Thank you so much for inviting me here today. It really is an honor and a pleasure to speak to the Comsewogue Class of 2014 as you embark upon the next phase of your journey into adulthood.
I graduated from this very school in 1987. Every guy had a mullet. Every girl had a perm. And the school looked exactly as it does today, like a Lithuanian prison.
Because I graduated 27 years ago, I’m roughly the same age as your parents, which quite frankly is very … how do I say this … depressing. Like really, REALLY depressing. Have you seen those people? They are so OLD. But I won’t be too rough on them because I suppose they’re good people. I don’t know that for sure, but you’re here and not in jail so they can’t be all that bad.
As I was thinking about what to say to you today, I realized that when I was your age, I never would have taken the advice of some dude who was 45. Gross. But I would have listened to that old guy if he told me how to become rich and famous. So, Comsewogue Class of 2014, today I am going to share with you the secrets of becoming rich and famous! Let’s do this!
SECRET NUMBER ONE – DUMP THE FREAKIN’ JERKS.
Dump ’em! There are people in your life who make you feel great about yourself. Keep them around. For as long as possible. Then there are people who will drain your life force, drop by drop, because making you feel empty makes them feel full. Life is a little screwed up like that. But you have a choice today, and every day until your last day on Earth, when you find yourself in the company of someone who makes you feel fat or stupid or ugly or worthless or untalented to say, perhaps not even aloud, “You’re a real jerk and I want absolutely nothing to do with you. Have a nice life, because I'm outta here, suckah.”
And if you happen to be dating a jerk, dump him or dump her tonight. And whatever you do, don’t make babies with a jerk. You will be stuck with the jerk for 18 years, at least! Parents, can I get an “Amen” up in here?
Let’s move on to …
SECRET NUMBER TWO OF BECOMING RICH AND FAMOUS!
And that secret is: Don’t BE a jerk.
Everybody here – every student, parent, teacher, grandparent, television host – is guilty of being a jerk at one point or another. We all say insensitive things every once in a while. We all commit little acts that hurt each other from time to time. But your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to be a jerk as rarely as possible.
First of all, it’s just the right thing to do, but that might not be enough to convince you. So I will tell you what your parents might not have told you: Not being a jerk can make you more money. When people like you, they give you jobs, they give you raises, they give you promotions, they buy your products.
And that’s not all! Not being a jerk will make you hotter. I’m not kidding. I went to my 20-year high school reunion and all the nicest people were exponentially better looking than the people who were jerks. It was actually kind of shocking.
So if you don’t want to be nice because it’s the right thing to do, be nice because the alternative is that you will be all busted up in 20 years from now.
OK, SECRET NUMBER THREE OF BECOMING RICH AND FAMOUS: FORGET EVERYTHING BAD THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU.
If that sounds impossible to do, you are right. But aspire to it anyway. When you wake up tomorrow morning, you can spend your energy thinking about all the people who have done you wrong: the teacher who gave you a C when you deserved an A; the popular kid who called you a dork – or worse; the coach that never understood your value to the team. You can think about all that stuff – but you will never be able to change it.
The energy you spend with your head in the past will never get you closer to the future you dream for yourself.
I have been called every name in the book, and I honestly don’t care because …
What you think of me says more about you than it does about me.
I’ll repeat that.
What you think about me says more about you than it does about me.
That thought might be too deep for you right now, but someday it’s gonna click and you’re gonna be like, “That Clinton Kelly is a freakin’ genius!” And I’m gonna be like, “Yeah, I know.”
SECRET NUMBER 4 OF BECOMING RICH AND FAMOUS: DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
It’s as simple as that.
If you are going off to college this fall to study accounting because you love numbers and spread sheets and tax law, that is awesome.
If you are going off to college this fall to study accounting because your parents convinced you it will lead to a steady job and good benefits and a 401k plan, you – are – screwed.
You’ll probably have to work 45 years, at least, until you retire. That’s a long time to do something you hate. Find something that makes you happy, whether it’s writing or cars or flowers or sports or fashion or science or travel and DO SOMETHING RELATED TO THAT. Trust me, life is so much more fun when you’re doing something you love.
Now, I have a confession to make. I’ve been lying to you. Those are not the secrets to becoming rich and famous. They are the secrets to becoming ridiculously happy, which is so much more important. And let’s be honest, you wouldn’t have listened to me if I had started this speech by saying, “These are the four secrets to happiness!” Lame.
Now, here’s a quick list of other things I feel the need to tell you while I have your attention.
Don’t drink and drive. You could kill someone and that would suck for everyone.
Don’t smoke. It causes cancer and cancer sucks.
Don’t roast in the sun or tanning beds. They cause cancer and cancer sucks.
Don’t do crystal meth. Don’t even try it once. Please. It will screw up your entire life.
Don’t have unprotected sex. You know why.
And that’s all for now. I have to run and have dinner with my family. Please have a wonderful life. Wear something cute and don’t take any crap.