Welcome, students of Emersan College. And congratulations on winning the lawsuit brought by Emerson. I agree with the judge—there’s no way anyone could possibly confuse this place with Emerson. I do give you guys credit for referring to Charlesgate Park as “the quad” and holding classes under the overpass. You’re a resourceful bunch, and I say that as someone who’s also spoken at both Brabson and MIIT. I’m sure that once that degree is on the wall of your unlicensed strip-mall dental office, nobody’s going to care where you went or what your GPA was or how many felonies you have. What they’ll care about is whether you’re good at your job, and frankly I doubt your choice of college could’ve helped you much there.
Now that you’re heading out into the job market, you’re probably anxious, wondering how to make yourself useful these next 40 years or so. Some people say to do what you love, but if that were true then half of you would get jobs in quality control at the Jergens factory. I’m looking at you, Lance! Just kidding. There’s no way half of you will have jobs. I’m thinking a quarter, at best, and that’s if we count those of you who will spend a few hours a week unclogging toilets for TaskRabbit.
The main challenge is that you can no longer plan on a job being around forever. Consider plastic straws. The Lyons Group and plenty of other restaurants across the city are tossing them aside for bamboo. So here you were with a safe job in plastic straws, like your father and his father before him, and the next thing you know you’re getting evicted and your wife’s running off with the bamboo salesman.
But there’s always a bright side, and I’m hopeful that this move will at least solve the riddle of the black cocktail straws. Do you just stir with them? Are you supposed to drink out of them? They’re too narrow for that, but if you use two at once it’s kind of fun. Like, society is saying, “You’re not supposed to drink out of this straw! It’s very short, and the diameter is insufficient!” And you say, “Oh yeah? Watch this. I’ll just stoop over and use two at once so that when a single grain of pepper clogs one barrel, this bloody mary is still flowin’.” Total badass move. Well, maybe they’ll have silly little bamboo straws, too. But the bendy straw? I just have to assume we’re saying goodbye to that.
Hopefully you didn’t major in single-serve petrochemical-based vacuum cylinder production. (Yes, I’m still talking about straws.) But even if you did, fear not, because it doesn’t really matter what your major is. How many history majors do you think become historians? How many economics majors become economists? I can’t even count the number of friends who got a degree in large animal medicine with an equine emphasis and never went near a horse! And then, look at me. I majored in hospitality management but ended up working in a haberdashery for a few years before joining the French Foreign Legion. So don’t worry about your major, especially because it’s too late now anyway.
Enough about jobs. What about life? A lot of people will tell you to learn karate, but I disagree. I think you should just learn to run really fast. Anyone can do it, especially when you’re being chased by a karate person. And maybe you should think about why this karate expert is mad at you in the first place. A lot of these martial arts conflicts can be avoided if you simply refrain from saying stuff like, “Hey, nice bathrobe, freak! Did you steal that from the Loser Spa? Your belt doesn’t even match.” But if the belt does match, white on white, then the punches hurt less, I’ve found.
What other advice do I have? Let’s see: Use a phone with a removable battery and never power it up except to make calls. Trust no one. Don’t take the same route on consecutive days—oops, I’m sorry. This isn’t my speech. These are notes for my upcoming trip to Fort Lauderdale. Which is, ah, a vacation! A fun vacation that has nothing to do with my time in the French Foreign Legion.
So, what now? I think you should take a year off and be a lift operator in Colorado. Just live, you know? Do some goat yoga and make mood boards for pop-up origami stores. Years from now, when you’re an indentured servant on the AI ranch, you’ll wistfully look back at this time as a carefree lark, full of excitement and free of constant corporal punishment administered by the six-armed spank-bots. Just enjoy yourself. And if you’re really not ready to face reality, go to grad school. I hear there’s a great hospitality management program at PU. ◆
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