Posted on the final exam for this year’s Sophomores:
My dear Goombas,
We did it. We survived Sophomore year together. I thank you for making my second year of teaching a memorable one.
By the gods, I would be nothing without you.
Understand that – understand this – that without you my Life would be devoid of meaning. I’d be laboring in a tire shop slinging llantas or working as a tech writer plugging away on a sterile screen, watching Life pass me by, meaningless, until I finally crossed the inevitable Dark Stream.
That, my dear Goombas, is no way to live. Who lies upon their deathbed wishing they had earned more money or spent more time at work? You are not a dollar sign, nor should you chase them. Live Life to live.
Here, in the confines of this classroom, your antics and enlightenment give me the succor my soul so desperately craves. To find meaning in Life – that is purpose. That is drive. And you, whether you realize or not, are what motivates me to be a better person every day. To carpe diem, to seize Life in a deathgrip and ne’er relinquish such a tenacious hold until I have throttled the very essence of Being and Truth from Her.
We both know I can be a right proper bastard, an irritable curmudgeon who is quick to insults and bullying tactics when my standards are not met. But do not think I had it out for you (yes, even you) for my purpose is clear: I am here to educate by any means necessary. Sometimes, my charges, that requires a heavy hand and a stern love. Sometimes it requires mirth and laughter. Every day is a new one; education is much the same.
The road ahead of you is rough at best and downright impassable at worst. Life is no mean feat and you will be subjected to all manner of horrors and unpleasantries before you leave this world for the next. This is not a scare tactic, but a bit of insight from your soon-to-be former instructor.
Life is not a bundle of kittens wrapped in fluffy bunnies and smelling of unicorn farts. Life is not climbing the corporate ladder to earn more magical pieces of paper at this location than that. Life is not ignoring the pain and suffering of your fellow man because you prefer distractions. Life is not earning this grade to go on to the next.
My dear Goombas, no, far from it, Life is about living.
What makes you happy?
Truly, ask yourself, what makes you happy? Art? Poetry? Welding? Jokes? Friends? Family. Faith. School. Cars. Racing. Clothes. Makeup. Gossip. Tools. Society. Politics. Passion. Drive. Future. Past. Her. Him. Learning.
Whatever makes you happy, and doesn’t hurt anyone in the process, pursue it. Live a Life of happiness.
You have shared so much with me throughout this school year, heaping blessings upon my unworthy plate time and again, it is only right I share my last bits of advice. Permit me, Goombas, one last time to lecture from my philosophical high horse:
- I am, you are, no one’s slave. No man or god they have made.
- Never let anyone define who you are. Anyone, dammit, be they good-intentioned are not. You are your own person with your own destiny.
- Love yourself.
- Fat, skinny, tall, short, smart or not, it matters not: love yourself. It took me many years to accept this for I am flawed and imperfect. But so we all are. Love yourself, Goomba.
- Question Everything.
- The very advice I give you now needs to be questioned: what the hell do I know? Just because someone claims they know the Truth doesn’t mean a damn thing. Find out for yourself.
Now beat the crap out of this exam. It is only a grade – ink stains upon a page – and how you are so much more than that! You are my Goombas, off to bigger and better things, Fate be damned. Now go do Good things.