h5. Michael Spier on graduation, moxie and autoeroticism

I’d always thought that it was a dream of mine to address a large group of my peers in a speech-esque manner, but, as I sat through graduation on June 10, waiting in my gown to shake the President’s hand and receive my empty diploma holder, I realized that I was not the right person to address my peers via large-scale public address. Since I’ve missed my big speech-giving chance— mostly, I think, because of my unwillingness to talk about my hair (which has been cut twice in the last week)— I decided that I would deliver my speech to you, my little toaster-muffins, so that I can get my desires of allocution out of the way before college gets hazy and I have to start my real life.

•••

Madame President, Friends, Parents, and, most importantly, Graduates-to-be, thank you for having me today. In fact, thank you for being here at all. Thank you for attending your graduation, thank you for attending college, and thank you for being born in the first place.

Everybody is going to tell you that you are the future— I disagree. I think that everyone else is the past. That the people in power today— the managers, the owners, the politicians, and the taxi drivers— they are simply gears already set in motion, introducing dust to what little oil they might have left.

You? You are not the future. You are, in fact, barely the present. Your ideas will always seem new and fresh, but newer, fresher ideas will always be churned out by those hot on your heels. If you want to see the future, look behind you. Look to the little, shorter people who can’t wipe their nose or cut up a nice piece of meat. When these people’s children have children, those children might be the future.

So, in a world where we are only the present— and, as a matter of fact, by the time you hear this you might be the past also— what can you possibly do to progress? How does the world go on, with the need for additional remote controls being generated at every breath, when it is controlled by the past and, in the best cases, experienced by the very slightly present? Is the secret found in vertical integration? Synergy? Moxie? No, none of these things.
You want to succeed? I have a formula, or maybe an equation. I might have a recipe. I don’t know what it is; I found it inside a fortune cookie. I’m here to tell you what you should do, never mind why or how— it’s too late for that kind of thinking by now— and, what I think you should do is follow this advice. My recipe is tripartite. There are three things that everyone needs to do in this hustle-bustle world.

The first part is this: love yourself. Not physically, although that’s perfectly normal as long as you do it in private. Instead, love what you do and who you are. Follow your dreams and constantly question your beliefs so that you can constantly be in agreement with yourself. Fall head-over-heels in love with yourself. You and yourself should look at each other like those annoying lovey-dovey high school sweethearts that have no problem making out in public.

Secondly, love everybody else. It was Luke Perry who wrote, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” I’m an atheist, but I believe him. We’re all in this together and, unfortunately, life sucks a lot. So, with that in mind, we might as well help each other out as often as we can. We’re all going to need it eventually.

My last rule is, I think, the most important one. Stop being afraid. Listen, terrorists aren’t going to blow you up, your plane isn’t going to fall from the sky, and you don’t need a prescription for Ritalin. Furthermore, there will always be people who want to hurt you for reasons you might not understand, planes will continue to crash into mountain sides and oceans, and doctors will continue to find things wrong with you and everyone else. So, go home, get happy, and forget about what might happen.

[Pause for tongue rolling]

•••

Well, that’s all I’ve got. So, graduates, sit and be proud—it’s the last time you’ll be able to sit and be proud without feeling guilty for years.