Commencement redress

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

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

Alas.

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.

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 now available at a special pre-sale discounted price of $20. The book is expected to ship by May 15, 2019, and expected to retail for $25.
Pre-order for $20: click here.


The book, with additional reporting by Scott Ratcliffe and Zach Pereles, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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