Pompous Circumstances 2007

May18/ 2007

… We continue our tradition of BobLee’s annual straight talk to the graduating classes of America’s “institutions of higher learning”.  To the 98% of you who heard a flaming constipated Bush-hatin’ uber-liberal give a commencement rant, much of this will be shocking.  … habla straight talk.  “Life” is not “political”.  It’s showing up and it’s justifying your existence … that’s just “the way it really is” like it or not.

NOTE:  I had intended to tweak this but yeah verily there really wasn’t much tweaking necessary.  This sumbitch is as Dead Solid Perfect as it has been for the past 3-4 years.  The scariest part is that this stuff applies to nearabout everybody regardless of age nearabout every day.

   Graduating Seniors … I do hope you learned “something” in college besides how to mask the smell of “pot smoke”, and how to hold a votive candle at a silent vigil without burning yourself.  As useful as those skills might have been over the last four years, the “cold & cruel” will demand more from you … and pretty quickly.

   Today you are the kings and queens of your domains, applauded by parents, grandparents, fellow graduates, yourself and enterprising entrepreneurs selling tacky graduation memorabilia.   Enjoy it, wallow in it, for tomorrow you enter that mythical life stage referred to as “WHEN YOU GROW UP”.

The myth is that such a time and place actually exists.  Like everything else you have been told up until now, fully half of whatever you hear is unadulterated bunk.  If you attended a Liberal Arts School the “irrelevant bunk” ratchets up to 83%.  96% if your college waived the swimming test. The challenge for you is determining which half.

Reality Slap … you competed against 100s in high school … against 1,000s here in college. Now you will compete with 1,000,000s not only here in America but all around the world.  If you are used to and expect to be “the prettiest, the smartest, the fastest, the strongest, the best” the best way to do that is to run back home and go to work for “Daddy’s company” … an option not to be discounted if available …

If you grew up in a traditional semi-nuclear family (admittedly that includes fewer of you than ever before in our nation’s history) you are used to being the apple of somebody’s eye.  You have always been “special”.  Even on this campus you have been mesmerized that only “the best and the brightest” matriculate “here”.  That same elitist mantra is preached on EVERY college campus.  Heck, Hadji is being told that at The University of Calcutta right now.

Since the age of three you have maintained that much of what you had to do, or could not, “do” was “not fair”.  Going to bed at 8 PM, “eating your vegetables”, and Saturday morning classes is going to ratchet up really quickly to production quotas,  The IRS, Alzheimer’s, and “superficial BSers” getting promotions you deserve.

All of 2007’s crop of “the best and the brightest” get summarily dumped into the adult work force.  A lot of you “eye apples” are going to be scrambling for a limited number of brass rings.  The ratio of brass rings to “eye apples” is forever out of synch. A year from now, and every year thereafter, a new crop of “eye apples” will be “competing” for “your” brass ring.

Since you were toddlers, obnoxious relatives and strangers in malls have asked you “what do you want to be when you grow up?”.  Starting tomorrow that changes to “and what do you do for a living?”  You don’t need a legitimate answer to that rhetorical question.  Fake it like most of us do, but you do need to work on your answer.  “Consultant” and “considering a lot of options” are popular deflecting responses.

If you “go into sales” and if you fail to sell very much you will not have that job very long.  You will need some philosophical yadda yadda to tell your friends when you are no longer at “that great job” you bragged about six months earlier.  “The sales manager was a jackass” will work the first couple of times you get fired for not producing then you’ll need a back-up excuse.  Try holding “a silent vigil”.

Yes, you had professors in college who produced nothing but hot air and kept their jobs.  Get a college teaching gig if you can … can’t be fired and you look up coed’s skirts all day assuming you actually teach a class.   Oh …. those bilge belching professors took full advantage of your naive idealism and youthful arrogance for the past four years.  Your real world “bosses” will can your butt in a Dow Jones minute for such foolishness.  BE WARNED.

You have heard the philosophical quandary “Why do Bad Things happen to Good People?” That worries you because you consider yourself “a good person”.  We will deal with that illusion in a moment.

I am unable to tell you “why babies die”, or “why nuns get hit by Mack Trucks”..  I also don’t understand “how MapQuest works”, “why Oprah is so popular”, or “why CBS hired Perky Katie”.   The plight of “Good People” will not cause you as much concern as it’s reverse quandary “Why do Good Things happen to Bad People?” 

When I said “Bad People” you immediately thought of Adolph Hitler (or George Bush if your name is Jimmy Carter!).  Every one does. Running close behind Adolph in New Millenium polls are Hillary Clinton, Dick Cheney, and Mike Krzyzewski.  If you truly waste your “Bad People” vote on a sports coach, you are in for such a shock in “real life” that your chance of surviving corporate America or marriage are worse than Josh McRoberts’ long range NBA future.

A word about the actual importance of “sports” in the real world.  On a scale of 1-10 with one being totally insignificant … “the outcome of a game” is a “minus 46” unless you are a coach, player or sports bookie.

Here’s the BEST JOB EVER … get a job at a college (that your daddy owns) and spend your days at silent vigils and your nights on a sports message board … the recipe for “human cottage cheese” … go for it.

One does not have to mastermind the annihilation of 6,000,000 Jews to be “a Bad Person”.  Look up and down the row you are sitting on.  Now lean in real close so I can whisper a secret to you.  “There are “bad people” on that row with you.”  Say it ain’t so BobLee!  Alas, it is.

You WILL be victimized by “a bad person” at some point but no one will care, except mommy and daddy … and NOBODY cares what they think about you any more.  PULEEEZE don’t have daddy call your boss demanding you be allowed to come in at noon “because you aren’t a morning person”.  Trust me, don’t do it.

It’s guaranteed that in the years to come you will have “a bad person” as a “boss” or supervisor.  You will have “bad people” as co-workers … as clients … as neighbors … as business partners … sitting behind you at a movie theater … and all around you in heavy traffic.  I would include “as spouses” but I’ve scared you too much already with this.  Those “bad people” will win various competitions with you and you will see them enjoy the fruits of their “bad person behavior”.  You may even be the “bad person” someone else encounters.  Maybe you’ll be lucky and the “good people” you victimize will hold silent vigils to protest your evilness.

Rationalize that “they will get their comeuppence one of these days”.  That is another myth about “life”.  There simply are not enough “comeuppences” to handle all the “bad people” in society.  That is why many of us chose to believe in “the eternal firey depths of Hell”.  That obnoxious neighbor playing his stereo at 3 AM and that gross guy who didn’t wash his hands before grabbing the door knob in the public restroom will end up there.  Thinking otherwise really messes up your mind.

You think you have “common sense” aplenty AND a “great sense of humor”.  In addition you, in your estimation, are “a good person” and are (TAA DA!) “a people person”.  Congrats, those self-assumed qualities will get you hired as a telemarketer or as a busboy at Applebee’s.  40 years from now you can look forward to being a Wal-Mart greeter at the first Wal-Mart Galactic Superstore on Neptune.

If asked to grade the other students on your dorm floor or your fraternity or sorority mates you would not score all of them so high on “common sense”, “sense of humor”, or overall affability.  Guess what, they scored you lower than you would like to believe too.  Out there in the “real world” the grading is even tougher and non-stop. “Daddy’s company” is not real world … hide there if at all possible.

Being “a trust fund baby” is NOT a bad gig AT ALL.  Ask Paris …. Until the $$$ run out then it really sux.

As to “what you want to be”, don’t fret about that one UNLESS you think you actually do know; then be worried. Your current view of any occupation is so idealized as to be unrecognizable five years from now.  You might spend your entire life searching for “your niche” and learn 50 years from now that “itinerate job changer” was your true calling.

“Succeeding” mostly involves mundane every day issues that your pointy-headed professors never bothered to mention. It’s not about “theory” it’s about RESULTS. Did you take Show Up Every Day 101 or Nose To Grindstone 102?  I didn’t think so. Professors don’t know “jack” about how the real world works.  I repeat … GET A COLLEGE TEACHING GIG!  Sure, you’ll have to denounce God and stop bathing but no job is perfect.

Those personality tests you took as freshmen four years ago …  you tried to fool’em by checking all the positive qualities so you could get into the popular majors. You should have checked “Forest Ranger” as you will learn at or about your 40th birthday.

Speaking of “forests”, many of you have student memberships in The Sierra Club and P.E.T.A. and such trendy student “activists” organizations.  When those organizations try to get you to upgrade and become a regular member at several hundred dollars a year, 99% of you will toss their materials in the trash with those 72 “You have been pre-approved” credit card applications you will be getting daily from now on.  Go forth and “change the world” will become go forth, pay the mortgage and what’s for dinner.  CLUE: The world will “change” with/without your involvement.  Ask your Daddy and his Daddy. 

In closing, if you remember nothing else from these remarks, remember this.    What happens to you ‘tween this diploma and “death” is “UP TO YOU”.  You will at various junctures try to assign that responsibility to your parents, your boss, your spouse, the government, God, and a combination of those aforementioned “bad people”.  The sooner you accept accountability for your ever-evolving life circumstances the better you will appreciate them and actually exert some slight control over them.  

There will be times when you should “go along to get along” and times to “stand up for what’s right”.  Just do “rock, paper, scissors”.  You will likely get those times mixed up like the rest of us usually do.

Collect all the bromides, homilies, and Far Side cartoons you can.  Stick them on your bathroom mirror, your desk, your dashboard, and certainly on your refrigerator with magnets provided by your local pizza delivery service.  The one about “Life is a Journey, Not A Destination” is probably your best choice along with The Serenity Prayer.

Many of you no doubt watch the hit TV show The Office …. Guess what?  It is not a sit-com …. It is a documentary.  Every single one of those dysfunctional goofballs has a twin in every office you will ever occupy. …. Yes, even Dwight.   A number of you, about 26%, ARE “Dwights”!   You think you’re “Jim” but you’re not … you’re “Dwight”.  Every “Dwight” thinks he’s a “Jim”.  Just ask “Pam”.  “Pams” always know.


 “Michael” on The Office 

did what job on Ron Burgundy’s team?


     Gene, Ole and Lars Anderson were the assorted Minnesota Wrecking Crew along with Rick Flair.  They later morphed into the Four Horsemen with Tully Blanchard.

   BIG DOINs at our house this past week …… Kid is still holding All Aces at Mizzou.  Her freshman year is in the history book and not nary a B or below to be seen on “her permanent record”.  I’ll be taking her back out later this week for summer school and a summer helping with her church’s community outreach program.

   And wait’ll you hear about Mizzus ….. she has qualified for her “concealed carry” permit.  Back in high school she played the lead in Annie Get Your Gun …. Now, a few decades later …. She WILL actually be getting her gun.   Trying to find a holster that matches her shoes and purse might be a problem.  Does Kate Spade make shoulder holsters?

  Another new verb enters the lexicon …. “to Jimmy Carter” is to behave as a sadly pathetic old fool but NOT have Alzheimers.  The Alzheimers Assoc issued a “don’t blame us” press release on Monday morning …. Rosalyn called Tipper to warn her “see what you have to look forward to”.  Tipper replied  “you mean Al will get even nuttier ???”.

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