Thursday, May 21, 2009

Commencement Speech

As many 2009 graduates cross the stage they’re tasked with heeding their respective keynote speaker and the commencement speech delivered that day.

As you cross the stage at Your Life University, remember the following words from OakleyOC, your Honorary Doctorate of Motivation, and keynote speaker today:

***start of Commencement Speech***


As I look from this podium I see eager eyes and I see glassy eyes. Now those with the glassy eyes … it was a great party last night, huh? (crowd laughs) The ones with the eager eyes … you missed out! (crowd laughs harder)

How many of you truly know what you’re up against after you cross this stage this afternoon? You’re facing one of the lowest moments since the past six years of your undergraduate years. (crowd roars) However one thing you must remember is to NEVER GIVE UP. Many will challenge you in this thinking, and by many I refer to your friends who HAVE given up and want to keep you from reaching your potential. Your Admissions Office didn’t give up on you when you maintained Summer Sessions year after year, in order to move on to the next level in your respective coursework. Your Sorority Sisters didn’t give up on you when you kept breaking your nails during your missed tackles during the Powder Puff Flag Football games. Your fellow ROTC cadets didn’t give up on you when you could not keep your shoes' luster gleaming during inspection. They didn’t give up on you because everyone, I repeat, everyone, has the same shot at life. Take everything in perspective, and not just what you see in your own little world. Take that last comment how you want to take it. Yeah, yeah, I live in Orange County, too, so I can make that comment. In fact, let me share a story I recall. In fact, you English majors may even call this a parable. (crowd laughs)

(”OakleyOC, I love you!” shouts someone from the crowd)

One day a wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country so that the son could see how the poor lived. They spent a day and a night at the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?" "Very good, Dad!" "Did you see how poor people can be?" "Yeah!" "And what did you learn?" The son answered, "I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lamps in the house; they have the stars. Our patio reaches to the front yard; they have the whole horizon." When the little boy was finished, the father was speechless. His son then added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are!"

(silence, then the crowd applauds)

Just when you thought that brand new BMW you’ve got waiting for you in the driveway made you rich, you’re actually pretty darn poor, huh? But I certainly hope you NEVER GIVE UP since you should be feeling so darn poor right about now. (crowd laughs)

Each one of us is given the same opportunity as the person sitting next to you. You History majors will call that inalienable rights. (crowd laughs)

If everyone out there goes into interviews, day after day, week after week, the ones that give up are GUARANTEED to not be offered a job. If everyone out there pushes aside all the challenges everyone will face, you’ll find that “the strong will survive.” See? I plugged you Darwinism majors out there! (crowd laughs)

They call me OakleyOC because of all these awesome looking optics from Oakley that happen to land on my face from time to time. (assistants roll in two crates of Oakley eyewear) Why do I have so many? To see through all the various crap out there! (crowd laughs) See through all the crap and push forward with your vision. NEVER GIVE UP! Who’s going to catch this O ROKR? (OakleyOC begins tossing Oakley eyewear into the crowd, but always towards the same section) Who’s going to catch this Thump? What about this Oil Rig? What about this GasCan? What about this Jawbone? Oh wait, not that one.

My point here is that some of you close to that section over there stopped reaching. Why? Did you give up? What did I just say? NEVER GIVE UP! Can I hear you say that? (crowd joins in)

Now calm down, everyone, so we can all get out of here alive. Campus Police is looking nervous over there. OK ... Where are my whiners? Do I have any whiners in the crowd?


Let me give you whiners out there some examples of winners, those that never gave up:

Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, and Jimmy Johnson accounted for 11 of the 19 Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1993. They also share the distinction of having the worst records of first-season head coaches in NFL history - they didn't win a single game.

Johnny Unita’s first pass in the NFL was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Joe Montana’s first pass was also intercepted. And while we're on quarterbacks, during his first season Tony Aikman threw twice as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns (9) . . . oh, and he didn't win a single game. You think there's a lesson here?

Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was "too awkward and clumsy." He went on to clumsily win Wimbledon and the U. S. Open. And eight Davis Cups

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball teams. One of his memorable quotes: I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

NEVER GIVE UP. Say it with me NEVER GIVE UP. As you move past your crazy antics you’ll do when you cross the stage to pick up your rolled up posters of your beautiful campus (crowd laughs) remember to, what? … NEVER GIVE UP. Remember to look through the crap that’s out there and, what? … NEVER GIVE UP. There’s a ton of crap people will throw in your path, so just look through all of that crap. And to make that a bit easier, taped underneath your seats is a pair of Oakley Jawbones. Your families, your loved ones, your friends ... they're all looking forward to your success. Heck, they’ve waited SIX YEARS for you to graduate today! (crowd roars)

NEVER GIVE UP! (crowd applauds and yells, "Oakley-dokely!")

***end of Commencement Speech***

Look past the crap that many amateurs view as failures and NEVER GIVE UP!


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