Editorial by John Ziegler

The Cynic's Address To The Class of 2005

6/6/2005

Class of 2005, your last four years in school has seen a dramatic change in this country and in this world. During your time in school you witnessed the most talked about and disputed election in our nation's history. Many of you still believe to this day that Clay Aiken actually DEFEATED Ruben Studderd in the 2003 American Idol final.

Your class also witnessed one of the darkest days in this country's history, a day none of you will ever forget. Of course I am referring to the day that Britney Spears announced she had been impregnated by a white trash loser.

Through it all you have survived and today you have graduated.

Congratulations on graduating. Of course, in today's forgiving environment of grade inflation, simply graduating is not really that great an accomplishment. Still, regardless of how much you actually learned in the past fours years (or however long it actually took you to graduate) today does, or at least should, still mark an extremely significant point of transition in your life. You are no longer a kid. You are an adult. This means that you should start acting like an adult. This does not mean that you shouldn't have any fun. It does, however, mean that you should now know the difference between good fun and bad fun, and you should be capable of acting accordingly.

I wish to let you in on a few secrets that those of you who are not completely brain dead will eventually figure out on your own, but if you listen to me will save a lot of time and frustration. First of all, most of what you have been taught in your academic career is not true. I am not just talking about the details of history that have been distorted to promote the liberal agenda of academia. I am also referring to the big picture lessons of life as well.

The sad truth is that, contrary to what most of you have been told; you can NOT do or be anything you want. The vast majority of you will not be ever be paid to do what you are currently dreaming of doing and will be absolutely miserable in whatever career you choose or are forced to endure. The sooner you come to grips with this reality, the better chance you have of eventually achieving some semblance of happiness. And make no mistake; it is happiness that should be your goal.

Frankly, I have no idea how to get there, but I have lived long enough to know that not much else really matters and that most of what you have been taught to pursue in order to become happy has little or nothing to do with actually being happy.

While being rich certainly does not insure happiness, unless you happen to be an extremely attractive woman, you do indeed need to make some money in your life, so you will need to get a job. Unless you think asking people if they want fries with their hamburger can help provide you with a fulfilling life, finding a good job will be very difficult.

Being the boss is definitely better than being the employee. To be the boss, you don't need brains, but, unless you are a member of the lucky sperm club, you do usually need brass balls. You will most likely hate your boss because they will most likely be dumber than you think you are and they will inevitably screw you at every chance they get. If you don't have the guts to start you own operation so you can be the one screwing everyone over, deal with the limitations of being the employee and try not to take it too personally.

Your boss will not be the only stupid person you encounter in life. The vast majority of people are MUCH MUCH dumber than you have ever been led to believe. Never forget this. It will be impossible to avoid the morons of the world completely, so it is far better to know that they are there and that you will at least occasionally have to deal with them.

Do not trust anyone unless you have some sort of significant leverage over him or her and they KNOW that you have that leverage over them. Unless this condition exists, ANYONE and I mean ANYONE can and probably will stab you in the back. When that happens, don't be surprised, deal with it, take notes, and try not to take it too personally.

Just like most of what you have been taught is not based in fact, neither will be most of what you hear from other people. And just like people are far dumber than you have been lead to believe, they are also FAR more dishonest than anyone is seemingly willing to admit to you. If you have any doubt as to whether someone is telling you the truth, it is a safe bet to assume that they are lying to you.

Unfortunately you will find that the truth doesn't matter very much in real life. In most cases, perception IS reality. In fact, you are actually more likely to get in trouble in your life when you tell the truth than when you lie. This is especially true if you happen to be a really good liar. Being a good liar can be extremely helpful in achieving what most people would consider to be 'success,' but whether you can be truly happy getting what you think you want that way, is totally your choice. I am just letting you know the lay of the land.

Because almost no one is totally happy in his or her job, it is very important to keep your employment in proper perspective and have something else more fulfilling upon which to focus your energies. For many of you this will mean raising a family and, even in the age of modern science, usually still means finding another person with whom you would like to raise this family. If you decide that you want a family then try to find someone with whom you would be compatible in raising a family. Do NOT start having sex with someone because you are attracted to him or her and then decide just because the two of you haven't killed each other after two years and you happen to be at the 'right' age to get married that it is time to get married and have a family. Choosing the person with whom you are going to try to raise children and grow old based mostly on physical attraction makes as little sense as someone deciding to become a bank teller because they really like money.

No matter whom you choose to try this with you need to know that you will eventually hate them and they will eventually hate you. Hopefully this reality will pass, but you should know that it will definitely happen at some point and that often the condition is indeed permanent. When that happens, don't be surprised, deal with it, and try not to take it too personally.

For some of you, marriage and a family may not be the answer. If this is the case, PLEASE recognize this reality and don't try to force it anyway because of family/peer pressure or because you feel like you are missing out on your chance to be prince/princess for a day. Would you really like to have been conceived because your parents felt that they needed to be like everyone else? Some people are just not cut out to be good parents or married couples. If this is you, do us all a favor and stay single.

So what is it really all about? When you go searching for that answer many people are going to try to convince that you can find it through some sort of organized religion. If practicing a particular religion makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone else, go for it. However, be advised that some of the worst people on the planet pretend to be very religious and some of the best people in the world don't believe in any particular religion at all. If you do decide to pursue a religion, there is a very good chance that, if you are open minded, your faith will be severely tested that, if you put all your happiness eggs in that one basket, you will be disappointed. If that happens, don't be surprised, try your best to deal with it, and don't take it too personally.

In conclusion, I have a few brief words of advice. Unless they are directly related to you (and even then it may not really matter), try not to worry about what other people think of you. Do your best to stay of jail, quit smoking, learn to drive safely and don't get too fat. don't vote unless you know what you are voting for. Try to live your life as if every day could be your last, and that someone up there may be judging the totality of that existence. If you have the inclination to tell/show someone how much you care about him or her, don't hesitate to do it. don't worry about the tiny details of life. In fact, don't worry about anything. It does almost no good. Do NOT fear success. Do NOT fear failure. DO fear never having given yourself the best chance to try. It is far more likely that you will regret NOT doing something than you will trying something that fails. If you never fail in this life then, unless your name is Tiger Woods, you probably will have lived a very boring life. Boredom is much worse than failure.

I wish you all the best of luck on your journey towards a fulfilling and non-boring life. You will need it.

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