George Saunders on life & kindness

August 1st, 2013 § 0 comments

George Saunders’s delivered the convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013 and I’m certain you will not regret the 5 minutes it takes you to read the entire speech.

So: What do I regret?  Being poor from time to time?  Not really.  Working terrible jobs, like “knuckle-puller in a slaughterhouse?”  (And don’t even ASK what that entails.)  No.  I don’t regret that.  Skinny-dipping in a river in Sumatra, a little buzzed, and looking up and seeing like 300 monkeys sitting on a pipeline, pooping down into the river, the river in which I was swimming, with my mouth open, naked?  And getting deathly ill afterwards, and staying sick for the next seven months?  Not so much.  Do I regret the occasional humiliation?  Like once, playing hockey in front of a big crowd, including this girl I really liked, I somehow managed, while falling and emitting this weird whooping noise, to score on my own goalie, while also sending my stick flying into the crowd, nearly hitting that girl?  No.  I don’t even regret that.

But here’s something I do regret:

I know you are curious, go ahead and read the rest.

I was turned on to this speech by the excellent Dave Pell who pens the always interesting Next Draft newsletter. Also, I shamelessly used his pull quote (sorry Dave, it was just too good).


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