David Foster Wallace's Advice for Graduates

Chris Higgins
Vimeo / The Glossary
Vimeo / The Glossary / Vimeo / The Glossary

In 2005, David Foster Wallace gave the commencement address at Kenyon College. There's a transcript of his remarks and up top he says:

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?"

Over the course of his speech, DFW proceeds to explain the banal water of our American lives. What is water to a new graduate? This man knows. Video producers The Glossary put a portion of the audio from his speech to video, in this touching short film, the advice for living made all the more poignant by DFW's death in 2008. It's well worth your time, even if you're not a DFW fan in particular. Set aside ten minutes and watch:

THIS IS WATER - By David Foster Wallace from The Glossary on Vimeo.

This isn't the first time we've covered this commencement address at Kenyon. Our own Ransom Riggs (along with John Green) went to Kenyon, and wrote about his experience meeting the man in the late 90s.