Commencement at C:\Online College

Good afternoon, my fellow digerati. Thank you for logging on today, the culmination of your academic career. As dean of Distance Learning, I have had the pleasure of guiding you the past four years through the wilderness of MUDs and MOOs. I have been, as it were, an omnipresent lurker, ever in the background, waiting to assist you.

I have enjoyed my stay with you, watching you progress in the various disciplines that C:\Online College has to offer. I have seen you master the BASIC foreign languages, from ALGOL to COBOL even as you have become more proficient in your own language, perfecting spellcheck, grammarcheck, wordcountcheck, and thesauruscheck.

I have been a fly on the wallpaper, so to type, sympathizing with you as you struggled with the complexities of higher math, the gutters, cell heights and widths, and, oh, those gridlines, consoling you when your system crashed in the middle of downloading some other student's research paper and your fingertips bled from pounding Ctrl+Z, and, yes, I have had to monitor you sometimes when I thought you were staying up too late on the chat lines. Occasionally, I have even had TO RAISE MY VOICE when the conversation got out of line. But that's what distance learning deans are for.

And now we are e-mailing you out so that you can get a byte of the real world, the real virtual world, that is. I hope we have taught you enough so that you will avoid any catastrophic headers in life and that your footers will always be planted firmly on the ground. As you .ZIP along the path of life, always remember our motto: "Life has no beta test."

If I may add my own little bit of homemade wisdom to boot, remember that, when the going gets tough, the tough Abort, Retry, Fail, Ignore. I wish you prompt success, health, and happiness, a life filled with all the luxuries cache (Alt+Backspace) cash can buy.

Take the fax, uh, sorry (DEL), facts you have learned with us and embed them in your expanded memory. Maximize the possibilities life offers you and choose wisely from its varied menu. And if ever the world becomes user-hostile and you are filled with FUD, remember me, and just YELL for Help. ;-)<g>{{{{{{}}}}}}:-D Alt+X.

* John J. Byrne is dean of the Evening and Weekend College at Bronx Community College in New York.

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