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Mike Rowe: An Unsolicited Commencement Speech Delivered at the Height of the Plague

“I’m very flattered by the many invitations to speak at various virtual graduations this year, and very sorry to say I’m unable to accommodate everyone. I did however, want to say something generally to all those men and women graduating from a trade school, and, to those high school graduates, about to enter one. If you know someone in either category, (and even if you don’t) I’d be grateful if you’d share this.” — Mike Rowe

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  • Mitchell O Strand May 25, 2020, 11:25 AM

    Magnificent. I’m an accountant, and I paid my own way, and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, but every time I listen to Mike Rowe, I feel the pull of the skilled trades.

    I’m fifty, but I have a feeling that’s not too old. We’ll see.

  • James ONeil May 25, 2020, 12:35 PM

    MIKE ROWE IS A RIGHT BASTARD! & I say that and most sincerely mean that in the highest, most laudatory Aussie sense.

    I’ve been saying for a number of years now that caring, loving, responsible parents should not allow their children to attend university!

    I told my own kids that if they wanted to make money, learn a skill; pipe fitting, welding, heavy equipment operation, whatever, or marry a rich native (this was during the pipeline era and the native land claims settlements here in Alaska) and if they want to enjoy their lives, have something to do with their money, something to enjoy after work other than look at comic books, get a classical, liberal education! As Mike noted, one doesn’t have to go to college for a classical, liberal education today. Actually, within today’s Universities it’s almost impossible to find such.

    They, my two kids, as offspring will, followed some of my advice and both are enjoying their lives.

    My boy (57) stopped by yesterday and, with no help but a bit of advice from me, hammered out a knife, using my coal fired forge, from a piece of rebar for the first time. He did this with some talk about Nietzsche and Camus (The boy, at this point in his life, leans toward Freddie’s Wille zur Macht while I hang with with Albert noting it’s all rather absurd.) exchanged between hammer taps and discussion of the difference twix straw and red heat.

    My daughter (As a gentleman never mentions a lady’s age I won’t note her’s, just that she’s 3 years older than the “boy”), working two weeks on, two weeks off on the Alaska pipeline, stopped by to drop off a dozen eggs from her farm down around Big Lake and to wax eloquent about her Scottish Highland Cattle herd.

    So! Here it is. Ready? Thank’s Mike Rowe! You’re saying it far far better than I ever could and you’re reaching far far more folks that I ever did with the message, so, again, thanks!