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Duration:03:45
Uploaded:2016-05-24
Last sync:2018-05-03 07:40
Video of my commencement address to Kenyon College's Class of 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=0AriZhzeHbA
Transcript of the speech: http://www.kenyon.edu/middle-path/story/learn-to-listen/
GET YOUR TICKETS TO WEMBLEY: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/afcwimbledon/details/event.aspx?itemref=18
IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD TICKETS BUT WOULD LIKE TO GO: Email me at afcnerdfighters@gmail.com with "Wembley" in the subject line, and I will see what I can do to get you tickets. (No promises, but I'll do my best!)

In which John discusses his commencement address to Kenyon College's Class of 2016, nerdfighteria-sponsored AFC Wimbledon's astonishing run to the League Two playoff final, race cars, weather, Ulysses, and a few other things. Graduation! Race cars! Soccer! Or possibly football, depending on your location! Hooray!

(Thanks to Mark Olsen for helping out with the new camera and Rosianna for coming up with the IKEA joke.)

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Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday. Today's video is like nothing you ever bought at IKEA; it comes to you in only two parts.

Part one: Commencing. So over the weekend, Sarah and I drove to Gambier, Ohio, where I got to deliver the commencement address at my alma mater Kenyon College. Here's part of what I said:


So when I was a student here, there was widespread agreement among my peers that the so-called "real world of proper adulthood" was basically a disease you caught and then eventually died from.

(Audience laughs)

Like, adulthood, with its mortgages and spreadsheets and lawn maintenance, seemed to be a thing to be dreaded and resisted until finally it overtook you. Like a zombie plague. And then, like, once you acquired adulthood, you would start saying things like "Brand awareness in a fractured media landscape" and "We need a president who knows how to get things done." 

To be an adult meant engaging in totally unironic conversations about the weather. I remember once when I was at Kenyon, my grandmother called me to tell me she was watching the weather channel, and that it looked like it was raining in Ohio.

I explained to her that I was reading Ulysses, that I wasn't even in Gambier, but in Dublin, Ireland in 1904, and that history was a nightmare from which Dedalus was trying to awake, and that nothing, literally nothing, mattered less than the current weather. 

And then after a moment, she asked, "Well, is it raining, or isn't it?"

(Audience laughs)

To be an adult was to be a river rock blasted by an endless torrent of mundane terrors, from resume formatting, to electricity bills, that would inevitably smooth all my hard edges, until I looked and felt just like everything else. 

Now, this is the part of the commencement address where I am supposed to tell you that, in fact, adulthood isn't so bad and blah blah blah. But no! No! It is so bad!



Side note: Uh, graduation gowns are not flattering.

In the end, the speech is mostly just a celebration of unironic conversations about the weather if you want to watch or read the whole thing, you can do so. Links in the doobly do.

Part two: Sports. So Hank, I am in the midst of the greatest sports month of my life.

A couple weeks ago I drove the pace car at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, which allowed me to experience what it's like to be tailgated by 30 professional racecar drivers.

We're just six days away from the annual highlight of my social calendar, the Indianapolis 500. And most amazingly, the fourth tier English football team Nerdfighteria sponsors, AFC Wimbledon, have found themselves in the playoff finals, just one victory away from being a third tier English football team.

That's right, Hank, on May 30th, AFC Wimbledon will take the field at Wembley, a 90,000 seat stadium, and, wearing DFTBA on the back of their shorts, they will play a one-game playoff against the sailing ships of Plymouth Argyle.

It's hard to describe how unlikely this is. Wimbledon have the smallest stadium of any team in their league, and among the smallest budgets. They'd also be the only English team owned by their fans to be as high as the third tier, so this is a massive moment for the club. And as you know if you listen to our podcasts, where you can get all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon, I am immensely excited!

In fact, Hank, I am leaving directly from the Indianapolis 500 to go to the game in London. So Nerdfighters, if you live in or near London, I hope you will come to Wembley on May 30th to cheer on the Dons. If you want to go to the game but can't afford a ticket, email me, and I will try to work something out. Info on all of that in the doobly do. 

Hank, I know that sports are silly. But as Pope John Paul II once said, "Of all the unimportant things, football is the most important."

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.