What's Our Future?

by Jeff Deck | 6/9/02 5:00am

Ah, the solemnity of an Ivy League graduation. All the young Brahmins in their gown-hidden letter sweaters and navy suits and pleated skirts, nodding pleasantly at Mummy and Dad before they step onto the platform in orderly and dignified fashion to receive their diplomas and bid quietly regretful farewells to Jimmy Wright in person. Dignity, respect, tradition.

Now let's step out of fantasy land. Here are (hopefully) a thousand-odd men and women who have largely no idea what lies in their future, who are either scared crapless or not smart enough to recognize the true peril of their situation. So my suggestion would be for you to forget all about acting serious and respectful and instead just laugh at us. Allow me, then, to present a list of all the possible futures for a 2002 Dartmouth graduate, each containing potential for mirth and mockery. Hey, somebody's gotta come out of this entertained, right?

A. The Big Moneymaker. Immediately enters a lucrative career of investment banking in Manhattan. Moves to four-story Upper West Side apartment; hires three maids and a live-in prostitute. Acquires the WB. Plays the market, diversifies portfolio, loses approximately $63 million in the Great Stock Market Crash of 2017. Goes through messy divorce and two-year depression; ridiculed in the New York Post as the Mogul Outmoguled. Yearns for the natural life and ends up moving to Iowa to breed hogs and commune with nature. Dies penniless after giving remaining funds to local Baptist church in honor of "the man Jesus."

B. The Born Educator. Decides to teach at an elementary school in inner-city Boston; ejected from her job soon after when a bazooka fight between two of her young pupils results in fatality. Develops a terror of small children, resists the call of family life and becomes a nun, joining Our Lady of Sacred Sarcasm in Leominster. Dies peacefully in bed 80 years later, but does not find God in the afterlife; discovers too late that He had been a one-legged homeless man in Copley Square.

C. The Career Academic. Pursues a master's degree in philosophy at Harvard; reads the complete works of Locke, Mill, Rousseau, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Kant, Hume, Kierkegaard, Descartes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Sartre and Heidegger; writes a 407-page treatise on "Ethical Systems and Signifiers in 'Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey'"; obtains a doctorate degree in philosophy from Yale. Realizes that morality is dead and the meaning of life is yogurt; kills self with a salad fork soon after.

D. The Career Criminal. Attempts to join a branch of the Mafia in Trenton, N.J.; is rejected as an "Ivy League pansy-ass." Travels to Japan and makes a similar effort to break into the Yakuza; only succeeds in doing so after undergoing the dreaded Gunpoint Karaoke test of stamina. Eventually is sent to the United States to begin a local Yakuza chapter in Baton Rouge; dies messily in a tussle with a crusty Cajun barfighter and his alligator.

E. The Humanitarian. Travels to Nigerian village to install modern system of plumbing; falls in love with comely young villager, whose father does not approve; leaves plumbing installation unfinished and runs off with lover to Berlin. Loses lover to transgender cabaret troupe, decides to return to the States; moves to Tempe, Ariz., and finds employment at a wallpaper outlet just off Vallejo Road. At home, slips and falls in tub while trying to adjust showerhead; dies of accidental head trauma.

F. The Child of Science. Begins work as a biochemical researcher in government laboratory in D.C.; eventually gains substantial grant money and embarks on individual research into a radical new treatment for colon cancer. Enrolls patients in treatment, who recover at a phenomenal success rate; presents findings to superiors, discovers that President Adam Sandler himself has shut down the research, reportedly worried that there'll be less opportunity for poop jokes without colon cancer around. Despondent, leaves laboratory and joins underground anarchist movement; becomes its leader, under code name "Monkey Eschatology"; heads Zippo-bearing mob that sets fire to the National Mall; marries a Swedish underwear model and disappears forever into counterculture history.

G. The Starving Writer. Sends first novel, "Found God In Tuscaloosa," to 26 publishers and is universally rejected. Obtains a job at a gas station in Pittsburgh, Penn. One day fortuitously services the car of Michael Chabon, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, and is reinspired to the craft of writing. Sends second novel, "Break My Head With Your Love," to 32 publishers and is universally rejected. Moves to Montreal and begins writing pornographic fiction; thrives in the Canadian literary market. Dies at 60 from inflamed liver. Is buried in same cemetery as deceased pop singer Celine Dion; receives 12,000 more visitors annually at gravesite.

So remember, one's future can take any one of many infinite, exciting paths. As you watch all of us walk to the platform and receive tickets to the rest of our lives, take a moment to reflect. Think of all the wonder that is in store for the Class of 2002. Recognize the multifarious splendor of our wide world. And please, no spitballs.