This is a pretty hilarious "commencement address" from the pen (keyboard?) of P. J. O'Rourke:
Will you join me in the wayback machine?
Fall quarter freshman year of college, I took my first poli sci class. The professor insisted on wearing Birkenstocks ALL THE TIME . . . even with a suit jacket, blouse, skirt, and pantyhose. Oy.
Our final project was writing a piece of legislation. Not only did we have to come up with an issue, formulate a position and solution, find precedents and related regulations, and identify an appropriate Congressperson to sponsor the proposed legislation, but we also had to turn in two copies of our final version, plus a stamped envelope addressed to the Congressperson so the professor could actually submit it to him or her.
I was never so mortified in my life, mostly because I always leave everything to the last minute and make something up on the fly, which is fine when it's just me and my grade, but to waste someone else's time with it when I don't even know them? Made my skin crawl. Although, given the junk that usually gets sent to congressional offices, I suppose that this goofy project didn't even stand out that much, and the mail clerk promptly sent it to the circular file where it belonged.*
One bright note was that we were assigned to read Parliament of Whores, which I loved. I worked my way through the rest of O'Rourke's books, which are hi-larious and highly recommended. Spring quarter senior year he gave a lecture on campus. My parents came down, and we had a nice night of it — out to dinner at Seven Sauces, over to Mem Aud for the speech, and then I got an autograph and a photo in the lobby afterwards.
This is how hardcore I am about not doing anything resembling productive work: Instead of making the final, final changes to the freelance project, I not only dug out the scanner and hooked it up to scan some memorabilia I scrounged from an old photo album but also took photos of the inscription in my copy of P of W.
The program for the Kennedy Lecture . . .
Me & P.J., cropped to eliminate a parental thumb from the lower half of the photo, and converted to black and white via the magic of Picasa so I look slightly less goofy . . .
(I still have that rugby shirt, btw, and wear it on occasion.)
The title page photos I took mostly came out all blurry, but since nobody cares anyhow, I didn't bother getting the book and camera back out. . .
I mentioned these were blurry, right? Okay then . . .
* No, I don't remember what I proposed or who I had to send it to, but I do remember standing in the middle of Kinko's (when it used to be on the corner of Court and Union), making a second copy and buying a large envelope about fifteen minutes before the deadline and thinking this was the stupidest thing ever and my proposal was totally lame.