We’ve once again entered the season of commencement addresses. Colleges and universities throughout the land are bestowing honorary degrees on everyone from Stephen Hawking (Harvard) to Sammy “The Bull” Gravano (Princeton). With each degree comes an inspirational address to the young generation.

This year Nelson Mandela (Brown) spoke of overcoming adversity. Pat Buchanan (Notre Dame) spoke about creating adversity for others to overcome. Robert McNamara (Columbia) talked about the lessons of Viet Nam, while Ron Popeil (George Washington Carver Telemarketing Institute) gave a fabulous oration on the role of beef dehydrators in US domestic policy.

There were several unusual speeches. Actress Parker Posy (MIT) gave a speech on “New Theories of Molecular Structure” entirely in the character of Wilma Flinstone. George W. Bush (Yale) accidentally picked up a copy of “Jack LaLane’s Autobiography” instead of the speech which was written for him. He then spoke for 45 minutes on the importance of jumping jacks. It wasn’t until he began demonstrating the proper way to do a squat thrust that the secret service intervened.

I myself have never been invited to give a commencement address. Although I did get feelers from my old alma mater Temple, who sent me the following letter.

Dear Daylin:

We want to be clear. We don’t want you to speak at commencement.
We don’t want you to be at commencement. We don’t even like when you say commencement for fear you are somehow referring to ours. Best of luck, and don’t tell people you went here.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY (and everyone in it)
PS: Give generously at endowment time!!

I’m optimistic that their coyness will end next year. In any event, if I were asked to give a commencement address, to inspire a young generation to new levels of…uh…inspiredness, then I would probably say the following:

2001 Commencement Address
By Daylin B. Leach
With help from Roget’s Thesaurus with the big words

Good afternoon graduates. On this fateful day, there are some things you should know.

Stop listening to the Backstreet Boys. They suck.

When a large man with a sickle says, “Get the Hell off my FOOT!!” he often means it.

Very few women are impressed by a guy who makes them pay for dinner on the first date. Find those women, and date them.

It’s possible for one man to change the world. But obviously it’s easier for one man to hang out by the pool, eat fratatas, and complain about Mexicans.

Don’t become obsessed about how much money you have. Become obsessed about how much money your friends have.

I have found it rewarding to take time to do things for others. If Britney Spears needs a back rub, I’ll give it to her. If Britney needs a big ol’ spanking, I’m there. You get the idea.

Courage is rare. And that’s true for a reason. No one ever regretted saying, “Whoa, I’m getting the hell outta here!!”

As for your career, all I can say is do what you love to do. Unless you love moving refrigerators. Then do something else. Don’t be an idiot.

It’s important to keep a positive attitude. Unless you’re in prison. Then it’s more important to keep your drawers up during rec time. A positive attitude is second.

You have been given a fine education here at Raccoon County Community College (I am being realistic about who is going to invite me). Make sure you use it for good. Like Satellite TV Installation for example. Satellite TV is good.

Finally, remember: There is no limit to what you can become. In support of this point, I make just one argument: George W Bush. There…I rest my case. If he can become President of the United States, then there is no reason that the dumbest of you can’t become Absolute Omnipotent Dictator of the Universe. There is no reason why the most lox infested Jewish guy can’t become the next Pontiff, or the one after that, or both. Just because you are graduating from a school whose minimum SAT score for admission is “an integer,” and whose sole professor has a Ph.D. in “Lion Taming,” doesn’t mean you can’t have it all.

I hope you have all found this appropriately inspirational. I will be at the reception if any of you would like to discuss this further. If however you approach me, and I have a cheese cube in my mouth, that’s your cue to back off and take 5 til the tray is empty. Now go out and take on the world! And stay the hell away from my car!!

Tomorrow: How to work the tasteful “Dick Joke” into a eulogy.

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