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The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A truthful commencement address

Yes, graduates, as you leave the hallowed halls of [name of college], you are poised to achieve, and create, and clean, great things.

Those of you graduating from the College of Science and Engineering will blaze new paths in technology, creating mechanical marvels that will earn you vast fortunes with which you will assemble a harem of international supermodels and use to extract sweet, sweet revenge on the beer-swilling fraternity swine that have made your time here a four-year hellish vortex of torment and isolation. Or perhaps you will fester in a cubicle for a few years, burn out and start a comic book shop.

Graduates of the College of Law, you will wage a relentless battle to win equal justice for the voiceless and downtrodden, applying the machinery of democracy and politics to make ours a better society. Or maybe you can tell yourselves this as a distraction from the excruciating pain, as the sulfurous flames of Satan sear your flesh for all eternity.

Graduates of the College of Medicine, you will develop miraculous new treatments to heal the afflicted and bring comfort to the suffering, and also sign H12(1c) insurance reimbursement voucher forms. With patience, skill and determination, you may eventually discover an important new country club with a challenging back nine, and successfully defend some of the many, many malpractice suits that will be brought against you by the Law School graduates.

Graduates of the College of Business, you will grasp their reigns of America's mighty economic engine, using your strategic acumen and analytic skills to create wealth and shareholder value. Later on, when it turns out you may have slightly fudged a little about just how much wealth and shareholder value you actually created, you can blame it on your already-budding drinking problem, and plea bargain your way to that low security lockup in Color.

Graduates of the College of Liberal Arts, you will embark on an important journey of self-discovery and truth seeking. This will abruptly end when your parents decide they would rather spend their money on their own journey, to Arizona, in a Winnebago. After taking the GREs, twice, you will continue this sacred truth-journey in graduate school, and you will eventually discover the surprising truth that HotJobs.com has very few listings for Lacanian deconstructionists. After your M.A. graduation you will suffer the humiliation of working at Starbucks, but at least it has health insurance, and you can secretly sneer at the petit bourgeois customers and their pathetic ignorance of Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.

Graduates of the College of Education, you have been given the sacred responsibility of transferring knowledge to the next generation of children. You have also been given the sacred duty to pay your NEA dues. Other sacred duties include memorizing your local collective bargaining contract and reporting all violations to your local union rep. Oh, and yeah, there is the other sacred duty to lobby and picket as instructed by the local foreman. And, if anybody asks you anything, it’s "for the children." Kapische?

Graduates of the Journalism School, you will write the first draft of history. Or, if the deadline’s really tight, maybe you can download various pieces of the first draft of history from Google and then put your name on it. As a member of the fourth estate you are the nation’s watchdog, and corrupt businessmen and politicians will fear your mighty CTRL-C, CTRL-V. You will be scrupulously fair and unbiased and follow the story wherever it leads, as long as it won’t end up giving ammo to right wing weirdos. While journalism jobs continue to decline, take heart in the fact that yours is a noble calling in which nobody really checks your resume, especially at the New York Times.

As I look out upon you, today’s graduates, your faces aglow with tomorrow's bright promise and this morning’s Jagermeister shots, I cannot help but remember my own college days. All sixty-two of them. Oh, what folderol and frivol we had! Driving to pinafore raids in my raccoon-fur jalopy, stuffing goldfish into phone booths, Rudy Valley on the Victorola, and also the constant amphetamine abuse. These “fads” must sound very “corny” and “squaresville” to you now, but believe me, as I recall it, these were very "23 Skidoo" back in the good old nineteen eighties.

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