Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This is Water: David Foster Wallace & Kenyon

If you look closely at this picture of Kris graduating, you might notice who is sitting on the right there. That's correct. And that's why, until I die, I'll be jealous of Kris. Not just because he was lucky enough to have a writer, or one of my favorite writers as his graduation speaker (instead of Alberto Gonzalez-- who seriously just talked about how great Bush was the entire time...) but because it was that speaker, on that day, for that speech. 

Sometimes, even when you first meet someone, you learn just one tiny piece of information about them that feels so specific to you, it feels like someone must have sent that person to you. I try to pay attention to these people, because they've always turned out to be very important.

Which is exactly what happened when I met Kris the day after his 28th birthday and managed to figure out that not only was he present during the speech that is essentially the mantra of my life, but that he was just chillin there all calm like he normally is, from the front row. The front row as David Foster Wallace said all this. (Or Kris says read this one-- and he would know...because he was there!)

My general thinking was, Kris must be a better person than most just for having BEEN THERE. So far, it seems to be proving true. It might not matter to anyone else...this being in the front row for that speech, but it certainly matters to me. And so, if you haven't already taken my 100 requests seriously to read the "This Is Water" speech from Kenyon College Commencement, I highly recommend you do so now. Because Kris works for the CIA, and... well...


  1. I'd actually recommend this version over the WSJ adapted version. It's much closer to what I actually heard. :)

  2. That was wonderful and this wise old crazy lady tries to live my life everyday this way...
    "The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day."

  3. I've actually been obsessed with this commencement address as well. I can't believe Kris was there!

  4. I enjoyed this post. I would have killed to have been there as well.

    All the best,


  5. I read that as "I would have killed myself to have been there as well."


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