Time travel had long since become commonplace and inexpensive, but society quickly cooled to it once history’s best funnel-cake recipe had been recovered from ancient Egypt. The secret ingredient is mummies.
Thankfully, my future self (wracked with guilt over something called “the Foiling”) managed to drag his charismatic past self to the “present day” to address new grads at the Tom Hanks Industrial Institute (Tom Hanks, once regarded as a brilliant actor, is now lauded as the father of quantum construction).
The college had been founded in 2028, expanded in 2041 to address a growing need for hallways to place display cases, and opened as a general public institution in 2059 when former college president Angus McGriddle III sold it to the federal government for a sack of magic beans.
The beans have since been eaten.
“I’m sure you have a common vision for the future,” I continued, “you want to get your diplomas and beat the traffic.”
A cheer rose up from the teeming mass of students and parents alike. They’d soon learn to hate me.
“Well, that’s too bad, because you won’t actually get your diplomas today; they’re going to be mailed to you, based on a four-year-old address we have on file. The only thing you’re going to get here today is a participation certificate.”
A few people clapped politely, probably those in the back who mistook my spiteful boasting as the setup to a joke.
“The certificates won’t have your names or today’s date, but they will have some nice clip art of an owl with a mortarboard, a diploma in his beak, and the phrase ‘Con-GRAD-ulations!’ written in Comic Sans.”
Again, some people clapped. I’d have to step it up a notch.
“A diploma is the key to your future,” I boomed, deliberately tilting the microphone toward the speaker to generate an ear-splitting screech. “With four years of college under your belt, you’re finally prepared to take on any challenge, hold any job in your field!”
I didn’t even give them time to clap.
“It’s too bad that you’re in a job market saturated by unemployed people who have the same degree, along with years of experience,” I said oafishly, giving a comical shrug to some nervous applause. “Do not be discouraged. With a 4.0 GPA and a BA in English, you could literally be an honest-to-God au pair — not in this country, of course.”
Some graduates were slowly getting up in the back and walking off the field.
“SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!” I shouted, running from the stage. A thunderous maelstrom broke out as the dean tried to maintain order, a direct testament to my superb speeching skills.
“And now, in the grand liberal arts tradition, the valedictorian will read an emo poem for twelve minutes,” he announced to widespread groaning.
I slumped down next to my future self as a student of indeterminate gender spoke of clouds and sadness breaking over an indifferent horizon. My blood boiled with the satisfaction of a job adequately done. “What a beautiful day out! After this, you want to get some cheese steak and tell me which stocks to bet on?”
“Buy aluminum, but not for the reasons you think,” future-me said enigmatically.
“By the way, the dean looks kind of angry—”
“It’s cool, I’m not really a professor here.”
After a short discussion which isn’t really worth repeating here, it turned out that my future self impersonated a professor to get free graduation robes for a Renaissance festival, and was lining his pockets with banana muffins during my speech — which he refused to share with me at the time station.
To call this disturbing is to put it mildly.
What possible reason could I have for wanting to attend a Renaissance festival? It boggles the mind.