My Message to Stillwater High School Graduating Class of 2005: GET A JOB
My message to the graduates? You wanna hear MY message to the high school graduates? Here’s MY message to the high school graduates:
How’s that for a “message?” How do you like that, boys and girls? For weeks now we’ve been printing columns of advice and words of wisdom for you kids on the theme of your “big” achievement—you finally graduated high school (“Well, lah—dee—dah! Gee whillikers, no one’s ever done that before! You must be soooo proud.”)
And now all of the sudden everybody and his little dog seems to be writing in to the paper with some sort of half-baked “commencement message” to the Stillwater High School graduating class--whether they were asked to or not. And all this “free advice” offered by “older and wiser heads” is supposed to inspire you kids to face your future; oh, gosh, it’s so full of wistful and witty little observations and quotations.
Well, here’s another little wistful and witty observation for you, and you can quote me: Get up off that couch and
Because the free ride is over! Your gravy train has finally jumped the tracks, punks! That’s a fact—that, and the fact that we’ve been carrying you on our backs your whole life, you and your facial jewelry and your tattoos and your damn skateboards and stupid music—
“None of us knows what the future holds,” said the speaker at your graduation. Well, nooooo kidding! What a heavy concept! Oh, that’s soooo truuuue! “None of us knows what the future holds!” Wow! That observation, plus four bucks, will get you a 2% grande mocha latte with cinnamon on top at Starbucks. But remember to take the four bucks with you when you go down to get that latte—because if you expect them to give you the latte just for showing up and telling them that “None of us knows what the future holds,” you are in for a verrrry big disappointment, my little pal o’mino.
What’s that? You don’t have the four bucks for the latte? And you expect me to give it to you? That’s a hot one, ha ha ha. Yessir, that’s pretty funny, asking me to give you money. But, hey, wait--I don’t want you to walk away empty-handed--so here’s some more “free advice”:
Now! Not tomorrow, not next week, not in your next life! And don’t tell me that you don’t have to get a job because you’re going to college. College doesn’t start for another three months yet, Einstein! Three months! Three! I know you can count that high, Wile E. Coyote, super-genius! I know you can count up to three, Stephen Hawking, cause you’re my “great big high school graduate!”
And if you think you’re going to spend the next three months laying on the couch in my living room, fiddling with the buttons on your X-Box and running up my cell phone bill whining to your deadbeat “friends” about how bored you all are—if that’s your vision of the future this summer--well, you better get your money back from the “Psychic Hotline!” You better get yourself another vision, Nostradamus!
Wait a minute—I’m having a “vision” myself, right now! The picture is cloudy…but it’s becoming clearer…clearer… Yes, I can see it now—it’s you, and your deadbeat friends, getting up your pimply butts up off the couch this summer and—
Perhaps you disagree. Perhaps you think your family will continue to support you. Perhaps you think your mother and I will keep on giving you the money you need in the future, just as we always have in the past.
Well, here’s a little trick that will help you remember what is, and what will always be, reality, from now on:
See if you can spell the word “way,” as found in the word “subway.” Come on, do it; it should be easy for you, you’re a big-shot high school grad-jee-ate. C’mon, spell the word “way,” like in the word “subway.” That’s right, take it slow, sound it out… W…(good) A… (you’re doing fine) …Y. There! You got it! The word “way,” like in the word “subway,” is spelled W-A-Y. Excellent. Now spell the word “way” as found in the word “highway.” Can you do that? W-A-Y. That’s right, it’s exactly the same. Finally--stick with me, now--spell the very same word (the word “way,” in case you’ve forgotten) as it is found in the word “hell.” Can you do that?
“Wait a minute, I can’t do that,” you say. “Because there’s no ‘way’ in ‘hell.’”
That’s right! You are absolutely correct, super-brain! And that's how you remember! That’s how you remember that there’s “no…WAY…in…HELL” that your mother and I are going to continue to support you now that you’re finally out of high school! And you can eat that fact for breakfast, lunch and dinner, until you get up off the couch and go out and:
William Prendergast is the author of the crime thriller “Forbidden Hollywood” and, like his late father, is a much-admired motivational speaker.