Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"ALUMNI DIRT": A Commencement Speech I'd Like To Hear



“Me? Speak at Commencement? No. Impossible.”

“But why not?”

“I might say something funny. Someone might enjoy it. Completely out of line for a Commencement speech.”

“Bosh. Don’t worry. There isn’t a funny bone in you.”

There was more to the conversation, but you get the gist. In a fit of submission, I submitted. It was a ghastly mistake. At least the school said so when they tracked me down afterwards.

In any case, the moment finally arrived. I sauntered gamely to the lectern.

“Students, Parents, Grandparents, Faculty and Administrators, Trustees, Homeless Seeking a Glass of Free Punch,

I have been tasked with the responsibility of boring you all into slack jawed stupors for half an hour or so, and I shall do my best.

When, many years ago, I was badgered into volunteering here on a project to frame mouldering old pictures from the school archives so that the then current crop of promising young scholars could see they actually had predecessors who looked just like them, I commented to my overseer that the school newsletter was sorely lacking in anything worth rea...I mean: Pizzazz. It lacked Pizzazz.

It’s all very well to brag about how many were National Merit Scholars, which team had trounced all others in state competition, to which colleges and universities the graduates were fleeing, who had ponied up for the Alumni Fund and how much, but where was the single thing to which every jaded reader would first turn before all others?

No, not a faculty center-fold. Good grief: Get your minds out of the gutter.

However, since we are already speaking of the gutter, the newsletter really would be perked up with a column called something like “Alumni Dirt”.

What reader could possibly resist the latest on who has been indicted, the salacious details of truly sordid divorces, horrific revelations at trials, and which classmate was incarcerated where?

Imagine if Lizzy, your dear friend of Sophomore year, had achieved international prominence in the serial ax murder industry. Wouldn’t you want to know? For a modest fee, she might consult.

Everyone wondered why her junior year boyfriend hadn't come to the 5th Reunion pig roast she threw at her parents' lake house, until it came out in her trial that, in fact, he had.

And the poor country club. What were they supposed to do with the FBI digging up all the sand traps for numbers 3 through seven? I mean, people had standing reservations for tee times.

Suppose Lizzy was now doing thirty years to life in Sing-Sing. Why, simple alumni solidarity would dictate you drop Lizzy a note now and then. Once every five years or so seems about right: She isn’t going anywhere.

Lizzy always was suspiciously chirpy. Anyone that cheerful has to be an ax murderer. Or will be. You chirpy types: You know who you are.

Say your old friend Moxy who you used to double date with, has brought down the family bank with unauthorized trades, and all she got out of it was a measly $25,000,000 buyout. Wouldn’t you want to know so you could send a sympathy card to her at that absolute hovel she is reduced to in Cannes?

What about your sister’s boyfriend senior year. Is Interpol still looking for him? How much is the reward? Who would have imagined he was going to put a real blade in the guillotine he built in Shop class and go all French Revolution on those smelly community organizers? He certainly had them fooled.

And his sister, Sukie! Who else, I mean really, who else but Sukie would have taken some banged up beer kegs from that pick up bar she bought and turned them into an Iron Maiden? I guess she didn't actually like pick up artists, did she? She took enough of them home, though, according to the prosecutor.

Such is the news which stirs alumni souls.

At this point, our beloved alma mater apparently doesn’t even track, much less report, the most interesting alumni dirt. Why, I had to find out for myself that a classmate’s wife had quote “a really unusual legal situation, and spent the entire first year we were married in jail.” Unquote.

Now that is the sort of stuff to which readers would turn, especially if told that my classmate had managed to keep his mother in the dark about it. She apparently wondered aloud just why his dear wife was never home whenever MaMah called during that first year, but apparently accepted that Snookums was working late, meditating, at book club, or jogging with the goldfish.

As you go forth into the world, stalwart, proud, and bold, please don’t keep all the most interesting stuff to yourself. If you can’t say anything nice about anybody, write it down and send it to us.

Especially if they are our distinguished alumni.

Thank you.

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