Well, I’m back from a grueling weekend of travel. We basically spent all of Friday and all of Sunday either driving or flying. We were delayed yesterday in Chicago because of the weather, and it wasn’t fun taking a little puddle jumper prop plane to Grand Rapids with storm systems all around. That plane bounced around the sky like a hyperactive child.
The graduation ceremony was typical of graduation ceremonies, except my big brother was involved and that was cool. We yelled so loudly that the president of the university laughed and asked my brother if he had a third of the audience there for him. His response was, “That isn’t even a third of my family”.
I think I’m far too cynical to sit through graduation speeches without the desire to heckle. Despite the hyperbolic pretensions of the commencement speakers, who always seem to be prepping for a career giving motivational seminars to Pizza Hut employees, there is hardly a word spoken in them that applies to even 1/10th of the graduating class. The vast majority of them are not exemplars of passion and integrity, they are more likely just people who trudged along in a degree program so they can get a job in a field they are indifferent to at best and sometimes actively despise. And no, Mr. Motivational Speaker Wannabe, they are not going to “change the world” because of their overwhelming virtuousness, nor are they going to “apply the lessons in leadership and service” that their (mostly dull and almost certainly bored) professors allegedly instilled in them. Most of them are going to get jobs they don’t like, marry spouses they are ultimately ambivalent about, raise children they barely pay attention to, and spend most of their days in the fevered pursuit of conspicuous consumption. They will have a closet full of wrinkle-free slacks, a pantry full of processed foods and diet coke, a house full of bad furniture, and a mind full of treasured myths by which they think they run their life, which will of course really be run by advertising agencies and bureaucrats. If there is even a single one among the 1400 or so that graduated who ever entertains an original thought or contributes something other than taxes to the human community, it will be a shock. On the other hand, I may just still be cranky from jet lag.