My Speech to Middle-School Graduates.

By Mark Bazer

Thank you, Principal Smith,

Graduates, family members, teachers, security guards, metal detector operators.

It is a pleasure to speak with you today, and it is such an honor to receive an honorary Washington Middle School degree.

Parents. I know that these three years have not been easy for you. Your son or daughter entered these halls a sweet, innocent, baby-faced child and today leaves an asshole.

I wish I could tell you that it will soon get better, but that would, of course, be a lie. I can tell you that you have the option of getting a reverse vasectomy and having another sweet baby. Of course, that baby, too, would eventually become an asshole. So, you probably want to keep it sewn up.

Teachers. Thank you. Thank you for your leadership, your expertise, your sacrifices and your everyday heroism. And on behalf of the entire community, please accept my apology for cancelling the pension program. I’m grateful, though, that today is not goodbye. We will, I recognize, see you in court.

And now, most importantly, graduates. What can I say? Really, what the hell can I say? Congratulations on this, I guess you’d call it, an achievement of some sort. What you do from this day forth is up to you. Might I recommend high school?

My intention is not to make light of what you’ve gone through. You’ve been rigorously challenged by an international baccalaureate curriculum that, to my parental eyes, oddly included my son still having a lot of homework that asked him to draw pictures.

But your life has been more than studies these three years. You’ve begun to navigate that awkward space between childhood, where every move is scripted for you by your parents, and adulthood, where your every move will be scripted by the system … man.

In other words, you are already about halfway through your only years of freedom in life. You really shouldn’t be wasting your time listening to this crap.

Still, I hope you will bear with me, as, in the custom in these sort of speeches, I offer some advice. There’s the obvious advice. Like don’t go into public television.

But I hope that what I say today goes beyond the expected and that I leave you with words that you will never forget, and I mean, never. I hope these words will always be running through your mind, when you get up each morning and go to bed each night, when you’re taking your SATs and ACTs and you need to concentrate but all you hear is my voice, when you’re having sex for the first time, and every time after that, when your priest or rabbi is asking you to say your vows but you can’t concentrate because there I fucking am again, when many years from now, surrounded by loved ones on your deathbed …

Anyhow. Here are the things I wish somebody had told me as I graduated middle school.

Don’t worry, Mark, that everybody but you has already hit puberty. Someday, they will go bald first.

Don’t feel like you’re missing out, Mark, when you’re stuck home by yourself at night when everybody’s at a party you didn’t know about. Someday, you’ll kill to have a night, or an hour, or hell, 15 minutes alone at home.

Don’t comfort yourself, Mark, by saying that the bullies will someday pump your gas. By the time you’re an adult, it will all be self-serve.

Don’t get upset, Mark, that the girl you had a massive crush on rejected you. Someday, you will date and ultimately marry a much better girl — but have no idea what you’re doing because, of course, a goddamned path in life was established when the middle-school girl rejected you. Sorry, got a little carried away there.

And, finally, don’t act like the world is collapsing, Mark, because Ronald Reagan is president. Seriously, just wait.

The rest, graduates, will be up to you to figure out on your own. But for now, enjoy your day. And, please give yourself a big hand. Because nobody else will. We all think this ceremony is ridiculous.