded like a Rottweiler growling -- and he wrapped up rather abruptly.

Seriously. When you give a speech, plan it out beforehand, so as not to wander hither and yon pointlessly, and time that shit, so your audience isn't ready to rend you limb from limb. This is sound advice no matter what the venue.


  1. Most of us only have to sit through a handful of those speeches.

    You, on the other hand, have to endure at lest one a year. So you get to hear a lot of sucky commencement speeches.

  2. We the Cadets invite our speakers, Had two our senior year. Mark Clark and some other guy. They were told 15 minutes each. They were also told we would pull the power to the Mic if they went over. M. Clark was actually funny, the other guy just some pol named Hollings.

  3. Mrs Crucis finished her year yesterday at her college's graduation. Only one Doctorate this year (it's a small college.) She was on stage and her task was to call the names and hand out the scrolls. The actual degrees, diplomas and other awards are mailed separately.

    I begged off as I did last year. After the first five or so, it all gets very monotonous.

  4. Meh- I get to fly to California tomorrow to see my daughter graduate up in Sacramento... I'm dreading it, because of the speeches...

  5. We did out colleges first one outside for my masters. The guy went on and on. People passed out from the heat. The next year my daughter graduated, she told me that she was informed if the speech went to long there would be technical difficulties withe the mike.

  6. Congrats, NFO. My daughter dropped out during her Sophomore year and got married. Now she's started again working towards a nursing degree.

    It's a much more difficult task at 35 with three kids and a hubby.

    Please pass our congratulations on to her.

  7. Good Rotties don't growl.
    They clear their throats.

    I think there should be a half dozen rottweilers in the front row of every boring speech.


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