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Graduation Proclamation - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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May 1st, 2005


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02:55 pm - Graduation Proclamation
As it is the season, and we were just discussing it on TWoP, I am going to post my graduation speech from high school. (Flashback: end of senior year, May 1999.) I was salutatorian (or, as my mom called it, "saledictorian").

I remember it every now and then, and wonder how much of the advice I gave I actually followed. I feel vaguely hypocritical. But some of it I think I have held to. And it's all generally good advice, even if I haven't followed it as well as I should have.

It's full of ludicrous Sunilisms, Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts, and inside jokes that none of you will get.

I think people liked my speech. My mom complained that I spoke too fast, and maybe I did, but of course she had to complain about something.

After the ceremony, when we were picking up our diplomas and whatnot, Sue Alice came up to me and said (and I misquote until the last two words), "Sunil, I loved your speech. A lot of people probably didn't get it, but it was so you."

And I'll always remember that, because it was just about the best compliment I could have gotten about it.



I know that the people who know me have come to expect a degree of oddity from me, but I assure you that backwards speech my giving be not will I. In fact, my speech is pretty normal...well, as normal as you can expect from me.

Finally, we’re all going to be turned loose upon the world, practically free to do whatever we want. Is that a scary thought or what? For the world, I mean. The world needn't worry, though, because we have received the best high school education the United States has to offer. We've been trained well. That doesn't mean you’re ready to face life, though. I’ve still got some good tips for you.

Every good speech needs a weird analogy, and, although this speech may not be good, it has one. Be like Gumby. Gumby is very flexible, and he’s green. Well, you don’t have to do the green part, but be flexible. When life deals you lemons, make lemonade. And what if life deals you apples? Make apple juice...or apple pie, or apple cider, or, well, you get the picture. Always work with what you have rather than wanting something else. Be creative. Think out of the box. And while you're at it, think out of the trapezoid. Instead of a trap door, what about a trap window? The guy looks out it, and if he leans too far, he falls out. Wait. I guess that's like a regular window. And don't ever settle for less than what you think you can do. I've got high hopes for every single one of you....except you, there in the back. Just kidding. Always challenge yourself. In fact, it's a good idea to set impossible goals for yourself. In the back of your mind, you really doubt you can accomplish them. I plan to either win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry or find a cure for cancer, whichever comes first. Or both. Obviously, these are pretty lofty aspirations. The thing about an impossible goal is that if you don’t achieve it, you don’t feel that bad. But if you do, then, well, it wasn't really an impossible goal at all, now was it? So, that totally ruins my point. Anyway, graduates, throughout life remember to strive, to seek, to find, and to have a friend named Pokey.

Actually, I had another weird analogy that went something like this: "To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other." But I really couldn't relate that to anything, so I was supposed to cut it out, but I guess I forgot. So another good tip is: don’t forget things.

If I learned anything in high school, it was that my brain is too full of other information to be able to hold my schedule, too. I think everyone should get one of those daily planner things and write everything down in it. Even write "Brush teeth" and "Put on clothes" because eventually you'll start forgetting everything. Procrastination is a very bad thing. Procrastination has caused me to think that if the day weren’t only twenty-four hours long, maybe I'd get more work done. Daily planners’ll solve that problem.

Make sure to read. That's what your eyes are for. Well, actually, they're there for a lot of other reasons, but that just sounded good. Reading will make you smarter, trust me. Oh, and be sure to read Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain because Mrs. Davis, who’s read every book ever written, thinks it's the best book ever, so it’s probably pretty good...from a literary standpoint, that is. Plus, you'll be able to make obscure allusions that no one will understand. The more you read, the more obscure you can get. Also, make sure to write. If you're just thinking, and you dream up this story about, say, a "Polter-Cow," sit down and write it. Leave your mark on the world. Writing is the best way to express yourself, and expressing yourself is a good thing, right? But don’t write "Express yourself" in your daily planner. It'll make you sound like a Madonna fan.

When you get to college, those who are going, just remember that those calculators you have—they do more than play Tetris. I think they also, like, calculate or something. Ah, college. College will be a totally new experience. Remember all those "tardies" we were so worried about? Well, college professors don't even care if you skip class altogether! But you probably should go anyway. You might learn something. And don’t be surprised at how much supposed "Free Time" you have, either. That time isn't free. Your parents are probably shelling out big bucks for that time, so you better do something with it. This is where that daily planner might come in handy. Just pencil in 4:00 to 4:01 for "Fun" and study the rest of the time. Schedule in some sleep, too. I heard sleep's pretty good. I wouldn't know. I haven’t had much of it this year.

And now here are a few things I would like to tell everyone that might help later in life:

Everybody is not free to wear sunscreen.

If you’re ever in a rental Suburban, don't put your seatbelt in places it doesn’t belong.

Be kind to your fellow human being.

If you're ever selling your house, and some people come by, and a big rat comes out and he's dragging the rat trap because it didn't quite kill him, just tell the people he's your pet and that's a trick you taught him.

Tomorrow is just two days away from becoming yesterday.

If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.

Never be too proud to ask for help.

If you see a herd of stampeding elephants coming in your direction, it's best to get out of the way.

Writing a speech is not as easy as it sounds. And before you start criticizing my speech, just remember that I wrote it on the way here. I really need to get one of those daily planners.

Now for the "thank you's"—-thank you to the extraordinary faculty of Lamar for giving us a strong base for our future; thank you to the parents for encouraging us and sticking by us throughout the years; thank you to all the friends and relatives who have come here from other cities, states, countries, and/or planets just to see us walk across this stage. Oh, and thank you to the janitors for cleaning up the underclassmen’s mess so that we could have a clean walkway between classes.

Well, about now the music should start to run me off the stage. I've heard that it's a tradition for the salutatorian to say "May the Force be with you," and I know it's timely, but I'm just not going to say—-oh, darn. Now I want everyone to think of their favorite quote-—it doesn’t matter where it comes from—-just think of the quote that defines you, the quote I should say. Okay, do you have a quote in your head? I leave you with that quote. Well, actually, I don't. I leave you with the words of Andy Warhol: "They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." So, "Change things." Stick that in your daily planner.
Current Mood: lazylazy
Current Music: Butchies - Trouble

(17 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:spectralbovine
Date:May 1st, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC)
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" If you’re ever in a rental Suburban, don't put your seatbelt in places it doesn’t belong"? What the-?
True story. I was in a rental Suburban, and I couldn't find the place to put the belt buckle, so I stuck it in a plastic slot it seemed like it might fit into. And then when it came time to get out for lunch, I couldn't get it out, no matter how hard I pulled. Mrs. McNew was about to break out a knife to cut the strap, but I finally freed myself.

And how do you feel now that you know that a daily planner doesn't actually solve anything?
It solves some things. Not that it does much good, of course.
(Deleted comment)
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From:jeeperstseepers
Date:May 2nd, 2005 02:05 am (UTC)
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I was in a rental Suburban, and I couldn't find the place to put the belt buckle, so I stuck it in a plastic slot it seemed like it might fit into. And then when it came time to get out for lunch, I couldn't get it out, no matter how hard I pulled.

Not precisely what came to mind when I read the advice about seatbelts, but muuuch less disturbing.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 2nd, 2005 02:07 am (UTC)
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Dirty!
From:fishinginthemud
Date:May 2nd, 2005 04:48 am (UTC)
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I don't know how the hell I missed that.
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From:kibarika
Date:May 1st, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
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I'm always a little bitter I wasn't salutatorian or valedictorian (we graduated the same year by the way), not because I wanted the grades for it (I was 10th in a class of 300 and that was plenty satisfying) but because my speech would have been so cool. And very short.

Your speech definitely beats my valedictorian's one, which was just, "If you want to be like me, work hard, and have [long list of people he thanks - like, 10 minutes long] in your life." And I thought, "What if I DON'T want to be like you, huh? What if I don't want to know five languages, and get a $20,000 Coca-Cola scholarship, and be a genius scientist? What then, buddy?"

And I don't even remember the salutatorian's speech, or even which of the two people who were always vying for it actually got it.

At my boyfriend's brother's graduation, the valedictorian (at a private school that costs about $15,000/year) gave a speech all about her anorexia. And how she wished that instead of having As, she was healthy. Not my favorite speech ever.

So, yours is the best I've heard probably since I was a freshman in high school, when the valedictorian asked us to switch shoes with our neighbor.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 1st, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC)
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Heh. Thanks.

Hey! You're not supposed to be using the computer except for checking for e-mail from Will!
[User Picture]
From:kibarika
Date:May 1st, 2005 08:36 pm (UTC)
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I know, I know.
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From:alliterator
Date:May 2nd, 2005 06:26 am (UTC)
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Ha! Icon love!
[User Picture]
From:alliterator
Date:May 1st, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
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Dude, this is like so awesome. I was Class of 2004, but our valedictorian and salutatorian had just really boring speechs. And I think one of them was really religous, because I remember someone saying something about Jesus. Anyway, it was boring and I almost fell asleep. I wish somebody said a speech like yours - it quite reminded me of Groucho Marx.

I love this line:
Actually, I had another weird analogy that went something like this: "To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other." But I really couldn't relate that to anything, so I was supposed to cut it out, but I guess I forgot. So another good tip is: don’t forget things.

Though the speeches at my school were boring, I do have an interesting valedictorian speech to talk about: my uncle taught gifted students at a really messed-up high school. It was so messed-up in fact that the gym teacher was molesting cheerleaders and everyone knew about it. The valedictorian and salutatorian were both in my uncle's class since they were really smart and they showed their speechs to my uncle, who heartily approved them. They were tirades against the entire school and its faculty - and my uncle said that during the speech every student was nodding their heads, while the principal looked really mad. Eventually, I think she cut off the salutatorians speech and from then on, their speechs have to be approved by the principal first.
From:fishinginthemud
Date:May 1st, 2005 10:33 pm (UTC)
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This speech is awesome. I hate you. So does our valedictorian. Or he would, anyway, if he knew about it.
From:dionysos_loop
Date:May 2nd, 2005 11:53 am (UTC)
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lovely speech. In England, we never have speeches, or -dictorians, which makes life all the more dull, if not more british.
We were given our 'record of achievement' folders at age 16, by a "real celebrity" as out head of school put it. The celebrity in question was a man who'd lost the quarter-finals of 'Gladiators' ( sad 90's TV show), and this was supposed to inspire us. I felt like making some very uncomplimentary remarks about how inspiring it was to have your ass land flat on a sloped travelator whilst clad in neon lurex.
"hey, Loop, I want to be just like him! When I get my record of achievement and land on the tills at Tesco's, I'll show them the 'gladiator' spirit!"

But the part about seatbelts does raise a grin. I did wonder....*g*
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 2nd, 2005 02:54 pm (UTC)
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Loop? Your speaker was Loop from American Gladiators?!?! Ha! Were Nitro and Thunder there too? Oh man.
From:dionysos_loop
Date:May 3rd, 2005 10:53 am (UTC)
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sadly, no. I think he was called Clive, and he was an estate agent from Redmire. I was merely mimicking what my best friend said to me on that day...( we had 'Gladiators', too. Wolf was my favorite ...slightly obvious there...but Pheonix was a pretty close second)
[User Picture]
From:electricmonk
Date:May 2nd, 2005 12:17 pm (UTC)
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Psh. You and your posting things I've read before. ENTERTAIN ME MORE.
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