Setting aside my prepared words, I looked them straight in the eye and spoke from the heart:
“You’re all screwed.”
“Let’s be honest. Thanks to my generation, you’re already about $20 Trillion in debt. To put that in perspective, imagine a dollar bill. Now imagine it twenty trillion times. I’ll wait.”
“For what it’s worth, it’s been a good ride, as we propped up our entire economy on your money. We paid people not to work, and they voted for us. We paid farmers not to farm, and they voted for us. We paid educators not to educate, and they ran our campaigns. I myself bought a canoe. Hand-crafted. Never used it. It’s sitting in my front yard, and when the HOA complained, I told them they were disrespecting my people; so they gave me a donation and left. I’m German, by the way.”
“After two centuries of America leading the world in production and innovation, I can proudly state my generation didn’t make a single thing—and trust me, it wasn’t easy. We partied a lot. I mean, a lot. We obsessed over which late-night host would retire next. We thanked Tom Brady for providing us endless opportunities to say, ‘balls.’”
“Call us selfish. Call us failures. But don’t call us hopeless, for throughout the tough times, we always had one ace in the hole; one backup plan: Your money. And apparently, you were really loaded, because we spent $20 Trillion of it. And we enjoyed it. Yes, I can honestly say, we really enjoyed spending your money.”
“Thank you. For corporate bailouts and unsustainable social programs, thank you. For bloated pension funds, studies on the mating habits of gay turtles, and for my canoe, thank you. Couldn’t have done it without you.”
“What? You want the money back? Tell you what: At the end of this ceremony, you’ll each receive a diploma. Consider those our IOU’s.”
“Of course, we did learn while navigating that uncertain minefield called ‘life.’ We know a thing or two. While we can’t return your money—and believe me, we so wish we could—we have gathered some wisdom. Here are a few pieces:
- Some of you will go on to great things; creating hope where it was lost, blazing trails, and showing others the way. The rest of you will swarm over these few—like locusts, feeding on their success. It’s okay; you outnumber them. Power to the people.
- Vote for candidates because they fill certain demographics. Then, insist you’re voting ‘the issues.’ If anyone disagrees with your issues, accuse them of disliking certain demographics. When they deny disliking demographics, tell them to stop fixating on demographics and stick to the issues. Ask why they’re filled with hate. As they fumble for answers, walk out in disgust.
- Always seek romantic advice from people juggling multiple office relationships. They’re experts.
- The more time you take in really knowing people at work—their likes, their dislikes, their hopes, their dreams—the more they’ll pay to keep you from telling. Remember, information is power.
- Sleep your way up the corporate ladder. Then, wearing scant clothing, accept company awards while thanking all those who appreciated what you had to offer. In closing, call for world peace.
- Guys, if your wives are kept properly sedated, they’ll never ask for backrubs.
- Girls, if your husbands are kept properly sedated, they’ll never rant about politics.
- Men like movies where lots of people die quickly. Women like movies where one person dies slowly—the slower the better. Coincidentally, men like lots of quick relationships, while women prefer one, committed, slow relationship—the slower the better.”
“Well, that’s about it. My CD is available at the table out front. Thank you.”
By this point, the audience appeared quite moved—like I had touched a part of them they hadn’t known existed. Tears flowed freely, to the point of sobbing. Walking out those doors with pride, I knew I had prepared them all to move on…
…to the 2nd Grade. Just as soon as they stop crying.
Whiny little brats.