An undelivered comencement address to the 1978 graduating class at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana
Having have had once been much educated
I have learned . . .
My parents raised me good.
Taught me what a good education
can do for one's quality of life,
quantity of bread,
frequency of good sex, and the like.
Ain't nuthin to it.
Post-literate, that's where I'ze at.
Can't spell for shit.
Can't finish anything,
But sure can plan out the whole campaign.
Know how to fix my stereo, but don't.
That's 'cause I'ze affected and effected.
Infused with the hot chocolate morality
Of the city and the times.
Whatcha gonna do when you get out?
Go up to Naptown?
Get a job as a clerk in a lawyer's office,
as a programmer for the insurers of the car
you can't afford, but have to buy.
How 'bout the Silicon Valley?
I hear it's real West out there.
Or Istanbul, or New Orleans.
where do you go after Bloomington:
The Eternal City?
I've seen sooooo many good heads,
good eggs, laid to waste by the forced decision.
It's over Chucko.
You can't go home, but you can't just go.
Somehow you think that the appeal of this
studentine ghetto will wear down and off
as you reach predicted maturity.
Maybe, . . . maybe not.
Cut off the soles of your shoes
climb a tree
and learn to play the flute.
Lounge by the shores, naked and care free.
Have late breakfasts at the Uptown.
Drink more. Smoke more. Plow fields.
Peter Pan was right.
Don't do it.
Don't grow up.
You can stay here, deep in the ivory womb.
You could get a job as a painter,
or start another paper or something.
Maybe you can get that recording contract
and still live out on Smithville Rd.
There's a Cassavettes flick
wherein the protagonists muse on
the best years of their lives --
It was their College Days.
If you're even half-way happy,
chances are, this is as good as it's gonna get.
You could get a job dishwashing at the Spoon.
Get back to your writing.
Buy that old beat-up all-metal electric guitar
and learn a few power chords.
What more do you want
for an adequate quality fo life?
You can live like a monarch here on
six lousy bucks an hour.
The secret to surviving is
knowing what you don't need.
And you need Bloomington.
It's in your blood, coagulating your motivation
as it massages your soul.
You know what will happen?
The weekend will come
and you will finally get a day off,
you'll decide to see a movie
'cause you got to do something.
Got to consume something.
And there will be only two movies worth seeing.
One of them will be about college days.
Then you'll remember what I'm saying here.
You'll remember how you thought I was crazy.
How I was so conservative and infantile.
And how those were the best days of your life.