Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

To the Class of 2011: Just Give Up Now

with 4 comments

Thank you, thank you. Oh, my goodness, what an honor. Thank you. Thank you so much. It is indeed gratifying to be addressing you as valedictorian. And although putting into words the significance of this achievement poses quite a challenge, I shall nevertheless try. The occasion demands it.

I cannot characterize this achievement properly without directly expressing gratitude to all those who made it possible. Each of you deserves individual mention.

First, thank you to my teachers. Nothing better motivated me to achieve than your embittered, cynical and fatalistic assumption that I would never amount to anything. Your nonstop comparisons to my overachieving older sister, whose work you so adored, generated a resentment so powerful it raised thoughts of dropping out of school entirely. So thank you, especially to Mrs. Peters in tenth-grade English, for making my academic attainments that much more profound.

Thank you to Mr. Skull, our dear principal, whose cliché-ridden “motivational” addresses filled me with revulsion I have never encountered elsewhere, except when we dissected the fetal pigs in biology class, and the stench of formaldehyde nearly made us all pass out. Mr. Skull, you know just how to turn students off to learning; how to make just finishing the semester seem not only pointless, but utterly sickening. What’s more, every gesture, word and action you took bespoke an incurable condescension that I now know will serve me well, once I, too, learn to master it. If I can withstand your arrogant cluelessness, I can withstand anything.

Thank you to Mr. Bilk, our phys ed instructor, for actively fostering the divisions among us. Thank you for equating athletic prowess with one’s value as a human being. Thank you for encouraging the physical humiliation of those less athletically gifted. Thank you for browbeating almost every one of us into trying out for some team or other, then ridiculing those who did not make the cut. I have gained important insights from you into what transpires in the world outside these walls.

Thank you to Mr. Crust, our physics teacher, for failing to prepare adequately for the course. From you, sir, we have all gained the precious understanding that all it takes to land a job is the right balance of charisma and hot air. Thank you for the opportunity to demonstrate that a few minutes’ worth of reading the actual textbook can dispel a whole period’s worth of nonsense. Thank you for harping on the notion that one’s religious beliefs trump proven science, and for taking the time out of our important schedule to proselytize to the students. From you we have learned to manage time effectively, doing work for other classes as you droned on and on about nonbelievers suffering eternal hellfire. No hellfire can compare with that class, I assure you.

Thank you to the cafeteria staff, especially the manager, Ms. Flubb, for proving that absolutely anything can be recycled. Thank you for setting the example of doing only the bare minimum to follow health codes, with the cold, sober eye that completely disregards taste and appearance. At least your eye was sober, most of the time.

A tremendous thank you must also go out to my classmates. Thank you for abetting the administration’s efforts to portray us as a whiny bunch of entitled losers in order to justify canceling several outings. Thank you for treating the locker rooms as your personal graffiti canvas. Thank you for finding countless occasions to cultivate eating disorders, underage drinking and a lifelong addiction to nicotine.

And of course, thank you to my parents, without whom I could not be here today, but whose apathy along the way belies that centrality of purpose. The self-absorption that you so amply model, throwing money at me just to get me to shut up and go away, has prepared me for a lifetime of incompetence in management, government and relationships.

Congratulations, class of 2011. I have no idea how we did it. Nor do I want to.

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Written by Thag

January 8, 2011 at 11:52 pm

4 Responses

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  1. An instant classic. I had no idea you went to the same school as me,

    Michael G.

    January 9, 2011 at 2:55 am

  2. Oh, I remember. You were the really fat guy who always sat in the back and basically inhaled Ho-Hos the whole time, right?

    Thag

    January 9, 2011 at 7:17 am

  3. It was an attempt at humour. What I meant by it was that I can relate to your school experiences.

    Michael G.

    January 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm

  4. I got that, dear fellow. Apparently, the ironic tone of my comment, however, somehow missed its mark.

    Thag

    January 9, 2011 at 9:59 pm


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