Pomp and (Very Weird) Circumstance

By Lenore Skenazy

May 8, 2020 4 min read

As most of America's college seniors won't be having an in-person graduation this year, we are providing them with the guest speech by a semifamous alum or semigenerous donor you probably would have heard. Graduates, just fill in the blanks, and you'll feel like you're there (bored and boiling):

Greetings, students, parents, deans, professors and, especially, our esteemed mascot, (name of fish), who so aptly represents our student body — and with whom I have a date later tonight. I just hope that's not a costume!

It is an honor to (verb) before you. It would be an honor to stand, but I banged my (body part) on the way up the steps and am forced to lie down. Luckily, the dean of (plural noun) had a carpet scrap with her, though now my chin is itchy.

As I look out on your (adjective) faces, I am reminded of a time just (gargantuan number) years ago, when I, too, was graduating college with my degree in (noun) studies. It was a nontraditional major, and for my senior project, I was required to live in (town or country) disguised as a (noun) in order to do my fieldwork.

Unfortunately, this led to a virulent case of (nondepressing, nonfatal disease), which is normally cured by drinking three gallons of (alcoholic beverage) daily. I say unfortunately because it was a six-month course of treatment, and I cannot remember anything that happened the rest of senior year, including how I ended up back at college with (silent-movie star) tattooed on my chest and a (revolting noun) in my trunk. I sort of remember graduating, but I have no photos of myself in a cap and gown, so who knows? I do have a photo of myself in a (name of public television cartoon) suit. But did I wear that to graduation? And where were my parents? Unless — were they the couple in the background banging their heads against the tree?

No matter. As you will learn soon, youth is but a day, and age is but a number. (Number), to be exact. Moreover, if at first, you don't (verb), try, try again — just at something else, easier. And as my dear (family relation) oft said to me, "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met, who may kill you."

With those (adjective) words in mind, it is time for you to start out on that long journey we call (noun). Or do we call it (word that rhymes with previous noun)? Wow, is it hot. I'd say I have to go lie down, but I think I am already. Or else the air is shaggy and really close to the ground. And there's a penny in it.

I was invited here today — I think — as a reminder of the greatness to which you young people can (verb). Once, I, too, was a young person, eager as a (name of animal) to make my mark.

I did, and part of it is still there. The rest is covered by a (noun) I got at (name of store).

Now it is time for you, too, to go forth and tell the world, "World, I'm (adjective). Call me."

And if the world is anything like your beauteous deep-sea mascot, the world will come to your hotel room and not leave for 24 blissful hours, at which point you will have graduated. And perhaps someday, you will lie before the world as I lie before you today. Or yesterday. Or last (name of holiday).

Class of (four-digit number), I salute you! Or I would. But every time I try, I hit my hand on the carpet. Why is that?

Lenore Skenazy is president of Let Grow, founder of Free-Range Kids and author of "Has the World Gone Skenazy?" To learn more about Lenore Skenazy ([email protected]) and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Pexels at Pixabay

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