Kiss, floss and shoot

by Karen Topakian

It’s commencement time. The time of year when noted figures, public figures, luminaries offer guidance and motivation to the graduating class. Everyone from Glenn Beck to Patti Smith to President Obama and his wife Michelle delivered their message.

According to the NY Times, Patti Smith spoke at Pratt’s commencement about the importance of dental care. John McCain spoke at Ohio Wesleyan University about failing and Meryl Streep talked at Barnard College about kissing. Kissing up. Kissing ass. Kissing romantically.

But Glenn Beck’s speech at Liberty University stands out for me. He said Shoot to kill. Excellent advice for students everywhere. And particularly for those graduating from a university where they don’t teach evolution. Or allow hand holding after dark.

If I were giving a commencement speech. I wouldn’t talk about oral hygiene or kissing or target practice. I’d give them the same advice my mother gave me during my teenage years: let your conscience be your guide. Can’t tell you how many times that stopped me dead in my tracks from doing something stupid or dangerous or both.

Or I’d expand on something Peg often includes in her speeches. Think of one thing you want to see changed in your life. For example, an end to the death penalty. Legalized same-sex marriage. Nuclear abolition. Stand up and say it loud and clear. Then commit yourself to making it come true.


  1. Steven Short says:

    This reminds me of a little note I keep on my desk, which is attributed as a Hasidic saying:

    “Carefully observe the way your heart draws you and then choose that with all your strength.”

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