Why Gustavo Ditched His East Los Angeles College Commencement Speech (Hint: Because He's a Big Ol' Pendejo)
Back in February,East Los Angeles College announced that they invited me to be their commencement speaker. I was thrilled because it's always an honor to give a commencement speech--and it was a juco, to boot, California's perpetually unloved higher ed track from which I originated (go Orange Coast College!)
I marked the date down on my calendar. I began writing and rewriting my speech, to make the most of my allotted five minutes. I got my suit dry-cleaned. I waited. And then yesterday, around 6 p.m., I received a very succinct email from an ELAC administrator: "Where are you?"
AW, CRAP. I had the graduation ceremony dotted down on my calendar as happening on June 6--and it was actually June 4. YESTERDAY. By then, it was too late to leave work--we were in the middle of closing our Summer Guide, and I had to be in the office for that--and I felt like the biggest pendejo in the world. I mean, I'm ALWAYS the biggest pendejo in the world, but I usually don't feel bad about it because I can almost always stand by my pendejadas. But standing up a bunch of students because I mixed up the dates? I feel horrible.
And, so: the apologies. I profusely apologize to everyone at East Los Angeles College for insulting you in this way--you deserve so much better. Perdóname, Profe Godinez, my fellow Chapman University alum, who recommended me as the commencement speaker in the first place. A big ol' :-( to the student on Twitter who asked a very simple question: "Donde estas, buey?" I throw myself at the mercy of this infernal rag and the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department at Cal State Fullerton, for being such an unworthy representative of our brands. I will be apologizing for this for the rest of my life, and I will never be able to live this mistake down.
I offer no excuses--I messed up, and that's that. The only other thing I'll add is that OF COURSE something like this would happen to me--I'm a nerd. This is as humiliating to me as the time in seventh grade at Sycamore Junior High when I ripped the loudest possible fart imaginable during reading time, or in Mrs. Stikeleather's English class in eighth grade, when my voice cracked during the finals of a speech tournament. In a couple of hundred years, when the Machines take over and my brain's being kept alive in some saline solution-filled jar, I will group the ELAC snub alongside such embarrassing, improbable, preventable, pendejo moments. Oh, joy!