Perhaps Berkshire Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano has discovered the fountain of youth. This is certainly how I remember him from more than 15 years ago.


In any event, graduation (version 2.004) was yesterday. See articles in the Eagle and the Boston Herald.

Author and historian David Halberstam told Williams College graduates to “not live fearfully” at yesterday’s 215th commencement.

Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author and historian, told the 531 graduates they should not be afraid to take chances in their lives. He said it is OK to make mistakes and permissible to try something and fail.

I should find the full text of Halberstam’s speech before critiquing it too harshly, but this summary is hardly inspiring. I certainly voice similar sentiments to my team of second grade soccer players, but I would hope for more than that from a Williams commencement speaker.

The Eagle has more details.

He said that choosing the right line of work is the most important factor in future happiness.

No, no, no. A thousand times No. The most important factor in your future happiness is your spouse and, if you are lucky, your family. I wonder if Halberstam’s wife Jean and daughter appreciate being less important to his happiness than his work?

I think much better is Barbara Bush’s line, perhaps used at a Williams event at some point, that no one regrets, on her deathbed, having spent too little time at work. Too many people regret spending too little time with their family.

Work is, of course, important. Too many Ephs in the class of 2004 will make some bad choices in this regard. (It is almost certainly the case that too many will go to law school, for example.) But Halberstam is surely wrong to think that, for most of us, work is more important than family. At least I hope that he is wrong.

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