Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down; TheByteDaily’s Valedictorian’s Address

As the 2011-2012 school year ends, a new flock of prospective citizens graduate from their compulsory 12 years of education, and proceeds to move onto another three to four years of education (in addition to every other possible work based derivative). At the same moment, a new flock of valedictorians have been elected, and chosen and are now forced into giving a five to ten minute speech summarizing their feelings on their past four years of learning. In most cases, the speeches will be succinct and relatively well-delivered, littered with inside jokes for each of their classmates to both laugh and smile at, and will, no doubt, be written adequately enough to fill the constraints and restrictions set out by their past orators.

I have no doubt that this generation of valedictorians will more than accomplish the lofty tasks of writing a meaningful speech and delivering it in the standard fashion, though my fear is that the contrary will occur.

Certainly, I’ve spent enough time watching poorly written and adequately delivered speeches dissolve into absolute monotony, that my primary fear entering any commencement ceremony is having to sit and clap appreciatively while a nervous student vocalizes an opinion piece on the state of the world and the future they’re entering. In this way, in an attempt to prove that my criticisms come from an accepted source, I’ve decided that, every year beginning with this one, I will produce an essay (which can be read aloud in a manner similar to that of a speech) that could, for all intents and purposes, be considered a valedictorian’s address.

Friends, family members, fellow classmates, and faculty members, as I stand before you today, I cannot claim that this past year has been easy, nor can I possibly hope to claim that any individual day following this one will prove the contrary. The world, in every sense of the term, is a difficult place and the human culture we share thrives on difficulty and adversity, and these hardships do not cease simply because we have left the halls of an educational sanctuary. Certainly, to many, the shared halls of our school have been a haven from the outside world, and to those who suffered, I can only promise that the world does get better, but only once one has moved past the difficulties of our shared existence.

It is undeniable that, despite our growth, and evolution, we are still a young species and are an even younger culture. Of course, these are all matters for our future teachers and professors to discuss, and I, therefore, have no use in describing any subject with great magnitude or detail – I simply stand here as the elected result of casual and accepted nepotism. Today, however, I am before you as a fellow human being, with the sole difference being that I’m in a rare position of being able to reach and speak to a vast majority, instead of screaming and hoping to be heard within the daunting minority. My words, if anything, may have little meaning or bearing, and will, undeniably, be forgotten by my audience, which is why I must be brief and succinct.

My fellow graduates, once you are admitted into the world outside of your schools, teachers, and classmates, you will discover a universe filled with indescribable hardship, and incredibly unnecessary difficulty, which is why I can only say one thing to summarize my beliefs: Illegitimi non carborundum. It’s a beautiful, mock-Latin phrase that translates quite simply to, and pardon my language: Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Fellow graduates, this year has been anything but easy, and we’ve all had to make many sacrifices; we’ve given up on more than a few dreams, we’ve lost more than a few friends, and, most importantly, we’ve had to make choices based on little time and even less data. Our futures, at such a young age, have already been decided for us, without even having left the building we’ve called home for the past four years. Indeed, it seems that our choices today will have results that will resonate within the infinite halls of tomorrow and later on, and we haven’t even been given a single chance to see how they will resonate, other than what we can imagine and hope.

The choices we’ve made have led us to this single event horizon, and there’s no doubt that our lives and choices will continue to culminate in such impacts, but the fact remains that, along the way, we will experience continuous moments of hardship and distress. Losing the opportunity to achieve goals or dreams, continuing to lose friends, accepting that we are merely the product of our environment and our innate desire to live; it’s in these dark moments that we will, eventually, decide on who we want to be as people, and where we want to move forward, but it’s undeniable that we will want to give up on moving forward because of the trouble and difficulties we will experience in the everlasting process.

Fellow graduates, I speak of events that haven’t happened, and I speak of events that may never happen, at least not to all of us, though my request remains adamant regardless of the person: Illegitimi non carborundum. I understand that the impetuousness of youth grips us all now, and I recognize that the invincibility of the human spirit is even more prevalent today, of all days, but when the time comes to make a decision regarding moving forward or standing still, simply remember to never let the bastards grind you down.

I do realize that giving up is not wrong and is acceptable, but only under certain, absolute conditions.

We can only give up and cease moving forward once every possible attempt has been made from every possible point-of-view and from every possible position, from every possible derivation of the original and subsequent attempts.

Friends, and I speak to you now not as a human being orating to a crowd of 300 people dressed in the same manner but as a friend, giving up, without trying and failing in every possible way, is absolutely unacceptable, and giving in to the bastards is undeniably wrong. Your arguments to the contrary would, no doubt, be well-founded, reasonably thought out, and well-executed, but the fact remains that we cannot stop moving forward. I say again, we’ve lost close friends, we’ve had to give up on dreams, and we’ve had hopes and desires crushed for no reason other than “We weren’t good enough,” and still we move forward. Difficulties and hardships have knocked us to our knees, and yet we’ve all decided to stand up once again, and this is the only logical decision to make when falling down, simply, getting back up.

Thank you for your time, and enjoy the beginning of the rest of your lives; good luck friends, and stay gold and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!


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