Why Gustavo Ditched His East Los Angeles College Commencement Speech (Hint: Because He's a Big Ol' Pendejo)

To quoth GOB Bluth: I've made a huge mistake.

Back in February,East Los Angeles College announced that they invited me to be their commencement speaker. I was thrilled because it's always an honor to give a commencement speech–and it was a juco, to boot, California's perpetually unloved higher ed track from which I originated (go Orange Coast College!)

I marked the date down on my calendar. I began writing and rewriting my speech, to make the most of my allotted five minutes. I got my suit dry-cleaned. I waited. And then yesterday, around 6 p.m., I received a very succinct email from an ELAC administrator: “Where are you?”


AW, CRAP. I had the graduation ceremony dotted down on my calendar as happening on June 6–and it was actually June 4. YESTERDAY. By then, it was too late to leave work–we were in the middle of closing our Summer Guide, and I had to be in the office for that–and I felt like the biggest pendejo in the world. I mean, I'm ALWAYS the biggest pendejo in the world, but I usually don't feel bad about it because I can almost always stand by my pendejadas. But standing up a bunch of students because I mixed up the dates? I feel horrible.

And, so: the apologies. I profusely apologize to everyone at East Los Angeles College for insulting you in this way–you deserve so much better. Perdóname, Profe Godinez, my fellow Chapman University alum, who recommended me as the commencement speaker in the first place. A big ol' 🙁 to the student on Twitter who asked a very simple question: “Donde estas, buey?” I throw myself at the mercy of this infernal rag and the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department at Cal State Fullerton, for being such an unworthy representative of our brands. I will be apologizing for this for the rest of my life, and I will never be able to live this mistake down.

I offer no excuses–I messed up, and that's that. The only other thing I'll add is that OF COURSE something like this would happen to me–I'm a nerd. This is as humiliating to me as the time in seventh grade at Sycamore Junior High when I ripped the loudest possible fart imaginable during reading time, or in Mrs. Stikeleather's English class in eighth grade, when my voice cracked during the finals of a speech tournament. In a couple of hundred years, when the Machines take over and my brain's being kept alive in some saline solution-filled jar, I will group the ELAC snub alongside such embarrassing, improbable, preventable, pendejo moments. Oh, joy!

Email: ga*******@oc******.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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