A friend sent this to me a few years ago, and I filed it away in a "Read Later" folder.
On Saturday, when the kind Sprint rep told me it would take 45 minutes to transfer my contacts from my old phone to the new, I found myself with no available smartphone, a laptop with no wifi, and nothing else to occupy my time. It took literally years to finally get my attention, but I opened up the "Read Later" folder. The first thing in the folder that caught my eye was David Foster Wallace's commencement address from Kenyon, to the graduating class of 2005.
Before you click away and read the whole text, let me familiarize you a bit with the author. From Wikipedia:
David Foster Wallace (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008) was an American author of novels, essays, and short stories, and a professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He was widely known for his 1996 novel Infinite Jest, which Time included in its All-Time 100 Greatest Novels list (covering the period 1923–2006).
Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin called Wallace "one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years".Wallace killed himself by hanging in 2008. He'd suffered from depression through his whole adult life, and when there was a complication with his medication, he succumbed. It's sad, but reading through this speech, I think I understand a little where he was coming from. I found this address comforting and consonant with my own life experience. I'll probably be reading more of his work.
Now go ahead and read it. Click here.