The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Don’t wear sunscreen

On My Way Out There
 Dont wear sunscreen
Don’t wear sunscreen

Don’t wear sunscreen

My crowning moment in high school was probably being chosen by my class to be our commencement speaker. Too bad the speech I gave didn’t live up to the hype. I compared my school to a small town and plagiarized Charles Kuralt.

Here is a somewhat verbatim quote: “Some of us will swim out to sea, and some of us will end up belly-up in the septic tank of life.”

But I want to make good. So I’ve decided to write another commencement speech. Nobody’s going to ask me to read this one, but I’ll bet you that my speech will be more pertinent to you graduating seniors than what you’ll hear May 17. If it’s not, I will personally arm wrestle with Herb Kelleher. (I understand he’s still somewhat miffed about that last bout he had with Kurt Herwald, but I bet I could take him.)

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2003: We stand today on a great precipice, with our future yawning before us. We are like an edifice in the desert of existence; like Ozymandius, we truly are king of all we see. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with $20 worth of gasoline, and to lose sight of the shore, we must first learn how to steer without colliding into all the glass-bottomed tourist boats. We see two roads diverging in the wood. Will we take the one less traveled, subjecting ourselves to unknown dangers, possibly stepping into the dens of wild snakes? Or will we, much more wisely, decide to take the road that has already been traveled and paved over by the concrete mixer of progress? As Robert Frost said, we have many miles to go before we sleep.

Leaving the standard graduation speech allegories aside, I have to ask, what awaits us in our future?

For the majority of us, that future is filled with diddly squat. Come August, the intersection of Mockingbird and 75 will be crowded with SMU graduates begging for handouts, carrying signs that say, “Will deconstruct the works of William Faulkner for money” and “No TV, have to watch ‘Survivor,’ please help.”

I can blame this problem on two factors. First, we’re members of a liberal arts university which, unfortunately, provides very little real world opportunity for people who actually major in the liberal arts. You business majors have probably spent the past few summers interning for a company that you’re soon going to work for. We English and journalism majors have spent the past four years wondering why the hell this school doesn’t offer any internships for our professions and whose garage we have to clean to get a job in this town. Second, and most importantly, our parents didn’t give birth to us four or five years earlier, when the unemployment rate wasn’t preposterously high.

As George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry have constantly proven, what escape do we have but looking to the future? Listing all the ways I’d like to change SMU would take several pages (and, as has been proven so many times, nobody would listen to me anyway). So, instead, I’ll offer facetious commentary and unhelpful cynicism, which, quite frankly, is what everybody has come to expect of me.

In the future, every square inch of the campus will be covered with buildings named after rich donors and famous alums, such as the “Jayne Mansfield School For Defensive Driving,” “Kathy Bates Natatorium” and the “Aaron Spelling School Of Tasteful Television.” The estates of Dedman and Cox will become bitter rivals, resulting in the splitting of the campus and the building of a wall right down the center of the main quad. Both factions will engage in a cold war, until both are obliterated by the evil minions of Caruth, who have been hiding beneath the surface of the Earth.

In the future, every single student will have one of those damn Segway things, resulting in huge campus-wide traffic jams in the morning and the afternoon. Eventually students will evolve to the point where they have SUV-like features, unable to walk five feet without needing a nap, polluting the air simply by breathing and eating so much food that the United States plunges into a third-world economy. But at least they’ll have appendages with cool little Jack In The Box ping-pong balls on them.

In the future, SMU students will build up so much apathy that, like a neutron star, the student body will collapse in on itself and become active, energetic and socially conscious. No longer interested in simply drinking, fornicating and going to the Elephant, students will actually listen to and care about what other people have to say, build entire Habitat for Humanity villages, end homelessness and hunger in Dallas and finally understand that “with great power comes great responsibility” isn’t simply a quote from the Spiderman movie. At the same time, porcine livestock will learn how to fly and Dallas will freeze over.

In the future, the university administration will become less obsessed with money and more concerned with giving students an education. Tutition will drop, academically gifted students will be given full room and board, the freshman class will no longer be ridiculously huge and minority students will be welcomed with open arms. Professors more concerned with research than teaching will be thrown out on their brains and told to get real jobs. SMU will become a tier one school, and the next president of the United States will be an SMU graduate, who will lead this nation to a glorious new era of peace, communication and understanding. Then Peoplesoft will convince everybody that having morals and ethics conflicts with making profits, and SMU will go back to being the allegorical personification of Jabba the Hut.

In the future, the SMU football team will someday win the WAC. Come on. Statistically, if the world never ends and SMU always exists, eventually it will happen.

In the future, we will actually discover what the Matrix is, and spend our time walking around in slow motion, freezing and panning and shooting each other.

In the future, apes will rule SMU, enslave us and force us to major in basket weaving until our brains turn to guacamole. Then they will topple the statue of Doak Walker, causing us to scream, “You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you all to hell!”

In the future, man will walk on Mars. And then SMU will build a separate campus on the planet, but it will fail because dust storms and high wind speeds keep screwing up everybody’s hair.

In the future, Texas will sink back into the ocean. Despite this fact, the university administration will refuse to cancel classes.

Granted, none of these predictions are actually going to come true. But, sarcasm aside here’s what I really want to happen in the future:

I would like students in all facets of university life – Dedman, Fondren, Meadows, Cox and Caruth – to come out of their shells and actually care about what’s going on in other parts of the university.

I would like students to question what professors and newspapers tell them, and to actually stand up to governments and administrations that don’t have their best interests in mind.

I’d like our student government to understand the kind of power it has, and to spend less time on internal issues and more time passing legislation that will help students.

I’d like greeks and non-greeks to reconcile and agree to be friends. Maybe throw a tea party.

I’d like students at this university to become more tolerant of other religions and walks of life. Conversely, I’d like all cultural and ethnic centered organizations to be disbanded and for everybody to try to pretend that we’re one big species, just once. Study up on DNA; we’re not as different as we all appear to be.

Most of all, I’d like students at this university to be given a chance to cheer up. We’re young. We’re healthy. We’re part of the most prosperous nation on Earth. Still, we’re all so incredibly unhappy and angry at each other. If anybody understands the reasoning behind this, write me an e-mail. I’ll be wondering around in Dallas somewhere, at least until I can find a job.

Four long years as columnist and commentary editor. But it’s all been worth it.

Goodbye, cruel SMU. I shall never darken your towels again!

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