* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where the graduates of today are the leaders of tomorrow...um, except where time travel is involved, because that always makes everything complicated and confusing. Just ask Nathan Thornton.

Commencement Remarks From Dr. Chronos, Time-Traveling High School Graduation Speaker

By:
nrthornton@gmail.com

Congratulations, Class of…looks like sometime in the 1990s?…No? 2014? That’s fine. There’s virtually no difference.

Thank you for that warm and generous introduction, Principal Whidmer! And let’s have a hand for Principal Whidmer, who is celebrating his eighth year of leadership, out of a total of 12, when he resigns in disgrace, under investigation for illegal cockfighting before becoming horribly maimed shortly thereafter in a Cheesecake Factory bar fight.

As your principal mentioned, I am Dr. Chronos! Whom you all know from my many journeys into the very bowels of time!

Today I’m here to tell you that no matter how crazy or unrealistic they might be, you must always follow your dreams. It wasn’t that long ago, I was sitting right where you are. That’s right, I was once a student here myself, Class of 2078! Can I hear a “Go Fighting Indians!”? In the future, we aren’t called the “Fighting Indians,” of course — we’re the “Fighting Space Indians.” You see? Some things never change all that much!

Maybe you dream of becoming a famous astronaut, ready to cower in shame at the might of the powerful Tsyll’nl Armada. Or the President of the United States, bowing in terrified reverence before Ulgrakk the Destroyer. Or of one day visiting South America (not Europe, Asia, or 80% of the land mass of Africa, obviously). All you’ve got to do is believe in yourself.

Do you think I listened to the naysayers when they told me I’d never invent time travel? No. I believed in myself. Did I give in to the doubters when Chronosphere 1 exploded on the launch pad? Never! Did I pay attention to the so-called experts who told me to line the inner shell of Chronosphere 2 with a thin film of tungsten to protect myself against Time Madness? Of course not!

I should’ve, though.

But you can’t change the past. Or the future. Especially when clots of Time Madness cloud every synapse of your brain, rendering you unable to tell one from the other.

That doesn’t mean you won’t become a famous basketball player simply because the rise of the Dunkmotrons make human players obsolete in 2029. And it doesn’t mean you’ll never defeat Santa Anna at the Alamo, or watch a dinosaur making out with a robot, or assassinate President John F. Kennedy, or invent fire, or whatever your dream may be. I’m here to tell you that anything’s possible. Except inventing time travel. That job is taken.

I look around this auditorium today and I see all your friends and loved ones, here to tell you to follow your passion, but please, I beg of you, don’t do it. The chemicals in passion cause type 12 diabetes. But dreams, my young friends! Dreams are what make time travel possible. As you may well know, Chronosphere 2 is powered by the stolen dreams of orphans and prisoners. Orphans and prisoners have some pretty big dreams, and I’ll bet many of you do, too.

So when you pass through the hallowed halls where you’ve spent the last four long years… The last four long years, I said. Those seemingly endless four years? Such a loooong period of time. Nothing on this? Okay.

When you leave this auditorium today, do so knowing that you will be walking into a future that is bright with promise. Perhaps today, you’re the senior class president. And perhaps one day you’ll be the president of a Fortune 500 company! You won’t, Emma, but you will help cook and kill the last living giraffe! And they’ll let you keep some of it after you help wash up!

And you, Cayden! Today you’re the star running back, with dreams of blasting off to the stars. And you sort of will! Parts of you, anyway. And not the parts you’d expect!

Maybe you’re our valedictorian, with dreams of a physics degree from Pepperdine University! And accomplishing that dream in just four years, even after getting your girlfriend Madeline pregnant sophomore year. And maybe you dream of raising a child who will raise his own son to share your love of science and not be the kind of dick scientist who repeatedly tells his colleagues that time travel is “for pussies.” Well, Tyler, I’m here to tell you that that least a portion of those dreams will indeed become a reality.

Because students, it is you who are our future. Wait a minute, that’s not right. If there’s anybody here who’s the future, it’d be me, right? Were any of you guys born in or after 2050? No? Just me?

Class of This Current Year, if you recall just one thing from the words I’ve just spoken or am about to speak, I hope it’s this: Nothing is impossible, except changing the past or the future. So keep following your dreams, except for most of you.

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we try not to eat anything with a face. No, really, not even those potato chips with the face of Jesus. If following this life path seems too stringent to you, let Nathan Thornton explain how easy it can be.

Becoming Flexitarian: A Beginner’s Guide to Semi-Vegetarianism

By:
nrthornton@gmail.com

Trying not to eat that much meat: it’s not for everybody. After all, people have been eating meat since Fred Flintstone times (the brontosaurus burger, when that rack of ribs flipped over his car) through old-timey king times (huge crazy turkey legs, an ox) right up until today (those buffalo wings Dana’s boyfriend always brings, other kinds of meat).

But with all of today’s top “health trends” and “bumper stickers that say things like ‘If You Love Animals, Don’t Eat Them'” it might be the right time to consider flexitarianism. It’s a very personal choice, and not a decision to be made lightly. Flexitarianism is a life-changing lifestyle that has the potential to change your life. So before embarking on this bold and exciting journey, consult with your family, your family physician, your secret family in another part of the country and whatever doctor you see there. Then kiss your old life (and your former meat-intake level) au revoir! (this is a common French expression many flexitarians use that means “See you next time, amount of meat I used to eat!”).

What does it mean to be a flexitarian, you ask? We’ve used that word a bunch of times already, so it’s a little annoying that you’re just now asking. But it’s when you only eat meat sometimes and it’s the perfect way to combine the smug, self-satisfied feeling you get from not eating meat with the smug, self-satisfied feeling you get from eating meat and it’s so simple we can’t believe you’re not already doing it.

Benefits of a Flexitarian Diet:

It’s good for your heart. People who don’t eat meat very often sometimes have an enhanced capacity to feel love.

It’s good for animals. Many animals will feel more relaxed around you when they don’t think you’re going to freak out and start eating them.

It’s good for the environment. Look around you. What do you see? Massive piles of meat bones everywhere, right? As a flexitarian, you’ll have way less of those. Plus, it seems good for the environment.

It builds stronger friendships. You know how when you’re hanging out with your friends, you never have anything interesting to say? Imagine the excited looks of interestedness you’ll see when you tell them you’re trying to become a flexitarian!

It can give you the ability to pass through solid objects.
We got an email from a reader who told us just that. His name was papaboner6969, and we’re still in the process of verifying it, but it’s an incredible testament to the power of flexitarianism!

Common Questions about Identifying Meat and Trying not to Eat that Much of It:

Is this meat? One of the first things you need to consider is whether something is meat or not. So, does it taste like meat? Oh no, you just ate meat! You should have figured out whether it smelled like meat first. It’s a common rookie flexitarian mistake. Okay, today’s a wash. You’ll be more flexitarian tomorrow, probably.

Seriously though, is this meat? Great follow-up question. Sometimes something can seem like meat and not even be meat. See how much you’ve already learned and grown as you’re following your flexitarian path? It’s true, this can be a confusing conundrum for new flexitarians. Here’s a tip: a lot of times, meat is brown. This is called red meat, and it’s one of the kinds of meat that flexitarians will want to be pretty careful about. A quick word of warning: Potatoes are also brown. However, they are not meat – they are a completely different kind of food. Although it seems like you should already know what a potato looks like. Why are you making this so hard for us?

How much meat should I eat? Hoo boy. We were afraid of this one. Think of it this way: Do you ever watch that thing on the Fourth of July where that guy eats like 100 hot dogs in a minute? Seems like way too much, doesn’t it? Or think about a Buddhist monk who eats one grain of rice a week. You shouldn’t have to be that severe, should you? “Flexitarian” doesn’t have to mean “flexible.” Or actually, that’s probably exactly where the word comes from, if you think about it. Huh.

When should I not eat meat? This is the best question. We’ve all been waiting for you to ask it because that’s the easiest part — there’s never a wrong time to not eat meat. Or to eat it! Think about this: You already sleep at least 12 hours a night, right? And you hardly ever eat any meat during that time, do you? So you’re already halfway there! Now you only have to find a few more times during the day to not eat meat. Popular times include: while showering, tooth-brushing, eating ice cream or corn, dinner with the Patels, doctor’s office visit, and while singing along with your favorite song on the radio. And if we didn’t already mention showering, then showering. If you’re looking for even more opportunities to avoid eating meat, just take longer showers. After that, you can eat meat whenever you want! Congratulations. See how different the world looks through flexitarian eyes.

What should I eat instead of meat? Doesn’t matter.

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