If you have a computer, you know that you can now earn a degree in any profession you desire without studying or wasting your time.
There are several companies on the Internet that, for a fee, will send you a diploma that you can hang on your wall. I kid you not.
The only thing missing is a graduation speech. I right this wrong today.
"To the Spam A@M University class of 2004, congratulations. You are now part of the Instant Gratification Generation.
"You have labored in the vineyards of learning -- for an hour -- and you have earned your degree in medicine, law, science and even divinity.
"But this is not the end of your education. It's just a beginning. For $50 more you can have a degree in engineering, architecture or political science, presented in a beautiful maple frame made in China.
"Some of you will download, others will use a CD-ROM, and others will use a mouse. Most of you will be networking.
"Whatever you do, be proud of it -- as proud as Spam A@M University is of you.
"You will match-make with men and women on your computer for chat and romance. Remember, online relationships are the safest sex there is.
"And speaking of sex, everyone in this class will be subject to involuntary pornography. There's nothing you can do about it. The purveyors of this sort of filth should be shot, even if they plead the First Amendment. I mention this because you're not computing in a perfect world. Whether you have a laptop or a desktop, people have your e-mail address.
"The sheepskin you'll receive today (in gold-trimmed mahogany for an extra $25) can be hung on any wall where everyone can see it.
"I know one Spam graduate, Kelly Leight, who has six diplomas on her wall. She decided to collect degrees after she got her first one in nuclear science.
"But every story is not a happy one. A student who applied for a master's degree in accounting was kicked out when his credit card bounced and his application wound up in the 'Recycle Bin.'
"It would be remiss of me not to warn that you will be facing challenges. You should always be on the lookout for viruses. Some teenage hacker in Nigeria or Hong Kong may infect your computer, not for profit but for kicks. My advice is that the first thing you do after your graduation today be to acquire an antivirus program for $190.35. By the way, it is a perfect gift for a parent to give his or her child.
"For all of you out there who will be getting a diploma today, I say you'll have lots of surprises. Your AOL will break down unexpectedly, your Google will fail just when you need it and you won't always be able to Yahoo.
"Don't despair, dear student. Sometimes the road will be filled with potholes not of your making. But then, suddenly the sun will shine, and even your Hotmail will come back.
"Put this graduation speech in your 'Favorites' as inspiration every time you hit the keys.
"You are icons to your family who are so proud of you and what you have achieved to receive your diploma.
"Whether you're now sitting in front of a PC or a Mac, may the wind be always at your back."
(c) 2004 Tribune Media Services