You know what no one has ever asked me to do? Deliver a high school graduation speech. Not even when I was graduating high school did I make the “give a speech” cut. So, I didn’t have a stellar GPA and wasn’t going to Harvard. And yeah, maybe my dad did have to, as he so succinctly put it, “pick up the phone” to get me into Baylor. But still: I had some good things to say back then, and now, well, hello to years of wisdom that could benefit the 17- to 18-year-old demographic.
Guess what all this means? Oh yeah, I’m going to “gift you” with the high school graduation speech I wish I could give. Don’t panic, I promise no reflections on my teenage glory years, primarily because there weren’t any. Here it goes and lucky for you The Star won’t let my column exceed 800 words, so consider this the condensed or mini version.
Give me a second to get in the mood. I’m humming my high school’s fight school as inspiration. Now, I’m clearing my throat and imagining myself walking to the podium while getting one of those super braggy introductions that makes everyone sitting in the audience hate you just a little bit.
Okay, I made it to the podium. I didn’t trip and I managed to swing my hair. You know, one of those flirty, kind of sassy hair swings. A sort of “look at me, I’m smart and have voluminous hair, so go ahead and hate me some more” swing.
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Yes, I know I’m not that smart and my hair has to be coaxed into voluminous territory with a shopping cart full of product and the art of the extreme back comb, but it’s my faux reality and/or dream sequence and I say, why not imagine the best. Seriously, who would want to visualize the “authentic truth?” It sounds like some goofy thing Oprah would say.
Enough of the visualization nonsense, let’s go straight to the speech. Where did I leave off? Oh yes, I was at the podium. I look out of the audience, nod, smile and begin by dropping a bomb. I’m talking a big bomb, like the crowd gasps and then one lone member of the audience stands up and cheers, “You tell it, sister!” And another person spurred on by the “you tell it” jumps up and hollers, “Amen!”
I gain back control and then swing my hair again, just because I can, and begin to explain, some might say even justify, the bomb I dropped. To do this I have to repeat the bomb again because I’m nothing if not a lover of dramatic effect. (And really, who isn’t?)
As I’m preparing to repeat myself for the second time I’m hoping the school marching band in attendance would give me a drumroll. Oh yes, a drumroll would be ideal, almost goosebump-inducing. If this is my imagination of my giving a high school speech, why can’t I have a drumroll? Hmm, I totally see no reason why I can’t. Let’s back this story up a bit and now add in drumroll.
So just to review, I’m at the podium. My hair looks amazing. I’ve dropped a bombshell. I’ve gotten two cheers, so to speak, based on said bomb. I’ve nodded, cued the band for a drum roll and now that the stirring drumroll is over I’m about to resume my speech by restating the single sentence that made the crowd go all “Oh no she didn’t” on me. For clarity purposes no one actually said, “oh no she didn’t,” but that’s what I imagine the crowd was thinking.
I then repeat the 10 words that shocked the audience: High school is not the best time of your life.
You can’t think I’m wrong for fantasizing saying this at every high school graduation? And let’s be honest here, would you want the four years you spend suffering through assemblies and AP exams to be the pinnacle of your human voyage? More importantly, who wants to peak at 17? Who would want the next 60 years of their life to be ho-hum, just sort of OK, compared to lunch sophomore year? Hopefully no one.
The myth that your high school years are the best of your life needs to be eradicated. I consider it part of a teenage mental health initiative. Think of the severe bouts of depression that could be averted if, at the start of each school year, a banner graced the entrance to every high school that read, “Relax, these aren’t going to be the best four years of your life. Trust us, it gets better.”
And it does. It gets so much better. The simple fact that I don’t have Algebra 2 homework every night has increased my joy of life exponentially. Now, who needs a graduation speaker? I’m available.