This is all about sucking, so I'll begin with me, in a parking lot, parked too close to the adjacent car. I open my car door and inadvertently hit the other dude's door. I pray that I haven't left a scratch, or a dent, or something substantial that would require insurance-card swapping and 10 minutes on the phone with a claims adjuster and all kinds of tedious, horrible bullshit. I go in for an inspection. There's a mark there. I mean, it's a very small mark, but it's there. Maybe it was always there, right? Maybe. Or maybe it's just a streak of dirt. I lick my thumb and try to rub that shit away, but no. It's there. It won't go away. I stare at the thing and attempt, with my brain, to make it disappear. If I just squint hard enough, the scratch is barely visible. Not really a scratch at all. And there are other scratches on the car as well. Do I leave a note? I do not leave a note. Instead, I get in my car and I fucking leave.
So when I tell you that I know about sucking, you can believe it. I suck hard and I suck long. I've been writing dopey graduation-speech posts here at Deadspin for seven years now, and the whole initial premise was to make fun of other grad speeches, because celebrity commencement speakers are the worst. They're there to collect their appearance fee, and throw out some motivational slogans that they hope will be engraved onto a park bench one day, and jack off to their own wisdom in front of you, the hungover, graduating senior. Mocking the phony-baloney sincerity of those pricks was our initial premise. But then I started getting all HEARTFELT, and just as vain and self-serious as Oprah or whatever insufferable Supreme Court justice happens to come knocking at your college's door. This is because I suck.
And chances are, you suck as well. There are only a handful of awesome people in this world. There's Jennifer Lawrence, and Louis C.K., and maybe that new pope, and that's about it. The rest of humanity? SUCK. All suck, all the time. You college grads, in particular, are unbelievably sucky. Half you motherfuckers can't even be bothered to write a thank-you email back when someone helps you. Talk to any HR professional, and they'll tell you that there are four hireable people left in America today. The rest are shiftless assholes who refuse to do the absolute bare minimum to get by in life, like show up on time, or say please, or wear shoes to a job interview. It's like you were all raised by beavers.
It's a tragic irony that most Americans are at their laziest when they're young and have the most energy they'll ever have, only to become more driven once their bodies start breaking down. I would tell you people to seize the day, but you're not gonna hear that shit. You're probably wearing a $300 pair of Beats cans and listening to terrible music as we speak, like Passenger. What an awful band. You suck.
But I have sucked longer and harder than you. Not only do I suck, I also complain about other things sucking. I've complained about scarves and umbrellas and buying new windows and rich people and liberals and conservatives and dog people and cat people and movies and TV shows and even bad parts of otherwise good TV shows. I have spread my suck out. I have explored the nooks and crannies of suck, and made my suck into a communicable disease.
And so, fair seniors, I am here today to give you some tips on how to enhance your suckiness. You are all already terrible, selfish, relatively useless people who will drag our economy even further down into the toilet. Seriously, look around. We're a backwards country now. Other countries talk about us the way I talk about Mississippi. But we can all still suck even harder, and here is how:
Always try to be right. I can't begin to tell you how overrated being right is. Being right means reiterating shit you already knew. "Hey guys, I predicted the Seattle Seahawks might win the Super Bowl last season, and I was right!" Cookie for you. Did you learn anything from being right, apart from acquiring a new way to spit-polish your own asshole? No.
In fact, being right usually blinds you to new information. Being right helps you become further convinced that you know everything, which is a hilarious lie. It's you being your own yes man. You know absolutely nothing. I went to college and have read some books, and my total knowledge represents roughly .0000000000000001 percent of .000000000001 percent of the potential knowledge I could acquire, and even that is a vain overestimation of my own intellect. I could click on a random Wikipedia page and instantly find out something I did not know, and I will still continue to not know that thing, because it's Wikipedia, and it's probably wrong.
Being wrong? That's helpful. When you're wrong, you acquire new information. Like so:
YOU: The Battle of the Bulge was this giant fight between fat people.
OTHER, SMARTER PERSON: Actually, it was a major German offensive in World War II.
YOU: Wow, I did not know that! I will go read a book on that very topic!
You see? You just added something to your brain. You've grown. Unless you're attempting to defuse a car bomb, being right adds nothing. America today is one big asshole race to be correct: about sports, entertainment, politics, etc. Not only are we obsessed with being right, we're obsessed with being ABSOLUTELY right. More than right. Mega-right! Unquestionably right. This is why some of our schools currently teach children that the moon was placed up in the sky by witches. There's a satisfaction in being right (I know, because I'm right about that, and now I feel awesome), and there is humiliation in being wrong, and we're all big pussies hellbent on avoiding that humiliation. So by all means, keep trying to be right. That's the sucky way of going about your business.
Drive a BMW. Driving a BMW means you're an important person with lots of money and cool shit to do, which means you're entitled to swerve and cut people off and change lanes with absolutely no warning and tailgate EVERYONE in the passing lane in order to get where you need to go. Where's that poor asshole in a Honda have to get to that's as important? Nowhere. He's probably driving to a Friendly's to rub one out in the parking lot. Poor guy. You and your BMW deserve to have priority so that you can get to your destination five seconds sooner. You giant sucking asshole. BMW drivers are the worst.
Be the kind of person who makes a scene. One time I was unloading bags in the grocery-store parking lot, and then I had to put my cart away. So I walked the cart up to the sidewalk and left it there, near the rest of the carts, but not WITH them. An old man saw this and called me out:
OLD MAN: You didn't put your cart all the way back, and now it's blocking everyone's way!
Did I respectfully concede that this old bag of shit was right, and that I was wrong to leave my cart in the way? Of course not, because I suck. Instead, I rolled my eyes at the guy and sighed audibly (on purpose, so everyone could hear) and made a huge scene of trudging the cart all the way over to the stacked carts. Then, after doing that, I turned to the old man, held out both arms, and screamed YA HAPPY?! I mean, I really played it up in full view of everyone else in the lot, like I was in some terrible Robert De Niro comedy. I wanted to make sure everyone saw that I wasn't gonna let this old man have the nerve to call me out on my lack of consideration. You believe the balls on that guy?!
OLD MAN: I'm never happy!
And then I walked away. I had successfully made a scene and ruined everyone's day in the process. If you suck, you will do this as well. You'll scream in public. You'll berate friends and lovers openly. You'll walk down the street yelling into your phone so that everyone knows you have cool things to discuss with cool people. You'll stamp your feet when you have to wait five minutes more for a table at a restaurant. In general, you will act like you're filming a reality show and the producer has told you that you need to "be big." You'll run around telling people about all the DRAMA in your life, which was wholly manufactured by you, all for the sake of getting attention. Awesome people will be polite and try to address their grievances in a firm but friendly manner, often in private. Do not do this. SUCK.
Post fake shit online. Everyone will think that picture you took of a giant spider crawling up a building is real! HAHAHA PEOPLE ARE SO DUMB NEVER GETS OLD.
Never take responsibility for anything. My first office job was as an assistant account executive at an ad firm. And, in keeping with the theme of this post, I sucked. I barely did anything. I surfed for porn in an open cubicle (I even printed out pictures of naked women on the printer). I left work unfinished. I got pissy when people asked me to do things. I was just as worthless as you college grads are right now! One day, I needed a producer to send me a revised script of an ad. I could have revised it myself (an ad script is all of one page), but I did not see that as my responsibility. So when the producer asked if I could do the revision, I wrote her a nasty email that said, "That's not my job. I want the script that YOU were supposed to send me."
So the producer forwarded that email to my boss, and then my boss called me into his office and, with a politeness that I did not deserve, told me that I shouldn't send such emails. Did I accept responsibility? God, no. No, I held a grudge against that bitch for MONTHS. She ratted me out, and now I had to do three extra minutes of work. I hated her. All of this could have been resolved if I had simply taken some responsibility. Instead, I just hoped shit would get done on my behalf. In retrospect, I have spent a remarkably large portion of my life just hoping good shit would happen. If I stay at this ad agency long enough, they'll make me creative director! I was laid off well before that ever would've happened.
(The same boss also called me into his office once to explain that I could not expense my groceries. Strangely, the printed porn was never discussed.)
My daughter always says, "It was an accident!" in order to get out of trouble. Punch her brother? ACCIDENT. Broke some shit? ACCIDENT. Set the baby on fire? ACCIDENT! If you suck, this will remain your attitude for life. Everything bad and good that happens to you will be the responsibility of other people, or some other kind of cosmic force beyond your control. It's a cliché to say you have to make shit happen on your own, but I'm telling you: You'll be amazed at how little the rest of the world will help you. You'd think someone might see you and be like, "Hey, here's a cool job working as a film critic!" But no one ever does that, because people suck, and so do you. To this day, if I do something wrong, and my wife sees it, I will try to lie my way out of it. Oh, did I drink from your wine glass, sweetie? ACCIDENT. My kid learned from the master.
Try nothing new. We had one guy at my old office who wouldn't eat the Indian food we ordered for lunch because it was covered in green sauce, and this, like, grossed him out. OMG IT'S GREEN IT MIGHT HAVE GREEN EGGS AND HAM IN IT. I also knew a guy in college who wouldn't watch The Simpsons because it was a cartoon. I hope both of these people are now dead. I mean, that was clearly their primary goal anyway: to keep eating the same shit and watching the same shit and living the same day over and over again until death finally set in.
Be late. No one will begrudge you for showing up a little late to the party so that someone you know will already be there when you arrive. Perfectly understandable. But if you want to really suck, you will extend that philosophy to EVERY appointment you make. Like a conference call. Bigwig assholes always try to be the LAST guy in the conference call. As a result, all of Guy Bigdick's underlings have to sit there for 15 horrible minutes before the call gets under way, extracting the smallest talk out of one another or just staring off into oblivion. People who are late are fucking awful. We have clocks for a reason. We keep track of time so that we can organize our schedules in an efficient and reliable manner. Late people do not respect this clock at all, which means that my faith in TIME ITSELF is shaken. If I can't even rely on time itself to be time itself, you know what happens? Anarchy.
So if you want to suck, be late. And not only should you be late, but make sure no one has any idea what time you'll actually arrive. Give no ETA. Don't explain why you're late (your baby better have lost a fucking arm). Lie and say you'll be "just a moment," a vague excuse for a period of time that can stretch into years. That's quality suckage.
Be too cowardly to say what you actually want. Ninety percent of all sitcom plots revolve around this concept. Gee, I want to dump Jenny for Caroline, but instead of saying what's on my mind, let me set up an elaborate double-date at the zoo with both women on the exact same day when a tiger happens to get loose! Christ. So follow television's lead (I always do), and hem and haw and irritate everyone by never coming right out and saying what it is you require. I can spend a solid eight hours trying to decide on a place to eat with a friend because I don't like their initial suggestion, but am too afraid to say what I really want to eat. And then the world's lamest passive-aggressive standoff ensues. "What about Thai food?" JUST SAY YOU WANT FUCKING THAI FOOD.
Think nothing about fucking people over. The other day I was walking around with a full cup of coffee, and I did not like the coffee, and I was getting tired of holding it. So I took that full cup and threw it in a public trash can. And the worst part is that I knew precisely how shitty of a thing this was before I did it. Someone (not me) was going to have to empty that can, and they were going to get a flood of old coffee leaking out of the bottom. I knew I should have gone and dumped the coffee first and then discarded the cup, but I didn't, because that was too hard. This is how your local boner-pill company ends up poisoning a reservoir with old mercury.
Be unwilling to make an ass of yourself. Take nothing in stride. Seethe when someone makes you look silly or wrong or unmanly. You'll get a job working at a soon-to-be-bankrupt Trump hotel within no time.
Hold long conversations in doorways and stairwells. Oh hey, there's an old friend passing through this doorway. Let's just pause here and catch up on the past 30 years without relocating to a more private place and allowing the flow of human traffic to proceed.
Love yourself for who you are. Why would you ever do that? You're all obnoxious, terrible people right now. You shouldn't stand in front of a mirror and clap your hands together and be like, "Yup! Looks great!" You should look upon yourself as you would a house that has been leveled by a fucking tornado. It will take YEARS to build this thing up.
There are so many terrible pop songs out there now that babble on about being true to yourself and loving you for you. And because young people are stupid, they buy into that shit and distort it and come to the misguided notion that having high self-esteem means never acknowledging that you have a shitload to work on. Take it from me. Whenever I get pissed, I usually kick the wall or throw something. And when my wife says that I shouldn't have to do that, you know what my excuse is? That's just who I am. That is the shittiest excuse in history, and people use it all the time. Oh hey, I'll be three hours late to your wedding. SORRY THAT'S JUST WHO I AM. Not only does that mean you suck, it actually romanticizes your sucking. You actually expect people to be charmed by your suckage. That's a cool trick!
Be more interested in your thoughts on the world than the world itself. This is called TED Syndrome. You can usually acquire it by reading some shitty Malcolm Gladwell book.
Hold grudges. Forever. Never forgive. Take every slight and warp it into some cosmic injustice and then plot your revenge on whoever wronged you all those years ago. Hide in the bushes and then leap out at them, brandishing a straight razor, and tell them IT'S PAYBACK TIME, and then become even more angry when they can't even remember what it is they did to piss you off, and then say, "You know damn well why I'm here!," and then kill that person. If you can do all this while blocking a stairwell, then all the better. Because by holding grudges and perpetuating a cycle of rage and violence, you win. And winning makes you right!
Be ungrateful. You did not have to be here. Some other sperm could have shot through your mom's egg wall and produced a different, likely better human being. You could have been an ant. You could have been a weed. Instead, after 14 billion years in the history of the universe, and after the four and a half billion years it took for the Earth to go from a cosmic shard to a livable biosphere, a bunch of random atoms somehow coalesced and, out of sheer and unfathomable luck, formed you. Now. In a civilization so advanced that you can print out a fucking gun and fire it at people. The odds of winning the lottery are far more favorable than the odds of you ever having existed. By a lot. So if you suck, be sure to NEVER appreciate this, or anything else. Act as if being alive is some TERRIBLE burden, and invite pity upon yourself because today is Monday and FML AMIRITE?
Sometimes life is unpleasant and tedious and painful, but all of that is better than not existing and being part of a shapeless and timeless black void that LITERALLY sucks, as opposed to you and your metaphorical sucking. But please, do not remember this. I know I don't. I just huff and puff and piss and moan because I can't find my phone charger, which I myself misplaced. GOD LIFE SUCKS. It really does. If I could sell you my life for a dollar, by god I would!
Put mayo on my sandwich without asking me. Goes without saying. If you put mayo on my sandwich without asking me, you suck the most of all. Someone put this on a park bench in my honor, please.
Deadspin Commencement Address Archive
2011: Waste More Time
2010: Learn to Fucking Park
2009: You Make Me Sick
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy Drew's new Kindle Single, The Rover, through Amazon.
Illustration by Jim Cooke.
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