Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cap and Frown

Last week I attended my daughter’s commencement exercise.  The shining faces of the graduates looked to the future with a mixture of ambition, enthusiasm and hope.  The speeches given by the valedictorian and the local politicians echoed those sentiments.  It was actually kind of shameful.  After four years of facts and figures, years where they were encouraged to seek the truth, why did we end their high school career by filling their heads with lies?  Oh, if only the speakers had been hooked up to a polygraph, I’m certain the speeches would have come out more like this...

I’m State Senator So-and-so.  It’s not a pleasure to be here, sweating my behind off in this robe and ridiculous cap.  And this special certificate you gave me?  Seriously, I get more excited when the vending machine gives me two candy bars for the price of one.

As you go forward into the world, remember your dreams.  You might even want to write them down, because in a couple of years that will be all that is left of them.  It’s wonderful that you worked so hard for your grades, but we forgot to tell you one thing.  It doesn’t make any difference.

Do you remember that meat head in your geometry class?  The one that doodled and slept when he showed up, which was rare?  Well, you’re going to work at the same company as he is.  You’re going to work overtime, sweat every project and neglect your family, all in the name of that promotion that’s going to make all that hard work worth it.  Meanwhile, the meat head will leave early, spend half the day flirting with the girl that answers the phone and looking at pornography on his computer.  Again, this is when he shows up. Yet, when it’s time for the promotion, who gets the coveted job?  Well, the meat head does of course.  Because his father either runs the company or golfs with the man that does.

Forget making a difference.  As close as you’ll come is making the same mistakes in a unique manner.  Turn around and look at your parents.  That’s you in twenty years.  You’ll marry badly at least once.  You’ll drink too much.  You’ll tell your kids, “Because I said so.”

Some of you will seek elective office, wishing to be among the best and brightest, to cure society’s ills.  If you get there, after a long struggle, you’ll discover people with the intellectual curiosity of Paris Hilton and the morals of a hyena.  Oh, and the meat head will be there, too.  He might even be Governor Meat head by now.  But you will have worked so hard to get there, you’ll have forgotten the good deeds you planned to do.

Your kids will resent what your generation squandered.  You’ll hate their music.  Yet, they’ll do their best in school and try to out-work the meat head in their graduating class.  If they don’t succeed, they’ll comfort themselves with platitudes like, “Money can’t buy happiness.” 

But as I look out over your faces today, I see the meat head, sound asleep in the third row.
I don’t know, he looks pretty happy to me.

Please consider these other items written and/or performed by Marc Holland:
Live performances at:

Three plays co-written with Mike Davis-

Crenshaw Family Reunion 

Beauty and the Deceased

Night of the Livid Dad (one-act)

One play co-written with Kathy Holland-

Warren’s Peace

Are  all available at:

Coming Soon: A new one-act co-written with Kathy Holland-


Will be available at:

Novels under the pen name Quentin Tippler-

Hats Off For Homicide

And Coming Soon:

On the QT: The Collected Short Fiction of Quentin Tippler

Are for sale at:

Novels under the pen name Carl Stafford-

Son of Mann

And Coming in 2014:

Grandsons of Mann

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