I’ve been to so many Belgrade High School graduations since I started at this paper I can rattle off a text-book speech that hits every cliche without even trying.
“As we enter this new stage of our lives you should follow your dreams and reach for the stars because...” You get the picture.
This year was different. The Tatarka twins authored a couple of speeches that were brief, funny and insightful.
They tag-teamed the idea of learning from mistakes. Salutatorian Joseph ended his talk with “... try to succeed the first time around, but if you fail, grow from it.” Valedictorian Anthony emphasized failures and successes are par for the course, but the risk is worth it.
And they took a few potshots at the Belgrade football program, which I found hilarious. Even more funny was the reaction of both crowds. The graduates were shocked at first, but then let out a laugh that grew with each joke at the expense of the sport-oriented culture embedded at Belgrade High. The crowd of family and friends in the stands wasn’t quite as responsive, however.
There have been complaints. Didn’t anyone approve those speeches? censorship will surely rear its head in the future. But to those on fire, just relax.
The Notre Dame-bound twins took a “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him” approach. Three jokes about the football team and one about the high school does not a crime make. The cracks were unexpected, and that surprise boosted the humor. But it’s just a joke.
Let’s look to comedian Jerry Seinfeld...
“Jokes are not real,” he was quoted in an interview. “People assume that when you say something that you believe it. It’s purely comedic invention. You know, I do this whole bit about Pop-Tarts and how much I love them. I don’t love Pop-Tarts. It’s just funny. It’s funny to say it, so I say it.”
The Tatarka twins are an academic success story, and the Belgrade community should be nothing but proud of them.