20 Aug 2014
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Graduation Speech

Not that anyone has ever asked me to speak, but I never need an invitation.

Graduation Speech

I may be our community's most austerely dressed court jester, but I keep up with the important issues and I am knowledgeable on a number of subjects.  I'm not just a clown.

Even so,  I'm going to admit something that very few citizens of this community have had the courage to say.  I know I am not the only one, but please allow me to be the first to admit that I am pretty sure that the education I have received would not qualify me to receive a high school diploma along with the class of 2011.

I'm not even talking about the whole Advanced Placement versus International Baccalaureate kerfuffle (and, in case you're wondering, it took me three tries to spell the "B" part of "IB" correctly).  Unless I were to receive credit for my vast experience in stain removal from common fabrics and cosmetics comparison shopping, I am relatively certain that I could not pass a science class of any rigor in my current mental condition.

I never learned how to determine the area under a curve, or the practical applications of quadratic equations.  I could not tell you why or when the French and Indian Wars were fought even if you spotted me the why and the century and decade of the when (although I am reasonably comfortable with asserting that the French and Indians were not fighting one another). 

I do not know how to program html code.  I do not know the differences among mean, median and mode.  I could not dissect and label the parts of a toad.  I can't determine electrical load.  I don't have the attention span to follow the story of Tom Joad

Most of the students who will receive their diplomas from on Thursday are better educated than I am by several orders of magnitudes.  I listened to a young friend describe a physics project in which she designed the specifications for a working elevator.  I can't even be trusted to know which button to press in an elevator.

It's a tough world out there, and we're going to need smart people like these young men and women tinkering with the messes we've made for them if we have any shot at a future.  Sorry about the global warming, kids, and good luck with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Maybe it's because I'm so intellectually feeble, but I think we should congratulate the whole array of students who will receive their diplomas in a few days.  Let's hear it for the boys and girls who raised a C to a B minus.  How about a cheer for the kids who tried an advanced course and passed with difficulty but learned something.

Why don't we give a little recognition to the kids whose days of honors and awards are yet to come?  Don't underestimate the ones who always showed up for practice on time and ready to play just because they never scored.  Do not dismiss the students who got better at one thing over a long period of time in a slow, steady pursuit of excellence.  How about the graduates who had to overcome their own doubts in order to finish high school with a diploma? 

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  The secret to success lies in the constant, deliberate decision to keep moving forward.  Falling down is not failure.  Failure is the refusal to get back up.

Congratulations to all the Seahawks in the Class of 2011.  This is a moment of triumph for every single one of you.

Which one of you wants to help me program the TiVo so it doesn't tape every showing of "Sex in the City 2" anymore?

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