No one has ever asked me to give a college commencement address. But if they did, I’d give kids some practical advice they could really use!
1. First of all, stay away from drugs and alcohol. Yes, I know you used a ton of junk at frat parties, but these substances only cloud your thinking and make it difficult to employ my next seven key points for success.
2. Forget everything those pony-tailed professors taught you. That nonsense has nothing to do with the real world. The “real” world always has been a cold, calculating and unforgiving place. It’s a culture built on who’s going to dominate whom, coupled with heartless, competitive elimination. It’s Darwinism at its best!
3. Continue to mooch off your parents. You’ve gotten away with it for this long, so why stop now?
4. Apply to graduate school. It doesn’t matter what subject you take as long as you can pass the time. Don’t worry about piling up debt. If you’re not working, those loan guys can’t collect anyway.
5. Don’t get married. This only complicates things and creates responsibilities you can do without. The exception is a significant other who has old-school work ethics and holds a good-paying job with a promising future.
6. If you must work, get a good government job. I know it’s not easy these days, but if you’re successful, there are a number of advantages. Firstly, it’s almost impossible to get fired. As a second point, most of these jobs have great unions with political connections that keep taxpayers footing the bills for terrific benefits, coupled with unmatched pensions.
7. Don’t forget disability. Of course, you have to do some work in order to qualify. But you’d be surprised at what passes for eligibility these days: short attention spans, brain deterioration caused by alcoholism, even trauma as a direct result of office sexual harassment. Yes, we really do we live in a great country!
8. Finally, there is unemployment insurance. What better way to face the future than work just long enough to qualify? Get the boss to fire you, and then get paid for doing nothing!
Now, I know there are some of you out there who think I’m way too cynical and should only say positive things at a graduation commencement: You know, clichés like “You are America’s future,” “Follow your dreams,” or “Go out there and make a difference.”
Well, there’s just one problem with this approach: People have being using these themes for decades, but unfortunately, most graduates have no impact on the future. A majority never reach their youthful dreams, and the world continues its madness at an alarming pace.
So, as an alternative, I prefer to recommend a realistic approach. It is true that staying home and putting up with mom busting your buns about being out too late or cleaning your room is truly a pain.
But overall, looking at the big picture, one still has to admit: After earning a four-year college degree in liberal arts, my eight-step post graduation program certainly beats serving tables at a funky fast food diner.
Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer and satirist.