Oh hell, we really did it this time. We were asked to give a speech at the graduation of a local high school and carelessly ended it with a generic encouraging statement about how they can achieve anything they wanted. How would we know they would actually take us seriously?
I mean, you should see some of the thank you letters we got, filled with dreams we absolutely did NOT mean to nurture. One kid said he want to go to Harvard, but look at his shoes! No way his parents can afford that. This other student says they want to be Prime Minister like they don’t know that every graduating class ever has at least one that says that so they can’t all do it. Shit, this kid says he wants to clone a bunch of dinosaurs and sell them as pets! How did this one even graduate?
What is wrong with these grads? You’d think the fraction of adult responsibility they’ve had to face as teenagers would be enough to quash any naive optimism about their futures. Guess the education system failed there too and now we’re on the hook for getting these kids’ hopes up! If they had more lockdown drills, this would never have happened.
Maybe we should’ve specified that when we said they could do anything, we meant tonight only, while their parents are too proud of them to say no. Like, you won’t climb Mount Everest anytime in your life, but that half a beer is all yours!
In our defense, we’re from a time when you could use throwaway words of congratulations like that carelessly! In our day, when adults told us to reach for the stars, we knew that really meant “keep your head down in college and settle for the first middle management job you get offered”.
Man, we should not have workshopped this speech at the community college graduation last week. They laughed us off the podium there, so we were expecting a similar reaction.
Actually, we might have a chance to balance things out if the school newspaper publishes our oped entitled “Your safety school is a valid option.”