Maurice DuBois was my undergraduate commencement speaker. As someone receiving a degree in communication, I probably should’ve cared more. However, DuBois had betrayed me. He had recently made the choice to abandon my girl Jane Hanson on NBC and switch over to a cushy new job at CBS.
How dare you Maurice? I trusted you.
I was also almost apoplectic at the joy of leaving for my first international adventure in London the next morning. I had qualified to attend a “Theatre in London” class, but since I had graduated, I didn’t have to do any of the academic course work. As fate would have it, I ended up sitting next to two women who were traveling with me. I had gone to high school with one of them, and never in a million years would we have imagined going to London upon receipt of our bachelor’s degrees.
The acoustics in Continental Airlines arena were horrible, and I was going to be in London in less than 24 hours. Which helps explain why I don’t recall a word of what Maurice said.
If I had been paying attention, this is what I wish Maurice would’ve said to the graduating class of 2004:
- Don’t trust men named Anthony. They will only bring you utter ruination.
- Stop overthinking. Remember the time the cute rugby player invited you over to play poker? He didn’t want to play poker, you idiot. I’m pretty damn sure if you showed up to the rugby house that night, all the other poker players would’ve mysteriously have gone home. But your shocking ability to overthink every situation is the superpower no one ever asked for. Stop overthinking. Happiness is OK, even if it’s fleeting.
- Pay off your debt. Don’t purchase things using credit. Start saving money. But figure out a way to travel more. Use your vacation time.
- Go to HR the first time your manager screams at you and demeans you in front of your colleagues. When your managers and co-workers treat you differently in the workplace because you are gay, stand up for yourself and demand equal treatment. If you need to get people fired, GET PEOPLE FIRED.
- Don’t wait until you’re 30 to go to your first New York City Pride Parade. Internalized homophobia is NOT a good look. Also, navigating the streets of Manhattan isn’t that hard. You just need to know basic math.
- Drinking that entire jug of Yellowtail Merlot after eating your body weight in chicken parm and ice cream will lead to the most painful night of your life. You will forever be haunted by the smell of Yankee Candle Ocean Breeze scent and the Swiffer WetJet solution.
- Tell people to fuck off more often.
- Tell people how you feel more often.
- For God’s sake, if you want to kiss the guy, and it looks like he wants to kiss you… GO FOR IT.
- All cookie dough is edible if you believe in yourself.
- Stop watching The Apprentice. Tell everyone you know to stop watching The Apprentice. Take my word on this.
- Your college archnemesis is a trash human being. When you cross his path later in life, he will allow his female friend to disappear with a cab driver to buy drugs. This will remind you why he was your archnemesis.
- Recognize what your body can do. Eat better sooner. Look for something called CrossFit. You will probably almost die the first time you try it, but you won’t die.
- Seek out Andy Cohen or Anderson Cooper. Romance either. Trust me.
- When you sneak that guy in, make sure he doesn’t leave his cigarette butt in the ashtray. Your Mom is a detective. She smokes Parliaments, he smoked a Marlboro. But good job trying to blame it on your younger sister. Stroke of genius.
- Every year, the summer will take whatever body you give it.
- Ultimately, it will all be OK. It will ALL BE OK.