Public Radio Personality, Producer of the Show “This American Life”
Commencement Address at Goucher College, 2012
“I cannot stress enough that the answer to a lot of your life’s questions is often in someone else’s face. Try putting your iPhones down every once in a while and look at people’s faces.”
“I’m still opposed on principle to the idea of any commencement speech. I believe that it is a doomed form, cloying and impossible. Commencement speakers give stock advice which is then promptly ignored.
“The central mission of the commencement speech is in itself ridiculous: to inspire at a moment which needs no inspiration. Look at yourselves at this moment. Something incredible is happening to you right now. The whole world is opening to you. You guys have been in school your entire lives. You have completed something difficult that took persistence and probably you questioned yourselves again and again. And now you’re off to face the world and do everything you’ve been dreaming. What can words add that that except delay the moment you get your diploma? ….
“My third connection to Goucher I really was not going to talk about at all, and this week my wife and some friends insisted that you graduates would find it relevant, and that is I lost my virginity in one of the dorms here. [Wild laughter and applause] Not recently. I was 20.”