Saturday, May 20, 2017


Greetings, graduates! I am very honored to be here to speak to you on the momentous occasion of your graduation from Hard Knox University. Give yourselves a big cheer! Or just groan and mumble.

You should be very proud of yourselves. As we know, the school of Hard Knox is the toughest school around. How tough?
  • The school colors are black and blue.
  • The bullying program is: Any kid not being bullied enough will get bullied by the school nurse.
  • It has the only university cafeteria with a "kill your own" lobster tank.
  • The lunch special? Nails.
  • "Schoolbook" means the character who has the latest odds at Aqueduct.
  • The mascot is a rabid wolverine. An actual rabid wolverine.
  • The playground is covered with broken glass---on purpose.
  • The student adviser is a guy named Knuckles with a two-by-four, whose advice is always "Man up, crybaby."
That's how tough.

As I look out over your bruised and surly faces, I am reminded of some other great Americans to graduate from the school of Hard Knox rather than from some sissy college. Jack Dempsey. Thomas Edison. Alvin York. Ty Cobb. Carbine Williams. Audie Murphy. Hulk Hogan. Liberace. I could stand here for hours and hours naming famous alumni, and you'd be tough enough to take it. Even though it's a hundred degrees today and your robes are made of sheer poreless plastic that must make you feel like a Thanksgiving turkey in a Reynolds oven bag. But I won't.

Yes, the school of Hard Knox turns out men and women, not boys and girls. Fighters and scrappers, not whiners and weasels. Metal, not marshmallow. Oftentimes when I am in a jam, I think back to what we always said in my undergrad days: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Unless it cripples you, debilitates you, or otherwise leaves you unable to function." And then I remember how we got so tough---by not quoting stupid ideas from failed philosophies at one another.

So, in closing, I would like to thank you for having me, but I'm sure you didn't want me here today. Because we're so tough at HKU that we only do things we hate. Now set your black eyes on the future and limp toward it, assured that however miserable life will get, and it will, that as a graduate of the school of Hard Knox you can take it. And dish it out, too.

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