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mr. rogers lied. you aren't special.

Much ado about commecement speeches these days. Why talk about politics when you would just offend someone? Why bring up war, peace, or suntan lotion? These kids are graduating from school. They just want to get their diploma and get on with the party and then their lives. Whether it be kindergarten, high school, law school or The School of Television Repair and Installing Illegal Cable Boxes for Cash Payments, everyone should get the same commencement speech.

Thus, I give you The Commencement Speech I Would Give If I Have Had to Give One.


As you walk out of here in a few minutes, I want you to remember a few basic things.

Life is full of failure and misery. Get over it.

You are not going to be the next great artist or writer. You are never going to be on Oprah. You will not become an overnight success, an instant millionaire or an Oscar winning actor. You will know more failures than successes. Life will eat you up and spit you out on the sidewalk.

You will marry someone you despise at times and have kids you regret at times. Your wallet will be empty and sometimes you will feel your life is empty as well. You will drink a lot and smoke a lot and some day you will be wearing polyester pants and eating meatloaf at the local all-you-can-eat-buffet, bought for $5 with your senior citizen discount card.

You will never sleep with a super model or marry a NBA star. You will have relationships with people that suck the will to live right from your heart. You will be yelled at by your bosses and stabbed in the back by your employees.

Every tv show you love will be cancelled, all your favorite bands will break up and your beloved football team will all go to jail for placing bets against themselves.

But there will pie. There will always be pie. And you will eat it and you will feel better and for a few minutes life will not suck quite as hard as you thought it would.

Your pie may not look like a pie. It may come in the form of a good book, a best friend, a vial of crack or a strap-on and a leather thong. Get your rocks off when and how you can kids, because life is out there waiting for you and itís going to grab you by the balls and squeeze until you scream.

Now, get out there and have fun!


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference mr. rogers lied. you aren't special.:

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Excellent speech, but the English teacher in me (ands wouldn't you like to have an English teacher in you?) regrets to inform you, that at the very least, the spelling of "thought" needs fixing, and I am of the opinion that a comma needs to be after "kids." But as a speech, such teensy mistakes would have been unnoticeable and wouldn't have hurt the effectiveness of the "strap-on and a leather thong" blast.

He heh hehehe....she said 'pie'.

Oh, sorry, just really getting into my roll as a H.S. Graduate....

Oh, and Alex? Fuck off. that shit annoys the hell out of me.

oh my god, I think I love you.

Even though every grandparent would have fainted dead away by about mid-speech, I would interject an enthusiastic "Here, Here!" after every sentence. Kudos.

too long.

Wish you'd spoken at my commencement, it would have saved me a lot of time and energy. My grandfather drummed it into my head that I could be the first Olympian in the family, despite my tendency to be short, round, unathletic, and accident-prone. I spent a lot of time in emergency rooms and rolling on the ground beside the track, clutching a sprained insert random body part here.
I was much better suited to become a professional beer tester.

You forgot about the fear they will have when the boss (if they get a job) comes around talking about force reductions...

Other than that sounds great


Great speech, but all that unvarnished truth might be a tad too much for the kindergarteners among us...

Someone's on a downer! I turn 50 soon.I've been unemployed for six months and counting with not a job in my field (or anywhere close to it) opening anywhere. My wife (who I had been with for 23 years) split on me last year, my savings are about gone and my lease is up at the end of June and I'm STILL more positive than that.

This post is straight out of NatLamps Deteriorata:


Lighten up!

You forgot:

"Every car you ever buy will break down. People will rip you off. Your ass will get big and people will notice."

Otherwise, perfect.

Wonderful!! I'm gonna send this to my Significant Other. Not sure how SO will take the comment about "a strap-on and a leather thong", but has me excited~


I think you might freak them out a bit with the "polyester pants" comment though.

I would've snorted chocolate milk out my nose.

Just so you know.

Thank goodness for pie.

This immediately reminded me of the Kurt Vonnegut commencement speech at MIT in 1997. Sounds similar in a way.

"But trust me on the sunscreen."


Wow, Hodadenon, why haven't you jumped off a really tall building? I can help you with that if you like...

It wasn't Kurt Vonnegut. It was Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Info here:

It was a good column. Michele's is better.

Damn. And we only had James Garner at mine. I so would've paid for you!

Sort of negative but still better than most real commencement speeches.

The speaker at my son's highschool graduation started out with the usual "I'm so flattered that you asked; I don't know what to say that other people haven't said better" sort of stuff. Then she tells the class that everything they need to know is in a book, and the way she was talking about this book you just KNEW it was the Bible but then, after going on about this wonderful book for a minute or so she reached underneath the podium and pulled out "Oh the Places You Will Go" by Dr. Suess, and then opened it and read the whole thing. Now THAT was a great speech.

Nice, but with one glaring omission:

"After all of this happens, you will blog about it. And it won't matter that you never learned how to do basic math, diagram a sentence or spell three-syllable words."

Here's hoping that I am always your pie... and that you always will bite me.

Replace "reading" with "pie" and tone down some of the extreme negativity, and you're pretty close to an actual commencement speech prepared by Jacques Barzun.

While I'd agree that most high school and college graduates today need a good hard slap to clear the fog induced by efforts to enhance 'self esteem'...that was a bit hard. I'll be 50 in a few months and it doesn't look quite that bad.

I'd like to hear this set to music like the Baz Luhrmann song (the suncreen one).

And if the pie is just good enough, and there's a damn good cup of coffee with it, you can pretend you're in Twin Peaks.


My senior English teacher flat-out told us, "You aren't special, so get over yourselves RIGHT NOW." I thought she was rude, but god, I love that woman now.

Oh, yeah. And tell the kiddies that your job will suck ass, and then you will become a manager and it only goes downhill from there -- you get to supervise know-it-all snots like yourself!

I'm sorry, Tracy, if I upset you, but the mistakes were fixed. Personally, I'd rather have any typos on my site pointed out than not. And since I was at a computer where I can't email, I decided to just leave my comment about them. Overall I thought it was a great post.

Oh, and Tracy, lighten up. "Fuck off"? Just a wee harsh writing that about and to someone you don't even know. But then your comment says way more about you than it does about me.

You should add "Your parents will tell you to save money, but you won't because you are smarter then they are. And right after buying an iPod for several hundred dollars you will lose your job and get sick and have your car break down."

Poor kids, they have no idea what is going to happen to them.

Printing this out, with your kind permission, and taping it to my kids walls (at eye level).

I intend to also tape it up where BOTH of my current bosses can read it. They are both over the age of 35 and have yet to realize any of these truths.

And with all due respect to some of your other readers: yes, this is EXACTLY the way it is. Harsh? Yep. Negative? Uh-huh. Something of a downer? Oh, you damn betcha.

But all true, nonetheless.

Wow. Listening to you people, I am suddenly so much more grateful for my own life.

I skipped my college graduation ceremony, but thanks anyway for this, Michelle. A little too much certainty for my taste, but still great.

P.S. Fix the "But there will pie" thing. It fucks up the rhythm of the punchline for us anal types, dammit.