Welcome distinguished faculty, honored guests, and bankrupt parents. And above all, welcome to you - the eager and unemployable graduates of the Class of 2011.
Today represents the culmination of a long safari through the murky thickets of this impenetrable rain forest we call "higher education." Just a few years ago you arrived for your freshman orientation, full of wide-eyed anticipation and existential dread, wondering if this place would eat you alive. Soon though - through luck, pluck, and enormous amounts of mind altering substances - you adapted to your new surroundings. You learned to communicate in the natives' strange gibberish and follow their bizarre rituals. You learned which taboo words and thoughts to avoid, and how not provoke the cannibals. And finally, today, as you stumble out of that misty, bewildering glade and across this stage, you will receive the ultimate acknowledgement of your successful journey through the heart of darkness: a college diploma.
What a handsome document it is; genuine acid-free vellum, laser printed in the finest Olde English calligraphy, expertly kerned and cropped, suitable for framing. One can only imagine the pride of the sheep that sacrificed its life that you might walk away with this elegant keepsake of four years in your own beloved ovine herd. Or five, or seven, or whatever your family financial resources and alcohol habits demanded.
Behold its Latin inscriptions and embossed seals; why, if you just squint a little, it looks like it could have come from Harvard, maybe even Hogwarts. Drink in the bold signatures from the dean of your college and the president of the university, affirming to the world that you have fulfilled each academic requirement and never bounced a tuition check. And thus it also affirms that you have been sanctified as a graduate of this fine institution, and are now granted all rights and privileges thereunto appurtaining. What exactly are those rights and privileges, you ask? Believe me, you'll be finding out soon enough.
Now that your time and money are tapped out, this diploma will serve as lasting reminder of everything you accomplished during your magical four to seven years on campus. Please take it with our compliments, and treasure its distinctive elegance during the many, many free hours you will soon have after moving back home with your parents. As a special offer to those parents who have any money or pride left, we will cheerfully mail your student's diploma pre-framed for the low additional cost of $79.95 plus shipping and handling, ready to hang in a place of honor over your family hearth or hot water heater. Or, for $99.95, this deluxe leatherette-bound diploma TrapperKeeper makes an elegant organizer for all those student loan bills that will begin arriving within the next 60 days.
But why dwell on the costs? As college studies show, a college diploma is a bargain at any price! Oh sure, four or five years ago you could have taken out a $200,000 loan and bought a nice starter house, or a new Ferrari. But where would that leave you today? With a four or five year old Ferrari, that's where. Instead you have this priceless diploma signifying your wise financial choice to put your debt where your brain is and hot rod that sucker with the latest nitro-fueled, supercharged academic knowledge this side of Deconstruction Valley Dragway. And unlike a Ferrari, no repo man will ever load your knowledge on a flatbed and haul it away - even if he wanted to.