Sunday, June 8, 2008


On Friday, we had a niece and a cousin graduate from high school (Go Lions!), and I couldn't help but think that in seventeen short years Dylan will be doing the same. Regina and I will be on our hover-walkers, because we'll be too old to stand, and Dylan will be listening to (or giving) a cliched valedictorian's speech on the same football field where I, as a 140 pound offensive lineman, cheered on the mighty Lions from next to the Gatorade cooler.

It'll be the year 2025 (hence the hover-walker), so the theme will be "A Quarter-Century of Memories," and the key-note speaker will be someone who both understands the new technologies (x-ray vision goggles and rocket shoes!), but will remind the graduates that, cool as it is to fly around and see through clothes, they should never forget the friends they've made and always believe in their drea ... blahblahblah.

One of my more unusual habits (according to me) always percolates this time of year. Every May, while I'm out irrigating, I compose a graduation speech. It's usually very clever and meaningful and is one that will be remembered for years to come. It'll be much like 1991's commencement speaker, who wore a purple suit and sang, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" over and over, but without singing or crazy clothes.

Each evening, as I move swing-pipes around risers and roll wheellines sixty feet, I add a little more to my speech. In a week or two I have a full five minute presentation, complete with music and lasers. By the following week, usually a day or two before graduation, I've completely forgotten the inspiring wisdom I'd intended to impart.

Although a psychologist would probably argue otherwise, I absolutely do NOT want to give a speech at graduation. Ever. I do NOT have fantasies about replacing a laryngitis-struck speaker because graduation cannot proceed without an awesome speech from a pillar of the community. I make up speeches out of boredom and for the same reasons I think I can learn to play the harmonica or why I spend more time thinking about palindromes (my favorite: a slut nixes sex in Tulsa) than hay prices.

Whoever speaks at Dylan's graduation had better start thinking of an original and great speech now, and he or she better do a good job, because I'll be there, in my shiny silver space outfit, wearing x-ray goggles, hanging on every word.

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