If You Have a Teenager in The House, Or If You Don’t – Read On

The following comes at the end of a commencement speech to graduate aged youngsters. I recommend reading the whole transcript, several times.

I know that this stuff probably doesn’t sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational. What it is, so far as I can see, is the truth with a whole lot of rhetorical bullshit pared away. Obviously, you can think of it whatever you wish. But please don’t dismiss it as some finger-wagging Dr Laura sermon. None of this is about morality, or religion, or dogma, or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness – awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: “This is water, this is water.”
The Guardian newspaper

Adapted from the commencement speech the late David Foster Wallace gave to a graduating class at Kenyon College, Ohio.

David Wallace will be remembered during a ceremony at Berkeley Buddhist Priory tomorrow morning.

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4 thoughts on “If You Have a Teenager in The House, Or If You Don’t – Read On”

  1. And how dreadfully tragic his death is. And what a tremendous speech. “Infinite Jest” was an extraordinary book, full of bizarre anger at consumerism, complacency and much else. This speech clarifies many things.

    It’s also such a valuable admonishment for the parents of small children.

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