Friday, April 13, 2007

laughter, the best medicine

I just found out that commencement speeches are a great way to become motivated again. it's a combination of reminiscence back to the days you were still in college and having no idea what the next few months of "real world" are going be like, and the idealistic, cloud nine attitudes that always go into graduation speeches and long talks where people are allowed to get on soapboxes, but are expected to give inspiring, politically correct commentary to a mass of their peers. like when i stood up to give my salutatorian speech in high school. it was all some dumb, safe shit about diversity and hope and future and potential. everyone says the same thing. then the valedictorian got up and said something while i went backstage to shoot crack to drown my misery.

but you know who really, REALLY would have made my commencement, instead of ben bernankedanky? CONAN OBRIEN. i've decided i love standup comics, and comedians in general. maybe, every comic out there, despite the thick layers of satire, social commentary, self- and other-mockery, really are the people who speak with the most truth in our society. someone who is afraid to offend or afraid of retribution (like someone in a corporate line who's always being watched by a boss, or someone in government who's always in the eye of the media) will never tell you the truth like it is. and they will be even less likely to tell it in an inspiring way, or in a way that makes you want to listen. and the people who can do that, and need to do that to make money, are COMICS.

from february-7 blog via digg, here is Conan O'Brien's commencement speech for the class of 2000.

one of the realizations i had is that the first few years are never going to be fantastic. conan worked in some leather and suede shop...and spent the rest of his time writing and auditioning, and failing. of course, he has tremendous talent. but it's true what he says:

I've dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, (or MIT) your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve. Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you're desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way.

and i realized, i've never even gone to try on tuxedos before. (figuratively) if you can give me that opportunity to trash a white tuxedo, and get another one, and trash it, and keep doing it until i get one that fits...i want to do that. maybe i'll be afraid to do it at first, but i'm sure you get over your fears sooner or later.

or maybe i've been doing this already, with going to tournaments? because i've been lacking great success for a while. but i don't want to open a dojang, so that's not really the right path.

lets just say i hope to get some more inspiration from russell peters at UCSD, may 2. BE A MAN.

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