Flashback: Tom and Ray's MIT Commencement Address!

Staff Blog

Staff Blog | Jan 19, 2012

A while back -- okay, a couple decades ago -- Tom and Ray delivered the MIT Commencement Address. Turns out, someone in the audience was paying attention! Not only that -- he took their sagely advice to heart.So how'd that turn out? Read on!

Dear Tom and Ray,

Like you, I am a resident of Our Fair City. A few days ago, I noticed you dining alongside me at a popular local eatery. Because you have provided several minutes of entertainment to me over the years, I thought of asking the waitress to put your meals on my tab. However, then I remembered that you were also my commencement speakers at MIT -- Class of '99. (As a side note, you were preceded the previous three years by Vice President Gore, President Clinton, and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan -- what a letdown for OUR class!)

Anyway, when I thought back to your commencement speech, your central point was that the smarter you are, the less happy you are. On an easel, you showed a downward-sloping graph, and you concluded that grass was the happiest life form on Earth. You recommended that we MIT graduates disregard our expensive educations and proceed through life "unencumbered by the thought process."

Because of this lousy advice, I ended up completely missing out on the lucrative dotcom boom and real-estate bubble, instead taking a low-paying job in the ill-respected public sector. Need I point out that I have not replaced my car since graduation? In any case, when I realized I couldn't afford your meals, I decided to pass on the opportunity to pay. Maybe next time!

Yours in grassy happiness,
Eric Jay
Thanks for writing, Eric.  Should you wish to torture yourself with flashbacks from this painful experience, you can find excerpts of Tom and Ray's speech, a photo gallery, and lots more, right here.

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