Tuesday, April 17, 2018

WEP: The Road Less Traveled

It's time for more fun with Write . . . Edit . . . Publish!  Thank you to Yolanda Renee, Denise Covey, Olga Godim, and Nilanjana Bose for making this event possible!

The theme for this month is Road Less Traveled.  Let's get to it.

Transcript of Graduation Speech

Robert Frost High School

May 27, 2018

Good afternoon graduates, family, and friends.  When I was invited to be the guest speaker, I didn’t know what to talk about.  I’ve become well-known for being a bit of a rebel.  I got my big break because of a viral YouTube video, which to be honest, showed me in a bit of an unflattering light.  Talking about how to make a name for yourself professionally after being caught performing acrobatic feats in a shopping mall while intoxicated may make for a memorable speech, but it’s hardly appropriate for a high school setting.  It was wicked fun, though.
To help me come up with ideas for an appropriate speech, I looked to your class motto “The Road Less Traveled.”  It makes sense given the name of your soon-to-be alma mater.  I’m betting this theme has been touched upon by numerous classes that came before you and will continue to be used long into the future.  You may even be sick of hearing it after all these years and chose it out of a sense of obligation.  It pays tribute to your school, after all.  It also fits the theme of the day. 
Graduating means choosing a new path to take in life, and this is bound to be the first real decision in that regard most of you have made.  Up until now, you’ve been at the whim of your parents.  That helplessness may have come with a sense of frustration as you yearned to spread your wings and soar, but it also brought with it a sense of security.  You’ve had people to catch you when you fall.  You knew which steps to take next.  You’ve gone from one grade to the next, safe in the knowledge of what you needed to do.  Go to class.  Get good grades.  Choose an extracurricular activity or two.  Find an after-school job.  There were elements of choice sprinkled throughout, of course, but failure didn’t necessarily spell disaster, no matter how much it may have felt that way. 
Gearing up to go into the larger world, though.  That’s when consequences really start to feel real.  When I was your age, I was shaking in my shorts with anxiety, though I played it cool.  The sheer number of options and lack of guarantees seem daunting.  Still, you can look to others and seek advice from the adults in your life.  You’ll hear plenty of people suggesting you attend a certain college and study a certain field that has proven to be lucrative.  Others will suggest studying a trade or following in the footsteps of family members.  Which path should you follow?
People always suggest out-of-the-box thinking, but they usually want you to do it within the confines of a normal, comfortable career.  Maybe you find that path appealing, or maybe it seems too confining for you.  Perhaps you hear the stories of successful entrepreneurs who bucked the system and got mega rich, as I unintentionally did, and feel inspired to go that route.  And why not?  The comfortable, safe careers are still subject to economic downturns and shifts in consumer demographics and moods.  The safe careers can also result in you being kicked to the curb with little warning, which runs counter to the reasons many give for choosing those career paths in the first place.
So yeah, why not get onto the road less traveled and hack your way through the underbrush to create a life for yourself?  I’ll give you one good reason not to do it.  It’s hard.  Really, really hard.
There’s a reason the road less traveled is designated as such.  It’s a desolate place to be.  A dangerous place with even less guarantee of success or safety as the more stable, so-called respectable career paths.  This road less traveled is overgrown with obstacles that can twist your metaphorical ankle and leave you hobbling and at the mercy of vultures who would happily pick the flesh from your bones.
Great imagery, right?
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t go that route if you feel you must.  It still might be the right option for you.  Not all of us fit happily into the molds well-worn paths would have us live in.  Some of us royally suck at being normal.  I know I do.  However, if you’re going to take the road less travelled, you need to be prepared for failure. 
Failure is not an abstract concept in the real world.  It’s a legitimate, and even likely, possibility with painful consequences.  Everything costs money, and when you run out of money, needless to say, it can put a crimp in your life.  You need to embrace the possibility of massive failure and everything that comes with it.  You need to be ready to push through terrible circumstances and learn from them so you can stand on your own two feet again.  That failure can be a badge of honor if you’re strong enough to bounce back from it.  Sure, it feels crappy and makes you want to quit, but that’s part of life.
So yeah, do what you think is best for you, and be prepared for life to chew you up and spit you out from time to time.  Does this count as an inspirational speech?  Probably not, but I never aspired to be an inspiring person.  Shi . . . I mean, heck, I used to be the cautionary tale parents used to keep their kids in line.  Look at me now!  Don’t let past screw-ups keep you down.
Bearing that in mind, what do you think the odds are of me being invited back to speak next year?

Word Count: 960


  1. Now THAT is a speech I would have listened to. And applauded. Which is a road I have rarely set foot on.
    Love it - and hope she does get invited back next year.

  2. Your WEP posts are always such a pleasure to read! A great speech and if they have any sense, they will invite the speaker back again.

    'Talking about how to make a name for yourself professionally after being caught performing acrobatic feats in a shopping mall while intoxicated may make for a memorable speech, but it’s hardly appropriate for a high school setting...Some of us royally suck at being normal.' - Loved those bits especially, though I'm not sure what that says about me :)

  3. Tell it like it is, probably not what was expected. But I liked it. So true about out of the box thinking, too. Great speech, and perfect for this graduating class. :) Or any graduating class.

  4. Hey, L.G.

    LOVED your spin on this challenge. Very fun! You definitely should be asked back...because...many of us DO take the road less traveled. How many writer's blogs are out there? COUNTLESS!

  5. LOL - I really liked the ending and I would have loved to have someone that honest and raw at my graduation.
    Great way to tackle this challenge!

  6. Some speech! LOL. I really love it. And so true!

  7. Love, LOVE the speech! I wished this person spoke at my graduation! Oh my, would have heard a pin drop!

  8. Hi L.G. It's great to have a speech for WEP. I think you're the first ever, so go you! Loved it. A speech that school leavers would be agog to hear. Some excellent points made without being preachy.

    Fabulous entry for WEP.


  9. It is good to speak from experience and share what you think is worthwhile for the young. It is hard to give advice about life because as you indicate there are really no guarantees that if you follow any road it will all work out the way you hoped. Have to be prepared for the unexpected.

  10. A lot of imagery that hopefully inspires people to push themselves on roads less traveled.


  11. That's a great speech. I love the choice of this fictional character giving it. Excellent work.

  12. How could it be
    Tho a great speech
    The truth is hard to see
    Everything been handed
    How could it not be free
    They’ll lesion to your words
    Laughing on the way home
    She’s trying to scaring us
    So they'll won’t ever roam
    It’ll be too late for them
    Their parents have gone

    P.S. It was a great speech.

  13. I love your graduation speech. A very unique reaction to The Road Less Travelled. Fantastic job.
    Shalom aleichem,

  14. A great speech indeed and rang true with every word. Life is going to knock you on your butt many a time, but have to get back up and keep on pushing through the crap.

  15. A reality speech gets more attention than a lofty blah blah blah same old same old. Whether she is asked to return may hinge on the attitudes of the teachers, and administrators. An inventive take on the prompt!