Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Commencement Speech That Never Was

Greetings high school graduates of <insert year here>.  I am excited to see so many people graduating and moving on into the real world.  But I am also saddened that many of you are probably not adequately equipped to deal with your future lives.  Soon many of you will go out into the world, hopefully move away from your parents, and realize that the world is not fair.
Don’t worry about that aspect of the world.  If the world was fair, then we would all get what we truly deserve in life.  But don’t let this disillusion you.  Because of the inherent unfairness of the world, you should be able to take advantage of this for your own ends.  But there are few things you need to know that your teachers and parents probably haven’t told you, or you didn’t bother listening when they said it:
  • It is a statistical fact that if you graduate from high school, get any kind of job, don’t commit any crimes, and don’t have a baby out of wedlock, then you will have a 6% chance of living at or below the poverty level.  Since you all have accomplished the first goal and many of you have accomplished the other two, although the latter three are ongoing, that means that many of you will not have too many problems with income.
  • Whatever situation you find yourself in, always keep in mind that it is the sum total of your decisions in your life.  If you end up on the street addicted to crack, that is your fault.  If you end up having your car repossessed, that is your fault.  If you end up insanely wealthy, that is your fault.  The bottom line here is that while we may fall victim to something, how we deal with the situation is very important to our recovery.
  • While I am on the subject of victims, I urge you to never, ever honor victims.  You can empathize with them, maybe even help them out if you can, but you must not hold up their victimhood and perpetuate it.  Too many people in America do not maximize their potential in life because of their perceived victimhood.  Regardless of whether it is true, you should always do your best to shake it off and move on.  No, I cannot promise that the wounds will heal, but given enough time, you will find a way to live and move forward.
  • Avoid debt, in all its forms, at all costs.  You know the reason why your parents are stuck in a middle class lifestyle?  Because they dump $500 a month into a car payment so they could look good driving to work.  If you want to live a life of financial mediocrity, then get into debt.  You can buy everything, including a house, with 100% down if you have a little patience and are willing to sacrifice certain pleasures in life for stability.  Yes, I am well aware of what your broke finance teacher taught you.  But 75% of the wealthiest individuals in America, who built their wealth from scratch, said that the most important thing to their financial success was staying out of debt.  So who are you going to believe?  Your broke teacher or the richest men in the world?  I don’t promise that you will be a millionaire if you stay out of debt, but you will have a zero chance of dealing with repossessions, foreclosures, and those annoying debt collectors if you do.
  • Everyday you should exercise.  Get up before you go to work and jog or go to the gym.  You will feel better about yourself and you will treat your body right.  This will also help you in the job market.  Healthy people get hired more often than obviously unhealthy people.
  • Read one nonfiction book a month.  Self-made millionaires do that.  Again, I’m not saying you will become a millionaire, but you will be well read and very knowledgeable.  This works to your advantage in the job market.
  • This next bit is for women.  It is better to be the crazy cat lady than to be married to a bum.  And by bum, I mean a man who expects you to take complete care of him and treats your relationship the same way he treats pictures of supermodels.  The best way to filter out the bums from the decent men is to look for a boring man and do not have sex until you are married.  If he is truly a man of integrity, he will pursue you because he loves you, not because he wants sex.  That is probably the best test of character you can do to a man to verify his love for you.
  • Don’t worry guys, I have some good advice for you as well.  Understand that how a woman treats you when you are not engaged in romantic activity is the way she will treat you 95% of the time when you are married.  This means that if she does nothing but complain to you about you or gets mean or jealous, she will be like that when you get married to her.  The best way to view how the two of you will be in 20 years is to visit and study her parents.  That’s her ultimate goal in her marital life: to be like her parents.  She may openly despise them, but it is part of her nature.  After all, she’s lived with them for 18 years now.  So if her mother annoys you, you may want to consider leaving her.  It is better to live the life of a bachelor than to dump all of your energy into a total bitch.  (Yes, I cussed at your commencement speech.  I don’t care.)
  • Always approach life with integrity.  I know that Hollywood makes out the successful to be scumbags, but the reality is that all deca-millionaires have a large amount of integrity.  Do the honorable thing in every situation and you will benefit.  It may not be right away, and it may seem insignificant, but the attitude that is shaped as a result will lead to success with those around you.
  • Understand that government produces nothing.  As such, whatever economic promises a politician makes, such as creating jobs or eliminating poverty, are always invariably false.  This does not mean that the politician is necessarily lying, although it is highly likely, he or she could just simply be naive.
  • If you decide to vote in an election, always have a clear understanding of all the candidates and never vote based on your own emotions.  I didn’t vote for John McCain or Barack Obama in the 2008 election because I didn’t agree with either candidate.  Many people I know, however, simply picked one or the other out of fear or adoration.  That is exactly how Adolf Hitler was able to win his only election, by simply appealing to the discontent of the Germans.  If people had taken his claims seriously, I doubt such a monster would have ever gotten the level of power he had amassed.
  • Finally, if you find yourself in the bottom 60 percentile in your graduating class, consider skipping college and entering the workforce.  Too many people go to college because that’s the thing to do when you graduate from high school, but college is to expand and focus your technical skills and you don’t need a degree to do most of the jobs in the world.  Also, going to college with student loans is the dumbest thing you can do because you may not find a job that fits your vocation and you’ll just end up working retail with student loan debt.  Too many people I’ve know throughout the years have jobs they didn’t study and are unhappy with their decision to go to college.  Work hard, apply for every scholarship imaginable, and take as many classes as you can in college.  But if you can’t do any of that, then you should consider simply going to work.
Well, that’s all I have to tell you.  I’m sure there is a security detail waiting to escort me off campus, so salutations to you all.  And please, whatever you find yourself doing or wherever you end up, try and find the happiness in your situation.
May God be with you in all things.