I've been living in Los Angeles for two years, and I've never been this cold in my life. I will pay anyone here $300 for GORE-TEX gloves. Anybody. I'm serious. I have the cash.
Before I begin, I must point out that behind me sits a highly admired President of the United States and decorated war hero while I, a cable television talk show host, has been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom. I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today.
Graduates, faculty, parents, relatives, undergraduates, and old people that just come to these things: Good morning and congratulations to the Dartmouth Class of 2011. Today, you have achieved something special, something only 92 percent of Americans your age will ever know: a college diploma. That’s right, with your college diploma you now have a crushing advantage over 8 percent of the workforce. I'm talking about dropout losers like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. Incidentally, speaking of Mr. Zuckerberg, only at Harvard would someone have to invent a massive social network just to talk with someone in the next room.
My first job as your commencement speaker is to illustrate that life is not fair. For example, you have worked tirelessly for four years to earn the diploma you’ll be receiving this weekend.
That was great.
And Dartmouth is giving me the same degree for interviewing the fourth lead in Twilight. Deal with it. Another example that life is not fair: if it does rain, the powerful rich people on stage get the tent. Deal with it.
I would like to thank President Kim for inviting me here today. After my phone call with President Kim, I decided to find out a little bit about the man. He goes by President Kim and Dr. Kim. To his friends, he's Jim Kim, J to the K, Special K, JK Rowling, the Just Kidding Kimster, and most puzzling, "Stinky Pete." He served as the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, spearheaded a task force for the World Health Organization on Global Health Initiatives, won a MacArthur Genius Grant, and was one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2006. Good God, man, what the hell are you compensating for? Seriously. We get it. You're smart. By the way Dr. Kim, you were brought to Dartmouth to lead, and as a world-class anthropologist, you were also hired to figure out why each of these graduating students ran around a bonfire 111 times.
非常感谢Kim校长邀请我来参加今天的毕业典礼。Kim校长的电话挂断之后，我就决定研究一下这个家伙的背景。他总是被称为Kim校长和Kim博士。对于他的朋友来说，他是Jim Kim、J to the K、Special K（Kellog’s一款早餐谷物）、JK Rowling（小说《哈利波特》的作者）、the Just Kidding Kimster（F1车手莱科宁逗你玩儿），以及最令人不解的称呼，“Stinky Pete“（动画片《玩具总动员》里的矿工皮特）。他曾是哈佛医学院全球健康与社会医疗专业的系主任，作为世界卫生组织在全球健康行动计划的排头兵，他获得了麦克阿瑟天才奖的肯定，而且被《时代》杂志评为2006年最有影响力的100个人之一。上帝啊，这个人究竟是怎么做到的呢？我是认真的！我懂了，因为他非常聪明。顺便再对Kim博士说一句，你虽然被达特茅斯选为校长，但同时作为一个世界级的人类学家，你还被雇来研究为什么每一个这里毕业的学生都要绕着篝火跑上111圈。
But I thank you for inviting me here, Stinky Pete, and it is an honor. Though some of you may see me as a celebrity, you should know that I once sat where you sit. Literally. Late last night I snuck out here and sat in every seat. I did it to prove a point: I am not bright and I have a lot of free time.
But this is a wonderful occasion and it is great to be here in New Hampshire, where I am getting an honorary degree and all the legal fireworks I can fit in the trunk of my car.
You know, New Hampshire is such a special place. When I arrived I took a deep breath of this crisp New England air and thought, "Wow, I'm in the state that's next to the state where Ben and Jerry's ice cream is made."
大家都知道，新罕布什尔是个如此特别的地方。当我抵达这里的时候，深深地吸了一口新英格兰干冷的空气，心想：“哇！与这个州比邻的那个州（译者注：指的是佛蒙特）就是Ben & Jerry冰激凌的老家。“
But don't get me wrong, I take my task today very seriously. When I got the call two months ago to be your speaker, I decided to prepare with the same intensity many of you have devoted to an important term paper. So late last night, I began. I drank two cans of Red Bull, snorted some Adderall, played a few hours of Call of Duty, and then opened my browser. I think Wikipedia put it best when they said "Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League University in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States." Thank you and good luck.
To communicate with you students today, I have gone to great lengths to become well-versed in your unique linguistic patterns. In fact, just this morning I left Baker Berry with my tripee Barry to eat a Billy Bob at the Bema when my flitz to Francesca was Blitz jacked by some d-bag on his FSP.
为了今天跟你们这些学生交流，我特意花了很长时间学习你们特有的语言风格。事实上，就在今天早上当我发给Francesca的调情电子邮件被某FSP（Foreign Study Program，出国学习项目）的一个SB截获的时候，我正和“旅伴“Barry一起离开Baker Berry（达特茅斯图书馆）去Bema（一片宿舍前的空地）吃Billy Bob（一种早餐肉蛋卷）。
Yes, I've done my research. This college was named after the Second Earl of Dartmouth, a good friend of the Third Earl of UC Santa Cruz and the Duke of the Barbizon School of Beauty. Your school motto is "Vox clamantis in deserto," which means "Voice crying out in the wilderness." This is easily the most pathetic school motto I have ever heard. Apparently, it narrowly beat out "Silently Weeping in Thick Shrub" and "Whimpering in Moist Leaves without Pants." Your school color is green, and this color was chosen by Frederick Mather in 1867 because, and this is true—I looked it up—"it was the only color that had not been taken already." I cannot remember hearing anything so sad. Dartmouth, you have an inferiority complex, and you should not. You have graduated more great fictitious Americans than any other college. Meredith Grey of Grey's Anatomy. Pete Campbell from Mad Men. Michael Corleone from The Godfather. In fact, I look forward to next years' Valedictory Address by your esteemed classmate, Count Chocula. Of course, your greatest fictitious graduate is Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Man, can you imagine if a real Treasury Secretary made those kinds of decisions? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Now I know what you're going to say, Dartmouth, you're going to say, well "We've got Dr. Seuss." Well guess what, we're all tired of hearing about Dr. Seuss. Face it: The man rhymed fafloozle with saznoozle. In the literary community, that's called cheating.
没错儿，我做了一些研究。这个学院的名字来自达特茅斯伯爵二世，他是“加州大学圣克鲁斯分校伯爵三世“和“芭比松美容学校公爵“的好朋友。贵校的校训是“Vox clamantis in deserto“，意为“广漠大地上的哭声“（译者注：这只是字面意思，引申义为广漠大地上对知识的呼唤）。这简直就是我所听过的最招人怜悯的校训。显然，这比“在灌木深处默默流泪“和“不穿裤子在潮湿的叶子上啜泣“要略微好一点。贵校的代表色为绿色，是Frederick Mather在1867年选定了这个颜色。据说“这是当时唯一没有被其他学校选走的颜色“，这句话一点儿都没错，我真的查过。我实在不记得还有什么事比这个更让人难过了。达特茅斯，你们总有种低人一等的情结，其实大可不必。你们学校毕业的伟大的虚构人物要比其他学校多，比如《实习医生格蕾》剧中的Meredith Grey，《广告狂人》剧中的Pete Campbell，《教父》剧中的Michael Corleone。事实上，我非常期待明年这个时候由你们尊敬同学Count Chocula（漫画吸血鬼形象）发表的毕业生告别演讲。当然了，你们最伟大的“虚构“毕业生就是财政部长蒂莫西·盖特纳。同学们，你们能想象一个“真实“的财政部长会做出现在这些决定吗？哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈哈！现在我知道你们要说什么了，达特茅斯，你们会说：“好吧，我们至少有苏斯博士（译者注：著名儿童文学作家）。“你们猜怎么着？我们早就听腻了苏斯博士。直面事实吧：这家伙用saznoozle来押fafloozle的韵。在文学领域，那就叫作弊。
Your insecurity is so great, Dartmouth, that you don't even think you deserve a real podium. I'm sorry. What the hell is this thing? It looks like you stole it from the set of Survivor: Nova Scotia. Seriously, it looks like something a bear would use at an AA meeting.
No, Dartmouth, you must stand tall. Raise your heads high and feel proud.
Because if Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are your self-involved, vain, name-dropping older brothers, you are the cool, sexually confident, lacrosse playing younger sibling who knows how to throw a party and looks good in a down vest. Brown, of course, is your lesbian sister who never leaves her room. And Penn, Columbia, and Cornell—well, frankly, who gives a shit.
Yes, I've always had a special bond with this school. In fact, this is my second time coming here. When I was 17 years old and touring colleges, way back in the fall of 1980, I came to Dartmouth. Dartmouth was a very different place back then. I made the trip up from Boston on a mule and, after asking the blacksmith in West Leb for directions, I came to this beautiful campus. No dormitories had been built yet, so I stayed with a family of fur traders in White River Junction. It snowed heavily during my visit and I was trapped here for four months. I was forced to eat the mule, who a week earlier had been forced to eat the fur traders. Still, I loved Dartmouth and I vowed to return.
是的，我和这所学校之间有种特殊的纽带。事实上，这是我第二次到这里。这事儿要追溯到1980年，我17岁那年到各大名校旅游的时候来过达特茅斯。那时候达特茅斯真是个非常艰难的地方。我那次旅程是骑着骡子从波士顿出发的，在West Leb（新罕布什尔的一个地区）向铁匠打听好了方向，我就径直来到了这个美丽的校园。当时还没有任何宿舍，所以我寄宿在White River Junction一个皮草易商的家里。我来这里的那段时间恰逢天降大雪，以至于自己在这里被困了4个月。我当时不得不吃掉了那头骡子，而这头骡子一周前逼不得已时吃掉了那个皮草交易商。即便如此，我依然爱上了达特茅斯，并且发誓一定会再回来。
But fate dealt a heavy blow. With no money, I was forced to enroll in a small, local commuter school, a pulsating sore on a muddy elbow of the Charles River.I was a miserable wretch, and to this day I cannot help but wonder: What if I had gone to Dartmouth?
If I had gone to Dartmouth, I might have spent at least some of my college years outside and today I might not be allergic to all plant life, as well as most types of rock.
If I had gone to Dartmouth, right now I'd be wearing a fleece thong instead of a lace thong.
If I had gone to Dartmouth, I still wouldn't know the second verse to "Dear Old Dartmouth." Face it, none of you do. You all mumble that part.
如果我当时选择了达特茅斯，恐怕依然不知道“Dear Old Dartmouth“（达特茅斯校歌）的第二段歌词。承认吧，你们没人能记得，唱到那段都是哼哼过去的。
If I had gone to Dartmouth, I'd have a liver the size and consistency of a bean bag chair.
Finally, if I had gone to Dartmouth, today I'd be getting an honorary degree at Harvard. Imagine how awesome that would be.
You are a great school, and you deserve a historic commencement address. That's right, I want my message today to be forever remembered because it changed the world. To do this, I must suggest groundbreaking policy. Winston Churchill gave his famous "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College in 1946. JFK outlined his nuclear disarmament policy at American University in 1963. Today, I would like to set forth my own policy here at Dartmouth: I call it "The Conan Doctrine." Under "The Conan Doctrine":
- All bachelor degrees will be upgraded to master's degrees. All master's degrees will be upgraded to PhDs. And all MBA students will be immediately transferred to a white collar prison.
- Under "The Conan Doctrine," Winter Carnival will become Winter Carnivale and be moved to Rio. Clothing will be optional, all expenses paid by the Alumni Association.
遵从“柯南教义“，Winter Carnival（冬季嘉年华）将变成Winter Carnivale（冬季嘉年华的拉丁语），并且将去里约大肆庆祝。建议大家都不穿衣服，所有花费均由校友会承担。
- Your nickname, the Big Green, will be changed to something more kick-ass like "The Jade Blade," the "Seafoam Avenger," or simply "Lime-Zilla."
你们这个“the Big Green“的昵称将被换成更牛逼的，比如“The Jade Blade“（玉剑）、“Seafoam Avenger“（绿色复仇者）、或者干脆就叫“Lime-Zilla“（绿恐龙）。
- The D-Plan and "quarter system" will finally be updated to "the one sixty-fourth system." Semesters will last three days. Students will be encouraged to take 48 semesters off. They must, however, be on campus during their Sophomore 4th of July.
- Under "The Conan Doctrine," I will re-instate Tubestock. And I will punish those who tried to replace it with Fieldstock. Rafting and beer are a much better combination than a field and a beer. I happen to know that in two years, they were going to downgrade Fieldstock to Deskstock, seven hours of fun sitting quietly at your desk. Don't let those bastards do it.
And finally, under "The Conan Doctrine," all commencement speakers who shamelessly pander with cheap, inside references designed to get childish applause, will be forced to apologize—to the greatest graduating class in the history of the world. Dartmouth class of 2011 rules!
Besides policy, another hallmark of great commencement speeches is deep, profound advice like "reach for the stars." Well today, I am not going to waste your time with empty clichés. Instead, I am going to give you real, practical advice that you will need to know if you are going to survive the next few years.
- First, adult acne lasts longer than you think. I almost cancelled two days ago because I had a zit on my eye.
- Guys, this is important: You cannot iron a shirt while wearing it.
- Here's another one. If you live on Ramen Noodles for too long, you lose all feelings in your hands and your stool becomes a white gel.
- And finally, wearing colorful Converse high-tops beneath your graduation robe is a great way to tell your classmates that this is just the first of many horrible decisions you plan to make with the rest of your life.
Of course there are many parents here and I have real advice for them as well. Parents, you should write this down:
- Many of your children you haven't seen them in four years. Well, now you are about to see them every day when they come out of the basement to tell you the wi-fi isn't working.
- If your child majored in fine arts or philosophy, you have good reason to be worried. The only place where they are now really qualified to get a job is ancient Greece. Good luck with that degree.
- The traffic today on East Wheelock is going to be murder, so once they start handing out diplomas, you should slip out in the middle of the K's.
And, I have to tell you this:
- You will spend more money framing your child's diploma than they will earn in the next six months. It's tough out there, so be patient. The only people hiring right now are Panera Bread and Mexican drug cartels.
Yes, you parents must be patient because it is indeed a grim job market out there. And one of the reasons it's so tough finding work is that aging baby boomers refuse to leave their jobs. Trust me on this. Even when they promise you for five years that they are going to leave—and say it on television—I mean you can go on YouTube right now and watch the guy do it, there is no guarantee they won't come back. Of course I'm speaking generally.
But enough. This is not a time for grim prognostications or negativity. No, I came here today because, believe it or not, I actually do have something real to tell you.
Eleven years ago I gave an address to a graduating class at Harvard. I have not spoken at a graduation since because I thought I had nothing left to say. But then 2010 came. And now I'm here, three thousand miles from my home, because I learned a hard but profound lesson last year and I'd like to share it with you. In 2000, I told graduates "Don't be afraid to fail." Well now I'm here to tell you that, though you should not fear failure, you should do your very best to avoid it. Nietzsche famously said "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger." But what he failed to stress is that it almost kills you. Disappointment stings and, for driven, successful people like yourselves it is disorienting. What Nietzsche should have said is "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you watch a lot of Cartoon Network and drink mid-price Chardonnay at 11 in the morning."
Now, by definition, Commencement speakers at an Ivy League college are considered successful. But a little over a year ago, I experienced a profound and very public disappointment. I did not get what I wanted, and I left a system that had nurtured and helped define me for the better part of 17 years. I went from being in the center of the grid to not only off the grid, but underneath the coffee table that the grid sits on, lost in the shag carpeting that is underneath the coffee table supporting the grid. It was the making of a career disaster, and a terrible analogy.
But then something spectacular happened. Fogbound, with no compass, and adrift, I started trying things. I grew a strange, cinnamon beard. I dove into the world of social media. I started tweeting my comedy. I threw together a national tour. I played the guitar. I did stand-up, wore a skin-tight blue leather suit, recorded an album, made a documentary, and frightened my friends and family. Ultimately, I abandoned all preconceived perceptions of my career path and stature and took a job on basic cable with a network most famous for showing reruns, along with sitcoms created by a tall, black man who dresses like an old, black woman. I did a lot of silly, unconventional, spontaneous and seemingly irrational things and guess what: with the exception of the blue leather suit, it was the most satisfying and fascinating year of my professional life. To this day I still don't understand exactly what happened, but I have never had more fun, been more challenged—and this is important—had more conviction about what I was doing.
How could this be true? Well, it's simple: There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized. I went to college with many people who prided themselves on knowing exactly who they were and exactly where they were going. At Harvard, five different guys in my class told me that they would one day be President of the United States. Four of them were later killed in motel shoot-outs. The other one briefly hosted Blues Clues, before dying senselessly in yet another motel shoot-out. Your path at 22 will not necessarily be your path at 32 or 42. One's dream is constantly evolving, rising and falling, changing course. This happens in every job, but because I have worked in comedy for twenty-five years, I can probably speak best about my own profession.
Way back in the 1940s there was a very, very funny man named Jack Benny. He was a giant star, easily one of the greatest comedians of his generation. And a much younger man named Johnny Carson wanted very much to be Jack Benny. In some ways he was, but in many ways he wasn't. He emulated Jack Benny, but his own quirks and mannerisms, along with a changing medium, pulled him in a different direction. And yet his failure to completely become his hero made him the funniest person of his generation. David Letterman wanted to be Johnny Carson, and was not, and as a result my generation of comedians wanted to be David Letterman. And none of us are. My peers and I have all missed that mark in a thousand different ways. But the point is this : It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It's not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.
回顾1940年代，有个非常非常搞笑的家伙叫做Jack Benny。他是当时的天皇巨星，毫无疑问是他那一代人当中最伟大的喜剧演员。当时有个很年轻的小伙子叫做Johnny Carson一心想成为Jack Benny。从某种意义上说，他做到了，可是从另一种意义上看他又没做到。他模仿Jack Benny惟妙惟肖，但是完全摒弃了自己独有的动作特点，他努力的方向随着周围环境的变化而变化。最终，他没有成为自己偶像那样的人物，根本不能称得上他那一代人中最搞笑的一个。David Letterman想成为Johnny Carson，最后也没做到。结果我们这一代喜剧演员都想成为David Letterman，没人能做到。我和我的同行们从各方面来看都没有达到那个标准。不过，关键在于：虽然没有成为我们理想中最完美的样子，但这个理想中的形象却帮助我们找到了自身的独特性。这并不容易，不过如果你接受这种不幸并恰当地处理好它，你认为的这个失败会成为意义深远的再度创新的触媒。
So, at the age of 47, after 25 years of obsessively pursuing my dream, that dream changed. For decades, in show business, the ultimate goal of every comedian was to host The Tonight Show. It was the Holy Grail, and like many people I thought that achieving that goal would define me as successful. But that is not true. No specific job or career goal defines me, and it should not define you. In 2000—in 2000—I told graduates to not be afraid to fail, and I still believe that. But today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.
所以，站在47岁这个当口儿，着迷一般追逐了25年自己的梦想，结果发现梦想改变了。几十年来，在娱乐圈里，每个喜剧演员的终极目标都是能主持The Tonight Show。那是一个圣杯，我也像许多人一样认为自己实现那个目标就算是一个成功人士了。但实际上并不是那样。没有任何具体的工作或职业目标能定义我的成败，而且它也一样不能定义你们的成败。2000年的时候，我告诉毕业生不要害怕失败，我依然相信这句话。不过，今天我要告诉你们的是不管你怕它还是不怕它，失望在所难免。好的一面在于你通过失望可以让自己看得更明白，看透彻之后就有了坚定的信仰和真正的创造力。
Many of you here today are getting your diploma at this Ivy League school because you have committed yourself to a dream and worked hard to achieve it. And there is no greater cliché in a commencement address than "follow your dream." Well I am here to tell you that whatever you think your dream is now, it will probably change. And that's okay. Four years ago, many of you had a specific vision of what your college experience was going to be and who you were going to become. And I bet, today, most of you would admit that your time here was very different from what you imagined. Your roommates changed, your major changed, for some of you your sexual orientation changed. I bet some of you have changed your sexual orientation since I began this speech. I know I have. But through the good and especially the bad, the person you are now is someone you could never have conjured in the fall of 2007.
I have told you many things today, most of it foolish but some of it true. I'd like to end my address by breaking a taboo and quoting myself from 17 months ago. At the end of my final program with NBC, just before signing off, I said "Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen." Today, receiving this honor and speaking to the Dartmouth Class of 2011 from behind a tree-trunk, I have never believed that more.
Thank you very much, and congratulations.