Commencement redress

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

Another year, another graduation season without me being asked to deliver a commencement address.


And I would be so good at it, too – you know, regarding delivering advice to high-school seniors about to venture out into the world.

Which is why I’m offering this column – in the event that the reality-show star or used-car salesman or reformed glitter addict that you have speaking at your graduation this year has to bail out on you at the last minute.

Ahem … here goes.

Tap-tap-tap … is this thing on? Is this thing on?

Oh … hi. My name is Chris Graham. Wow, this has to be the shortest graduating class I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m guessing the basketball team here can’t wait for baseball season.

Bada bing.

Anyway, welcome to the first day of the rest of your life. Or the last day of the first part of your life.

Either way, it’s a big day – mainly for mom and dad. Who are counting down the days until you get on with your life and get out of their hair.

For the record, we’re at 2,440 days and counting on that one – so don’t breathe too easy over there.

That’s right, kids – you can expect to be living with the folks until you hit the big two-five. And that’s if you’re lucky. It’s called underemployment – get used to it.

My first bit of advice to you – get familiar with how to cook macaroni and cheese. Because when mom gets tired of feeding your lazy arse, that kind of thing could come in handy.

That and get accustomed to eating a lot of cold cereal.

It’s not as bleak as I’m making it out to be, of course. It’s bleaker, much bleaker.

Yours is the first generation that won’t do as well as the generation preceding it. And since I’m 15 years older than you guys, I guess it’s up to me to apologize for that.

Sorry. We took all the good jobs for ourselves, and left you the ones where cleaning toilets and pushing shopping carts are key parts of the job descriptions.

This leads to my second bit of advice – do something different. You’re going to be living at home until you’re 25 anyway, right? So do something in the next seven years to get yourself ready for that big day when you finally head out into the real world and have to pay rent.

And no, chatting with friends on myspace doesn’t count there.

Be original – start your own porn page. You know, something that will make money.

I’m kidding there, of course. Don’t start a porn page. There’s no way to make money at that anymore. The market is terribly oversaturated.

But you need to figure something out – otherwise, you’re going to end up schlepping cheap foreign-made goods at Wally World or selling insurance packages that don’t pay off when you actually get in an accident the rest of your life.

And seriously, is that what you slaved away the past 13 years in this school system for?

It stinks to realize that the answer to that question is yes, doesn’t it?

I just realized that your school hired me ostensibly to feed you some line of crap about how you’re going to go out there and change the world and blah blah blah blah blah.

You know what, though? You probably will – in spite of everything that you learned in school.

I hate to sound negative about that, but really, what do you learn nowadays in school except how to take a test?

Life is about more than guessing a, b, c or d and then writing an essay – but you’ll soon figure that out.

The sad thing is that some whiz kid in India figured it out a while ago and is already petitioning the guy who was going to give you a good-paying job to get him to consider the many benefits of outsourcing.

Which leads to my third bit of advice – and it’s spelled l-o-t-t-e-r-y.

You can’t win if you don’t play.

Happy Graduation, boys and girls.

augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.