Congratulations to the Class of 2008. It’s an honor to be addressing you today as your valedictorian. I should tell you that I am deaf, so if my microphone goes out, I ask that you all stand up and wave your arms at me to stop. Also, if you feel like laughing or clapping, go ahead! But please also stand up and wave your arms so I know what’s happening.
In this speech, I’d like to give some words of advice to any new students who are here at commencement today. I wish I had known what I know now when I was a new student here. When I showed up on the first day of class, I didn’t know what to expect…I had never been to a school or seen this many people in one room. Was this some kind of house? Where were the beds? The girl next to me said there were no beds, so I spread my blankets out on the floor and made do.
Later I met some friends who would change my life forever. Kenny Stanford Crouton, my roommate, the prep-school football star who would make me follow him into the bathroom and turn the lights off when he closed the stall door. Wanda Bodhi Masterson, lab partner by day, consensual practice-sex partner by afternoon. Crutch Brick, my Roman Civ teaching assistant. This speech, this whole day, is for you guys. It’s only right now, as I watch you slowly disappearing and waving at me, that I realize that I made you all up.
One piece of advice I would give is to follow your heart. Last spring, when I told my parents I wanted to take a semester to travel, they said I was crazy. I had just been rescued from a Bosnian POW camp, and now I wanted to go back? To the same camp where I watched my brothers and sisters tortured and killed for a cause they weren’t old enough to understand? I knew that it seemed strange, but I had to get my revenge. Plus I took some language immersion courses while I was there so I could graduate with my class.
Anyway, the most important thing that I wish I had known is this: You only have four years in college, six if you are a good hider. So remember: dance like nobody’s watching. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Kiss with your eyes wide open. Love like nobody’s watching. And never forget, when you kiss, to sing into her mouth.
I’d like to close this speech with a story. I was walking on the beach with Jesus and I looked back and there was only one set of footprints. And Jesus said, “That was when I was flying.” Thanks to the Asian Christian group for teaching me that story. Thanks for listening. And whatever you do, don’t eat the cafeteria food! That shit is mine.