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Honorary Ph.D.

Seattle University

June 15, 1997

In giving me this honorary Ph.D. in the humanities, and I have truly been honored, I was asked to speak to the graduating students. It was hinted that my speech should be inspirational. However I was not told what I was to inspire you to do, so I am on my own.
There are lots of options. I could try to inspire you to plant an herb garden, or to learn how skillfully to manipulate a skate board; or to become anthropologists and carry brief cases; or join the Audubon Society (this is a commercial) to help reestablish the depleting ozone layer; or, better yet, sell spotted owl Tshirts in a timber-dependent community. There are, as I said, lots of options.
I'll start with giving advice by the traditional route toward reaching your goal (if you have any) that was cooked up by some remote Chinese philosopher. He or she said (in Chinese, of course) that to go one thousand miles one must take the first step. Unfortunately, he or she didn't say what to do next. We are left with one foot in the air.
Maybe the best I can do for you is to give you a lot of unsolicited advice. If your goal in life is to be happy, as mine once was, my advice to you is to stay right where you are. Just keep on going to school as long as you can get away with it. Then if that becomes impractical, just move in with your folks and stay there.
If they lock you out some night, then get married and move in with your inlaws. This may not work out, but you can try it.
I wish I had someone give me this advice when I was young, because, let me tell you, it is really rough out here. In all my many years I haven't yet adjusted to most of the things I have run into, such as: answering machines that say: "For other options press one"; and expired credit cards; and running out of gas on the freeway during the rushhour; dead batteries; and unremitting toil on some 40 hour a week job; or heavy rain on the Fourth of July, year after year after year; and, finally, preparing phony resumes. I could go on and on, but I must keep an eye on the clock.
Also, since I have run out of inspirational ideas I will fill up the time left to me by telling you a story.
You most likely have heard it before because I first heard it many years ago in Bellingham, in a cafe, having lunch with a drama student who had a part in the Mikado. Do you go in for that sort of thing at the Seattle University?
Here is the story: A couple of dedicated baseball players were worried about the hereafter that is, whether they played baseball in Heaven. They agreed that who died first would come back and tell the survivor if they played baseball up there.
One died. A couple of weeks later the survivor heard his friend's voice: "It's me, Bill. I have good news and bad news. First the good news. Yes, we do play baseball in Heaven. The bad news is that we have a game scheduled for next Friday.
and you're pitching."
I know that upon graduating with you I will probably be known as Dr. Wolf. However, you can all just call me "Doc".

Hazel Wolf

(Last updated October 24, 1998)

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