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Brevity Will Probably Win Commencement Speakers an A+ From Graduates

May 31, 2003|Steve Harvey

It's commencement time. And on behalf of departing seniors faced with the prospect of sitting in the sun for hours while being pelted with platitudes, I'd like to remind speakers that graduation speeches can be brief. Very brief.

Some of the shortest have been attributed to:

* Woody Allen: "We have given you a perfect world. Please don't screw it up."

* Albert Einstein: "I do not have any particular thoughts to express today, so I wish you all success in the future."

* Winston Churchill: "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."

* Former Wyoming Gov. Nels Smith: "You done good!"

* And, finally, Bob Hope: "As you prepare to leave these hallowed halls of learning, these bastions of knowledge, these citadels of scholarship, I have just two words of advice: 'Don't go.' "


'Nuff said (cont.): Whether the above speeches actually occurred -- specific dates and sites are vague -- I think we can applaud the concept.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday June 07, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 39 words Type of Material: Correction
Corporate Head statue -- The Only in L.A. column in the May 31 California section should have said that the "Corporate Head" statue by Terry Allen stands outside an Ernst & Young office on 7th Street, not Wilshire Boulevard.

And I can confirm the splendid oration given in 1996 by Richard Moore, then president of Santa Monica College. After sitting through more than a dozen preliminary speeches at a high school graduation, Moore arose, uttered three words -- "Feelings. Adventures. Ideas." -- then sat down.

Moore, you done good.


Guide to Adventurous Dining: Today's specials du column (see accompanying) are:

* Some mystery meat, spotted by Marty Richards of La Mesa.

* Eats evidently intended for someone with wooden teeth, submitted by Father Bob Barbato of L.A.

* And, finally, whoops ... I guess you're NOT supposed to consume the stuff that accompanied a card found by Laura Holzman of Rancho Palos Verdes.

It was in a box of new shoes.


More food for thought: The police log of the Laguna News-Post said that on Memorial Day "a resident called police and said that his neighbor was barbecuing and that the smoke was making him sick." I have to admit barbecue smoke has a more enticing effect on me. If it made me sick, I'd weigh 25 pounds less than I do now.


MiscelLAny: Terry Allen's decade-old briefcase toter, which stands outside an Ernst & Young office on Wilshire Boulevard, could be viewed as a symbol of the headaches suffered by the accounting industry the last several months.


Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LA-TIMES, Ext. 77083, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012 and by e-mail at

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