I just sat through my sons graduation from dental school and his wifes graduation from pharmacy school. I listened to the keynote speakers and decided that there were not nearly enough crazy stories.

Now I know what I need to do: make commencement speeches. Specifically, I want to spruce up your favorite optometry schools commencement ceremony.

Undergrad commencements are out of the question. I dont believe that my storiesabout eyelid cutaneous horns that look just like Abraham Lincoln and about Super Glue-ing my fingers to someones glasseswould excite most business majors. Its optometry schools Im interested in. Maybe all of them.

Heres the deal: Please hand this article to the nearest optometry school president. Its a small sample of what they can expect when I get behind the podium:

Welcome to the 55th commencement exercises of the Billy Bob Thornton School of Optometry and Cattle Ranching. As I look out upon the fresh young faces before me, I am reminded that I should call a cosmetic surgeon when I get home. (PAUSE for minutes of uproarious laughter.)

Four years ago, you began a long and fateful journey to this moment in time. Of course, a few of you began that journey five or six years ago. Yes, physiological optics can slow you down. Try it with a slide rule. (PAUSE for uproarious laughter from the faculty as students ask one another, What is a slide rule?)

You are the future of optometry. My generation is the past. Of course, we have cash, and you are now hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. But, it could be worse: You could have presbyopia, like me. (PAUSE for uproarious laughter as nervous parents hold their programs a few more inches away so they can see them.)

Here you are with the people who mean the most to you: your parents and grandparents; your spouses and children; the lady from the bursars office who will set fire to your diploma if you dont pay last semesters tuition; and that stalker patient who has followed you ever since you forgot the old clinical adage: proparacaine BEFORE gonioscopy. (PAUSE for uproarious laughter from everyone except that one student, who suddenly realizes it is indeed proparacaine BEFORE gonioscopy. Whoops!)

And now, your real life begins. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Lifes a journey. Life is what you make it. Life is what you do while you wait around for life to start. Life is a cereal and Life is a board game and Life is this giant magazine that my mom used to read. Life is also a criminal sentence that means you may have to spend up to six whole years in jail unless you are a famous person. Anyway, now your real life begins. (PAUSE for uproarious laughter as students ask their moms if this means Dad will be home in a few years.)

I am here to tell you the most important thing in optometry. This one thing will lead you to a career of substance and meaning, to utter happiness, to professional and financial success, and to a joyous and healthy personal life. This one thing is

Sorry, if you want to know this, you have to get me up at that commencement podium. Why would I just throw it out there for any old commencement speaker to steal?

Optometry school presidents, have your people call my people. See you soon, Class of 2009!

As for the Class of 2008? Uh Go get em.

Vol. No: 145:07Issue: 7/15/2008