Thank you, President Crow, for that generous introduction. I know we just met on the steps leading up to this stage, but you pretty much nailed me: I am a 30-year-old guy with an MFA who works with computers and constantly daydreams about having webbed fingers and toes for reasons he wishes not to disclose.

And I want to thank the entire ASU community for not inviting me here today. I know you were all looking forward to hearing President Obama speak, but he is off fighting crime and Liz Cheney’s hairstylist.

If you are sitting out there, sweating and fanning your face with today’s commencement program, trying to ignore the growing dampness of your colorful underwear, and you are wondering if I’ve ever even stepped foot in the state of Arizona before last night, then I want to tell you this: I never had a reason until now to check ya’ll out. I can think of 47 other states I’d rather visit than Arizona, so this is a total surprise to me too.


You are #50, Alabama

You are #50, Alabama


I’m going to ask several things of you today, graduates, with number one being that if this stack of cocktail napkins holding my speech is blown away, please retrieve them for me because I have my ATM pin number scrawled on each one.

Second, I’d like you all to stand up and turn around. Wave goodbye. Wave goodbye to your sorority parties, to your one-credit badminton classes, to your meal cards, to the drifter you humiliated, killed and buried on the edge of North Quad. Wave goodbye to the Junior class who will be taking your place next year, making your presence on this campus completely forgotten with their own antics, date-rapes, and football records. Wave goodbye to the person standing in front of you with their back turned even though they can’t see that you’re waving at them. If you secretly hated them, now is the time to flip them off. Give them the double bird if you like. Or you can shoot a bloody snot rocket onto their gown and act like it was an accident.

Turn around, Seniors. Take a seat. Get comfortable. Adjust your cap and tassel.

Wipe away your tears.

You are entering the real world, graduates. A real world just like the one you see on TV every night. Some of you will become a real housewife of… Phoenix (pause for applause), some of you will attempt to show your love for Brett Michaels through jacuzzi handjobs, some of you will consume broiled goat testicles simply to move on to the next round, and some of you will become so despondent that ABC will drive a huge bus up to your front lawn and tear the shit out of your house. If you are lucky, you will experience all of these things by the age of 30. If you are unlucky, you will experience all of these things after the age of 30, plus you will have lost your legs in a tennis accident.

The economy is bullshit right now, guys. Total bullshit. A few of you are going to find jobs with your family business after they fire a long-time employee to make room for you, but most of you are going to have to move in with your parents who have moved in with your grandparents who have moved into their neighbor’s roofless tool shed. You will not have running water or an outlet to charge your iPhone. But you will have each other, a push lawn mower, and a degree in sports marketing.

Hope you enjoy visiting high schools.

Hope you enjoy visiting high schools.


But do not despair! (shout seven times)

Do you control your own destiny? Yes. Of course you do. You can choose to rewrite a popular foreign film. You can deep fry a rat’s hindquarters and then sue the fast food restaurant of your liking. You can model for American Apparel. You can bootleg your Netflix queue, or you can trick a professional football player into investing in an imaginary product like invisible life preservers.

There are a couple more things you can do but they are ones I am saving for myself. By the way, meet me after the ceremony if you’re interested in making a shit-ton of cash with nothing more than your face and a tattoo needle.

Lastly, I ask that each and everyone of you try to find someone to validate my parking. Ten dollars an hour, my ass.

Congratulations on your graduation, and Godspeed on the road ahead. And please, can someone please Godspeed over there and grab that napkin?

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GREG BOOSE grew up in northeast Ohio, got his MFA degree in Moorhead, MN, and now lives in Chicago. His writing has appeared on/in The Huffington Post,The Big Jewel, Yankee Pot Roast, Monkeybicycle, Opium Magazine, McSweeneys.net, Hobart, Feathertale, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio, Chicago Reader, NFL.com and more. Along with his wife, he is the co-editor for BlackBook Magazine's guide to Chicago. He won the 2008 Readers' Choice Award and Editor's Choice Award for satire in Farmhouse Magazine.

You must be this tall to visit his website at gregboose.com.

Follow him on Twitter at Greg_Boose.

3 responses to “My Prepared Commencement Speech for Arizona State University, In Case President Obama Had to Cancel to Take Care of Some Federal Shit”

  1. “By the way, meet me after the ceremony if you’re interested in making a shit-ton of cash with nothing more than your face and a tattoo needle.”


  2. Carl D'Agostino says:

    Funny but the bleak future faced by today’s grads is devastating. And that student loan, forget it. All the money your parents sacrificed and more for nothing. I’d hate to be asked to speak at a commencement. I mean what could your possibly say that hasn’t been said a bazillion times already no matter how creative or funny you are? So you did a good job, I think.

    On a serious note since you’ve made Arizona the topic, I watch MSNBC and read all the pundits about the state’s “pick em up and show me papers” immigration law. They scream about racial profiling and expanded police stop and search protocol(I share the concern), but seem to have missed the larger issue. Good Lord there is a war going on just south of the border. The drug guys have actually taken over some states in Mexico. 16,000 citizens have been killed. Albeit some were criminals but the murders are spilling over into Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. I think Arizona is screaming “HEY,EVERYONE. THERE IS A WAR GOING ON HERE.” No one seems to get it.

    What’s your take?

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