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Walk! or, Won’t Someone Invite Drew Magary To Deliver A Commencement Address?

May 31, 2017

Nobody invited humorist and novelist Drew Magary to deliver a commencement address at their college or university this year. That’s a shame because his essay “Walk: A Message To The Class Of 2017” is by turns funny, profane, irreverent, serious, profound, and altogether more memorable, useful and, in its own way, important than the vast majority of graduation speeches.

Walking, Magary argues, is one of the best and most important things you can do for yourself, and you should therefore take advantage of every opportunity you have to walk:

Walk to a friend’s. Walk to the store. Walk your dog. Walk to work, if you have that particular luxury. Walk for cancer, because that’s a nice thing to walk for. Walk around aimlessly for no goddamn reason, even if it’s in an area you’ve walked around plenty of times already. The day changes. The people change. No two walks are alike. Walk when you have free time to walk, and make more free time to walk if you can. Fucking WALK. No need to run. Just walking will do. No matter what happens in the rest of the world, walking will take care of you.

It’s good for your health—physical (back, heart), emotional (it’s an anti-depressant) and mental (yep, walking stimulates brain health too).

It creates random good and happy and memorable events in a way that driving doesn’t.

I walked today. I walked past a school and saw a bunch of kids playing touch football and they accidentally launched the ball over the fence and into the road, where they couldn’t get it. So they asked me to grab it for them. I hucked it back over and one kid shouted “YOU DA REAL MVP!” And you know what? For that one little moment, I was, indeed, da real MVP. Step aside, Kevin Durant’s mom. I saved touch football. What did you ever do?

That kind of experience isn’t really possible when you’re sitting in a car.
(emphasis added)

And while most walks aren’t life-changing, some are. In fact, Magary argues, life-changing stuff is more likely to happen when you’re walking than when you’re doing anything else:

The most important moments in life usually happen when you’re walking. Ever ask someone you’re dying to go out with if they wanna go for a walk, and they say yes? It feels f****** GREAT. That’s gonna be a good walk. Then maybe you two walk down the aisle after you get married*, and then walk through the hospital to see your new baby in the nursery, and then walk with that child as it takes its first steps. And then maybe someone close to you dies, and you have to walk with their casket to their gravesite. I’ve made some of these walks. I haven’t forgotten any of them.

I hope Drew Magary keeps walking.  And I hope someday he gets to deliver this speech to an audience of graduates.

*And even after you first got engaged while going for a walk.

 

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