The great David Rakoff, in a speech I did not give at commencement. As far as I know there is no video of me making the commencement speech, but here is a written copy should anyone want to imagine me in a stunning cocktail dress with my drive chain draped lovingly around my neck reading it from hastily hand written cue cards:
Oh thank goodness! It feels so good to finally be up here admiring all of you instead of hanging out by that back door trying not to drink all of my wine before the toast. With that in mind I will keep this brief.
I, and I suspect possibly others, have just passed through one of the most self-centered times of my life. I sometimes felt like I was eating through my family, my friends, and my advisor like devouring a heart shaped box of chocolates after a break up; asking them to read extra drafts of my paper, help me cut out stray fish, feeding me tapioca pudding at odd hours.
And what has surprised me is how sympathetic everyone has been. The generosity especially of fellow students and alumni has been overwhelming, not only for me but for Sarah, in the case of Jeff Brown helping her learn the ins and outs of final cut, Jessica being helped with the finer points of photoshop by Flannon Jackson, Rita being talked back from the ledge by Rita Kohler. Rob Sullivan encouraged us on facebook, Nina sent us timely birthday wishes, and the local folks have been fantastic about helping with laundry emergencies and acting as hosts and hostesses.
As a group we have learned to rely on one another, in grief, in financial disaster, in technical difficulty. We have worked together pleasantly to help hang these shows, from carpooling to Cambridge to schlepping ladders from floor to floor. We’ve brought Aaron flatware to stock the trouseau for the apocalypse, then had Aaron up on a ladder rigging poles and lights and pulleys and generally being, well, manly, in exchange.
Thank you, friends, for all being enormously generous with spirit, time, warmth, dishes, detergent, etc. And now we would like to extend to you, future classes of LOOOO CAD. Please, call us, email us, ask for our help. We can be of use to you, honest. We’ve gone down this rabbit hole before, and we know the way to get out through the looking glass. It’s the least we can do for you after all that has been done for us.
Our graduation is an accomplishment of this whole community, and we are all thankful to Louise, Samantha, and lovely, wonderful, indispensible Joel, the security guards and the faculty, the financial aid advisors and the front desk staff. Thank you all. If we did this with grace it is because you have not stood in the way of our bumbling progress, instead helping tuck in those loose threads and make us aware of the food still attached to the side of our mouths. Thank you, again, for your generous support.
Now let’s drink beer and smash sharks!