Thu 13 May 2010
I have prepared this inspirational talk in case I am asked to give the commencement address to the 2010 graduating class of Harvard University…
When I was your age, I thought the world was mine for the taking.
I was going to go forth and seize the day, seize the week, the month, the year. I was going to blaze new trails, scale new heights and live life to its absolute fullest. I was going to to throttle this puny planet.
Then, something remarkable happened. I discovered daytime TV.
I discovered the joys of game shows and sitcom reruns, juicy soaps and incredibly fascinating talk shows. I discovered a universe of entertainment and enjoyment. And for the next 12 years, I sat transfixed by this magical box. My appointment book was TV Guide.From time to time a friend or relative would come by and spray me down with a garden hose to minimize my stench, but for the most part, I was unencumbered by the pressures of the real world. I’d dream of having dream jobs like being deputy to Andy in Mayberry, or living in Hooterville with Arnold Ziffle and Lisa Douglas, or being a brain surgeon on General Hospital, or a brainiac contestant on Jeopardy answering my way to wealth. My life was great and I was unbelievably happy.
Then, unforeseen tragedy struck–– the TV broke and its screen went blank. It took me a week or two before I realized what had happened. At first I thought that the blank screen might just be a new daytime TV concept show, perhaps a minimalist soap with some deep, dark existential message. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. My lifeline had been severed and reality came kicking down the door.
So, I hoisted myself from my couch indentation and took the world’s longest bathroom break. I sheared my knee-length beard, showered with a high pressure garden hose, updated my resume and went looking for a J-O-B.
I got hired, hired, fired, hired, hired, hired, hired, hired, hired, fired, hired, fired and then did my own thing. Eventually I met a couple of other guys and we did our own thing. We’re still doing that thing, along with a lot of other things, with a bunch of other people.
And when I’m deep in the muck, working my way through the mire, doing what needs to be done in a heroic fashion with all the strength and intelligence I can muster, I think one simple thought–– I wonder what’s on TV right now?
So my simple message to you is this: be willing to explore and discover new channels you’ve never seen before. Don’t be afraid to bravely channel surf where you’ve never channel surfed before. Just remember this sage advice: keep a garden hose handy. It’s a good idea.
Class of 2010, this puny planet is yours, ready to be throttled. Enjoy, and thank you.