There are those who love hearing themselves speak, an attribute that fuels their ability to find ways to be heard. If they succeed in being heard, and what they're saying is the least bit interesting, they gain notoriety - notoriety that lands them on the list from which speakers are chosen. It's a vicious cycle. A cycle we must stop.
A better commencement speaker for UVM to consider might be someone meek; you've got to believe those who'll inherit the Earth are worth more of a listen than those who believe the Earth is lucky to have them.
I place myself in the former group-the unmeek kind.
Next commencement speech I give, I wish I have nerve enough to buck up and be humble. Maybe I should give the speech I wrote while on a country walk today? Here goes:
"I can spout specifics on things you don't need to know, but of things you should know; I know no more than you already know. I do not want to waste a minute of your precious future. Thank you."
I like giving graduation speeches and I'll keep doing them, for free (so long as I keep getting asked). I won't say I'm good or bad at it; I'll just say, I try to be humble, aware of others, and brief.
Do you know I received a polite call from a nice lady in UVM's president's office thanking me for thinking of them and offering my services? She said by the time they'd received my note, a speaker had already been chosen. She passed my material on to the committee to consider during next years search. The lady who spoke with me has children in a school where I have given graduation speeches. She's the main reason I might have a chance to be UVM's graduation speaker - some day.
It's not what you know it's who you know. You can't get a hit if you don't swing. What is there to lose? You never know. All those sayings have merit. Believe me.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com.