June 2008, Mountain View High School, Los Altos region, California, USA
Faculty and distinguished guests
You know, the only thing better than completing high school, is the chance to convey the entire experience, to a captive audience, through a lengthy speech comprised of highly personal anecdotes.
A chance which I now plan to take full advantage of.
Now I realise that some of you may be less than excited for what is about to pass, so in an attempt to fix this problem, I’ve invited my friend Jeff up here to accompany me, with some mood setting music, that I hope will enhance the speech greatly.
[music wafts in]
Relaxing isn’t it?
Now the speech is designed to exactly what YOU want to hear.
And if you just relax, and let this experience move you, you’ll find that as soon as you’re not interested in what I’m saying, your subconscious will automatically fade my voice, gently out of your senses.
Time will fly by for you, and you may even slip in and out of consciousness, as you are left to relax with the soothing sounds of the keyboard.
So now, if everyone’s ready ... I would like to begin our mystical journey through the high school experience.
[jaunty music change]
Our adventure begins with freshman year, easily our best year of high school although you may not appreciate it, [speaks deliberately inaudibly with large gesticulations, music carries on] ... that finding a date to homecoming is easy, if you sweat as much as I do, let me tell you ... [lapses into inaudible monologue again] ... that’s when I realised that everyone else’s bodies were changing too and I didn’t have to be embarrassed about what was happening to me. [lapses back into inaudible] ... by that time it was already four in the morning, and it would have taken me another three hours to have got all the maple syrup off a the walls [lapses into silent gesticulating] ... and that brings us to senior year.
Now don’t worry, your senior year of high school will be much simpler than the previous three, because, you’ve pretty much been checked out most of the time, but there is one little thing you should get out of the way, before you start caring, and I think I can best describe how that feels, with this metaphorical story.
Let’s say you’re a single guy, and you decide it’s time to start thinking about getting married. But you’re still young, you don’t want to rush into anything, so you spend years searching for the perfect girl. Every chance you get, you travel all over the country just to meet new people. Some you like more than others, some are too nerdy, some party too much, but finally, after all your searching, you think you’ve found the perfect one.
Oh she’s incredible, she’s fun, she’s smart, she’s sexy, everything you wanted in a woman.
You decide to propose.
But - you only get one shot, and you can’t screw it up, so you spend months agionising over how you’re going to do it. What you’re going to say to her. You set a deadline for yourself, so you cna’t put it off forever.
And as the deadline approaches you begin to get more nervous, are you good enough, yes you perform well and get good marks, but is that all she wants? Does she need a man who can lead, or maybe you should have volunteered to coordinate that project last week. Does she want a man who can show compassion, or maybe you should have done more community service?
And maybe when that old woman asked you to help her across the street, you should have tricked her and laughed, it feels like everything you’ve been doing in your entire life has been leading up to this moment.
Finally the deadline is here
[Big dramatic piano]
Oh you’re so nervous. You’re sweating all over her. It’s like there’s ivy around your neck. She’s way out of your league. Is the ring big enough? Is it too late to go back? How many mistakes have you made so far? Can a public institution funded by a state government that’s millions of dollars in debt really provide the same level of education as an overpriced private school?
And then it’s over. You’ve submitted your proposal and there’s nothing more you can do.
And she looks at you ... and she says ...
Mmmmmm let me get back to you in like four months.
That’s pretty much what applying to college is like. You know what sucks the most about it? She’ll probably say no. But guess what you didn’t tell her. You proposed to like, hella backup chicks just in case she rejected you, and they’re all begging you to come and marry them instead.
So suck it Yale, I could never have married a smoker anyway.
Alright, now that we’ve completed high school, it’s time to start thinking about the future.
You know, a lot of people tell me that in like, twenty years, I’m going to go to a high school reunion, and I’m going to laugh at how stupid I was as a teenager.
I’d say, that sounds like a pretty good plan, because as teenagers, we’ve had to put up with a lot of ridiculous stuff to get to where we are today.
And as adults, we’re going to have to put up with a lot more ridiculous stuff to where we will be in twenty years.
And that’s been true for every generation. And I think the most important thing we can learn from that is, things just don’t always make sense. Life for example, if a couple of random guys give this really weird speech at your high school graduation, that you didn’t get at all, maybe it was just a dumb speech that wasn’t meant to be taken seriously
Or maybe, maybe they were trying to say that life is ridiculous, and that being able to make a fool of yourself in front of a lot of people and then laugh about it, is a great skill that’s vital for success in all fields of life.
But they were probably just being dumb. Anyway, it’s not important because I doubt that’s happened to anyone here.
Although ... if it did happen to you, make you sure you never forget the guys who gave that speech, because I bet they were awesome. And, attractive, though you may never have noticed it for the entire duration of high school.
Just a thought.
Alright, I guess that pretty much sums up everything I have to say.
The only thing left is, congratulations to the Mountain View High School class of 2008, and to everyone who helped us get here.
I look forward to laughing with you all about this, in twenty years.