THE PODIUM – Congratulations, Class of 2018. You have accomplished what your parents and most of your professors thought impossible: you have fulfilled all the requirements to graduate from this college, which may finally be accredited this year, or at least be third tier and pass Trump University. At such occasions as this, the commencement speaker is supposed to advise you to go onward and upward. If you don’t know the direction by now, it’s too late.
Now let’s get specific. If your degree is in computer security, you will have no trouble getting a job, especially if you speak Russian.
You can easily find a good paying position if you majored in civil engineering, same with astrophysics, whatever that is. Education majors, learn how to demonstrate and walk with a picket sign proclaiming you had no idea teaching paid so poorly. Make sure the signs are spelled correctly. Journalism majors, never has the press been under such criticism. Smile and quote the First Amendment, then go to law school. Speaking of the media, these days hate sells. Fox News leads all the competition by yards. Hate radio rules the dial. Get into divisiveness, us against them, anger and cynicism. You’ll get rich. Those who majored in English, philosophy or sociology, you’ll love living in your parents’ basement for the next two years until you land a job as a Walmart greeter or learn how to say, “Please pull up to the next window for your order.”
This brings us to job interviews. When a recent college graduate comes to my office at the Lone Star Sludge Spill Company, I ask them if they have graduated with top honors, and were a member of any religious club. If so, end of interview. The last employee I want in my company is some goodie two-shoes who will whistle-blow my operation. Female applicants, I don’t tolerate sexual harassment in my company, because I won’t hire women, besides, some of the more pushy ones want equal pay. But even this gets me in trouble with the feds.
Fraternity members, being put on probation after a fatal pledge hazing can open other opportunities, such as working as a night club bouncer. Or you could sign on with the CIA to inflict enhanced interrogation on stubborn ISIS members. And there is no shame in being the bad cop. Those who majored in football in hopes of getting drafted by the NFL, you should know that about three percent of all college football players make it to the pros, and their average playing career lasts three years.
Now about your student loans. Nationally, they total more than credit card debts. And you have to pay off your loans, because unlike other IOUs, you can’t take out bankruptcy to dodge repaying the money. So if you took out, say, two hundred thousand dollars to study zoology, you better find a zoo that pays top dollar to cage cleaners. Your loans came from the American taxpayer, that’s me. Do I look like the kind of guy who forgives debts? Note the tattoo on my forehead: “Losers are expendable.” To repay what you owe, there are several ways, some involve ski masks, hush money – there’s a lot of that going around – and marrying well, then divorcing even better.
Incidentally, my own academic career at this school was, shall we say, somewhat checkered, but after six or seven years I learned the drill. Also, it didn’t hurt that my daddy donated a new dorm. You may wonder why I was asked to be your commencement speaker.
They need another dorm. I have some more advice. You hear a lot about “fake news.” That is anything you don’t like to hear, read or find disagreeable. To avoid fake news, only listen to radio call-in shows and only watch TV programs that make you happy. Do not pollute your mind with disagreeable facts. And only talk to people who nod their heads and say, “You’re right.” Yes, I know. College is supposed to be a theater of discussion and intellectual curiosity, listening to other opinions and debating ideas. Big news: you’re out of college. Also, remember the saying that “there is no I in team.” There is no j or k or a lot of other letters, so that observation makes no sense.
In five or 10 years you will be having a class reunion. We had one last year and we got to wondering what ever happened to Crazy Eddie. He was the dumbest, most gullible guy in our class. Just then this big stretch limo drives up and out jumps Crazy Eddie. He’s wearing a two-thousand dollar suit, a diamond stick pin the size of a golf ball, and beautiful arm candy at his side. I went up to him and said, “Crazy Eddie, you were the dumbest guy in our class. You couldn’t even get a job as a food taster for Steve Bannon. What happened?”
He smiled and said, “You’re right, I couldn’t get a job, so I went into business for myself. First, I bought something for a hundred dollars and sold it for two hundred. Later I bought something for a thousand dollars and sold it for five thousand. Last week I bought something for ten million dollars and sold it for forty million. You know, after a while that ten percent profit adds up.” We all nodded in agreement. When you leave these hallowed halls, you will be thrown out into the real world, with no backup from your parents, fellow students or faculty. But our generation has created a perfect world, so don’t mess it up. Work hard, stay relatively honest.
There is room at the top, and I’m lonely up here. One year from today the class of 2019 will be sitting in these same seats, all with one thought: how do I get your job? You have a year’s head start on them. Get busy.
Ashby graduates at firstname.lastname@example.org