Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Speech to the Graduating Class of 2013

In this current season of college graduations, I have been called upon by exactly no one to speak to the graduating class of no college or university anywhere. So, in the interest of sharing the benefits of my accumulated wisdom with today's impressionable young minds, I offer to you, the 3 readers of this blog, the benefit of my thoughts:

To the Graduates of the Class of 2013:

You're screwed.

Completely screwed.

Plain and simple. There's just no getting around it. You don't have a chance in hell in this world.

Those of you that are here ARE here because you apparently somehow managed to scrape together enough usable credits to meet the ever-changing requirements for graduation that every institution seems to change at the drop of a hat. ANY hat. Or you hacked your way in the registrar’s computer system somehow.

You are here, though. However, odds are, unless your last name is Romney, Koch, Trump, or Buffett, you are graduating with a mountain of debt that you will NEVER crawl out from under. It will follow you from job to job, from state to state, from country to country. In fact, you could move to a deep cave on the far side of the moon, and those student loan bill collectors will find you there. And they will keep lumping extra interest on your debt until the pile is so high that even if you jump off the top of it and kill yourself, they'll follow you into your next life to collect from whatever job you get once you get there.

But don’t worry, you'll be able to pay all your debt off in just a few short years thanks to that good, high-paying job that your fancy new degree will get you! Sorry, just kidding. Yeah, that degree in American History or contemporary fiction or Liberal Arts and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald's. What? It costs two now? Eh, whatever.

Speaking of McDonald's, that's most likely where you're going to end up working for the next 10 years or so. Right on the counter next to that stoner high school kid who never went to college in his life but who still managed to wind up making the same amount of money as you. More, probably, because he realized his possible career options earlier than you and has been there longer, so he now has more seniority than you and is probably your supervisor.

For those of you who managed to graduate with some kind of "useful" degree, perhaps like mechanical, chemical, or aerospace engineering, or maybe organic chemistry or applied physics, well, good for you. You might be able to wrangle a job with some high-tech firm that makes smart phones that can deliver porn more efficiently to horny teenagers. You might be able to hold onto that job for about 5 years, until some smart-assed fresh-from-college kid takes your job and throws you into the unemployment line. I suggest you then apply to Wal-Mart where they'll be selling Chinese knock-offs of the devices you spent the first 5 years of your post-graduate life creating. See you there.

However, if by some miracle, you manage to find a job that gives you a good career that you can keep and work there for 20 years or more, well, then, congratulations. You might even be able to find a spouse and raise a family. But before that, I suggest you check outside, if we're not there already. Have you noticed how hot it's getting? And how much severe weather we're having? In case you missed it, our level of atmospheric CO2 just hit 400 ppm. That means parts per million. And before you go thinking that's a really small number, let me point out to you that it was 350 ppm just a decade ago. Carbon dioxide at a level of 10000 ppm can be toxic. Before you think that's out of reach, /it's taken us less than 100 years to increase the CO2 level in the atmosphere from 300 to 400 ppm. It’s really not a coincidence that 2012 was the hottest year on record. Don’t expect that to change much in the years going forward. That much CO2 increasingly traps heat, which leads to more CO2, which leads to more heat, etc, etc.

So, congrats, class of 2013. You're totally screwed. If you want to have a chance in hell of doing something to change that, then I suggest you do one of 2 things: Invent a car engine that runs on nothing but solar power and produces no emissions, or create a device that absorbs CO2 and produces food, but only enough CO2 so that it cools that planet enough to reduce global warming back to temperate levels.

Unless you can do one of those two things, count on never getting what you want out of life. And even if you do manage to do one of those two things, count on your idea getting stolen by some soulless corporation and either appropriated for it to profit from, or hidden away, to never again see the light of day.

I’m really sorry to tell you this, class of 2013, but you. Simply. Have. No. Future. We did it to you, and we’re really sorry about that.. We’re not proud of it. But that’s the way it is.

Yeah. It's hard to believe why I haven't been called upon to give any speeches to graduating classes.

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