I don’t remember much of my high school graduation, except I sat next to someone I swear I had never seen before. And my friend Kenneth quoting the famous philosopher, Dennis Rodman. I remember wearing a cute black dress from the Gap, only because I think it might have been the last time I wore a size 6 in anything. I don’t remember what the valedictorian said, although she posts pretty clever and funny things on facebook these days so it was probably good.
And for the last twelve years, I’ve heard a lot of the same quotes. A lot of cliché speeches. And remember none of them. But. Almost every year there is a moment. Where the audience gets quiet. When a student who has walked awkwardly with bulky arm braces into your room every day, sets his braces aside and walks without help across the stage. I’ve seen parents accept diplomas that their kids should have received. But didn’t get the chance. Or most recently, a sister accept her brother’s diploma while he watched on TV from his hospital room waiting on a new heart. And suddenly it doesn’t seem that cliché.
And so the day isn’t about the corny speeches. Or even the cap and gown. And I’m not even sure what pomp and circumstance means. But. I’ve heard my share of speeches. And today, several of my friends posted this one on facebook. And I loved it. Mostly because I love Conan. But also because he managed to be funny and real and vulnerable at the same time. And it might be my favorite graduation speech of all time……except the one my nephew gave at his just a few weeks ago!
(and feel free to skip to minute 15:30ish if you are pressed for time and want the serious part of his speech.)