Embrace Failure: My Speech to the Graduates – Brooklyn Community College 2011

By Mucho Groucho

Anyone who has been following my essays and public journaling knows that I am at the crossroads of middle age with a lack of direction not even a cosmic GPS could help me with. I am somewhere between candidating for a Nobel Peace Prize and delivering pizza. Since my car gets lousy gas mileage, and the registration on it has been suspended I am counting on the Nobel Peace Prize.

What the heck – Obama got one and so did Jimmy Carter. When I read that even Yasser Arafat received the prestigious award, I knew that I would be a shoo in. But as the season of rent is drawing near again, I once more searched high and low, in this case Craigslist as the low, for any potential gig to get me through another month while waiting for the Nobel Committee to finally take my call.

I happened upon a Craigslist ad that read as follows:
Speech Writer / Public Speaker wanted to address Brooklyn Community College Graduating Class of 2011. Speech must be inspirational, motivational and memorable.

I went to Brooklyn Community College for 2 years in my early twenties. It’s a beautiful campus located right on one of Brooklyn’s most famous and only beaches. The dunes are constructed with recycled plastic upon a hidden garbage dump covered in layers upon layers of sand and some say there are more bodies floating in the water there than fish. It is also not far from Coney Island and when I used to drop my college sweetheart Magdelena off nearby late at night I waited in the car as she crossed the street and entered her complex known as “the projects.” I would lock my car doors and cower at the sounds of “snap, crackle and pop,” the gun-fire heard from a distance thanks to the Puerto Rican gangs that contributed to the ambiance of evenings there. I wish I were nicer to Magdelena and would have been had she not prevented me from losing my virginity for so long during our 3 year on and off courtship.

As far as inspirational, motivational and memorable goes I can only say that I am not the most positive thinker applying for this lofty assignment. When someone holds a glass in my direction and asks the famous riddle of whether it is half full or half empty, my response is to shudder thinking that it will fall out of the person’s hands, crash to the ground causing the broken shards of glass to hit a major artery resulting in me slowly bleeding to death. At least he will get his answer regarding the balance between the positive and negative charges of life. So will my speech be inspirational and motivational? No, but I guarantee my speech will be remembered long after I am whisked away by the Brooklyn police who will violently throw me head first into the back of their patrol car.

So here goes:
Young ladies and gentlemen, the graduating class of Brooklyn Community College 2011: as an alum of these hallowed grounds, I am honored to address you here today and christen you all with a speech that will launch you into young adulthood like the champagne bottle that was used to launch that great and mighty ship the Titanic. These past two years of disciplined study has prepared you for the rest of your lives. You may hold your heads up in shameful pride as you enter the world as community college graduates armed with Associate Degrees in fields as diverse and necessary as Philosophy, Sociology, Secretarial Skills and Liberal Arts. Your way is limited as you move toward the void.

You are entering a world where your generation is the first in decades expected to earn significantly less than those of your parents and even their parents. With inflation factored in you will probably make less than the average worker in China who will soon own this country. I am envious of the challenges you are faced with as you become indentured servants to countries like China and Japan who upon redeeming the debt owed to them by our country will in essence own America. As you make deliveries for Chinese and Japanese Restaurants in your little motor scooters, remember to hoard some of the morsels of rice you are allotted so that you may make it last longer than how your masters intended.

Your esteemed generation holds high the greatest of the great with talents and genius of the likes of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, “Lindsey” and Snooky. May you aspire to be even greater than them who walked before you clearing the way for your own mediocrity to shine forth like a dull, dying star in a galaxy of suns.

In conclusion, I implore you to press on to fulfill the destiny and calling before you keeping in mind that if you don’t your tuition is non-refundable. Launch yourselves as mighty rockets using the knowledge imparted to you from these hallowed halls where Jimmy Hoffa is believed to be buried, as the fuse designed to propel you into oblivion. Go forth now and as the Steppenwolf song “Born to be Wild” urges: explode into space! Like a true nature’s child, you were born, born to be wild, you can climb so high – you never wanna die! Thank you.


  • Tracy
    April 2, 2011 - 12:19 AM | Permalink

    You kill me. It’s FABULOUS!

  • Mucho Groucho
    April 2, 2011 - 12:20 AM | Permalink

    Thanks very much!

  • Hilda
    April 10, 2011 - 4:43 AM | Permalink

    It’s great!!!… and so true & unfortunate! I wish your words were a lie, I wish this was not the future our children have to look forward to 🙁 Thanks Michael, you’re brilliant, my friend!

  • Mucho Groucho
    April 10, 2011 - 3:41 PM | Permalink


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