Sometime between Bill Clinton’s speech and the giant inflatable bulldog at the Yale Bowl, my roommate Jenny started worrying about Yale’s bank account. She feared that our graduation in May would be anticlimactic, that “Yale would issue a statement saying, ‘We’re sorry, we ran out of money, so Peggy from the Pierson dining hall will be this year’s Class Day speaker.'”
In Peggy’s defense, she’s got things to say. I heard George Dubya’s speech on his days as a drunken frat boy, and I must admit, I’ve been more moved by Peggy’s admonitions to bus our trays.
But still, these are valid concerns. I mean, how much money can Yale have leftover to pay for our Class Day speaker? Five dollars? Ten dollars? Could we pay our speaker in ceremonial robes and pins?
I have only this to say: Yale better deliver someone good, or they won’t see one red cent of the money from the foundation my fans will set up in my name after I die.
Unfortunately, in the past two years, Yale has used up the most famous people around: the old George Bush, the young George Bush, Hillary Rodham and now Bill. What big-time Yale alumni are left? There are Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman — but vice presidents and senators are so pedestrian, so plebeian.
We could invite Tom Wolfe back –his fourth visit in the past year –but he’d wear that white suit before Memorial Day, and the fashion police would have our heads on a platter.
Jodie Foster would be too private to give a juicy Class Day speech. We’d want to know who fathered her baby, and she’d never tell. Or if she did speak, things could go horribly wrong, and she could revert to her role in the movie “Nell” — naypa miss Chicka-graduate, guy-anga, taying in the weend, taying in the weeeend — William F. Buckley, Jr. has a fake, pretentious British accent, which counts him out.
Henry Winkler (the Fonz) would be forced to make a play on words about our “Happy Days” at Yale, and nobody wants that. My parents don’t know who Ed Norton is, so we can’t have him either.
All this points to one inevitable truth: the only person who can give the Class Day speech is me. I’m the only one who fulfills all the criteria. Far from being a second-rung politician like Cheney and Lieberman, I am a pre-med-history-major-humor-columnist on the brink of a fame greater than you or I ever thought possible. Unlike Wolfe, I adhere to the rules of fashion and brutally make fun of those who break them. (This means you.) I have a soothing, all-American New Jersey accent. And I’m not a private person –I would spill all of Pierson’s nasty secrets in front of thousands of horrified listeners.
And finally, unlike Ed Norton, my parents know who I am, and they would be really proud of me.
There is one last reason to have me as Class Day speaker: I would be cheap. If Yale blew the money for this year’s speaker on the inflatable bulldog, I understand. I would accept the humble sum of a few thousand dollars, or even a sizable gift certificate to Archetype or Ann Taylor. Or maybe just a nice dinner at Nirvana with Linda Koch Lorimer. Come to think of it, just give me the inflatable bulldog, and we’ll call it even.
I submit this request to you, my readers. It’s now up to you to put pressure on Levin and Brodhead. If they respond with “Who the [expletive] is Nancy Levy?” just tell them they’re corporate clones and that they should get their finger on the pulse of the new generation. Then have a protest on Beinecke Plaza.
Nancy Levy is a senior in Pierson College. Her columns appear on alternate Wednesdays.