do neither what i say nor do
Tuesday June 04th 2019, 11:57 pm
Filed under: Berkeley,Boozy,change,exit,myjobfuckingrocks,myjobfuckingsometimesdoesntrock,narrative,nextish Tags:

This in fact describes Himself and some spectacularly shitty evenings of late. But that’s not today’s topic. I’ve been asked to give the faculty graduation speech. I have no fucking idea what to say. Or, more accurately, I thought I had a few ideas, but dinner with a few colleagues and a handful of graduate students this evening and they all thought it was all wrong. OK. Fair enough. I’ve got 10 days. Some suggestions to watch various graduation speeches of this and that. OK. Fair enough.

Except, I’m the opening act. I’m not the big, inspiring, forgive all your student debt, famous person speech. I’m the guy who goes before that person. I’ve been in such a rubbish place for a while now that the standing joke has become reality. “It’s not too late to go to law school. Maybe as the environment changes and the waters rise you’ll all die terribly and then you won’t have to worry about it.”

The graduate students all suggested some version of “the you we know is great, be that person.” I suppose that’s fair, though the specific nature of the self-constructedness for a reading group on Finnegans Fucking Wake isn’t a self I trot out universally, so, “be the version of you we think we know, be honest about your pragmatism, and if in doubt just spew medieval facts at them,” offers only limited help.

How to be myself to students that know a me that is such a strange slice of who I think I am or who I thought I’d be? Or, if this is the moment to peel back the layers and be a little more of a person as we send them out into the world that, frankly, they all fucking live in already given how nuts the world is and how thin the wall of academia has become, how permeable the not so ivory tower, which layers? Turtles all the way down, onions all the way through.

I’ve got quotes for mother fucking ages. Randomly browsing poetry for some inspiring shit. I’ve no idea what I want to say, what 22 year old me wanted to hear, or SHOULD have heard, or could possibly have heard. Nothing. There’s nothing anyone could have told me. Which is a shame, as I’m actually listening now.


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