by Edmund Janas

Opening scene: A young man (Brad) stands beaming in his cap and gown, diploma in hand, surrounded by his proud family. His grandmother rolls forward with a greeting card.

Grandma: “Here’s a little something from all of us, Brad. We’re so proud of you!”

Brad’s smile widens as he opens the card, eagerly reading. His face slowly falls into confusion and disbelief.

Voiceover: “Introducing Long-form Greeting Cards – where we hire real writers to pen heartfelt, uninhibited messages.”

Cut to a writer’s dimly-lit basement apartment. He’s unshaven, surrounded by candy wrappers and empty bottles, furiously scribbling away.

Writer (to himself): “Life’s a bitch and then you die. Is that too on the nose?”

Voiceover: “I finally get what Forrest Gump was trying to say about that box of chocolates thing. You really don’t know what you’ll get out of life.”

Back to Brad, looking mortified reading on. His parents lean in, concerned.

Dad: “What’s it say, son?”

Brad (stammering): “It says…you can try heading in a general direction, but ultimately, nobody knows where they’ll end up.” (his eyes widen) “Except maybe winding up dead in a ditch!”

The family gasps in collective shock. Mom snatches the card.

Mom (reading): “The first miracle is getting here. The second…surviving childhood?!” (she looks up bewildered) “What is this?!”

Cut to eccentric older writer, swigging whiskey while scribbling.

Writer 2: “The third miracle…somehow staying sane.” (she cackles) “Followed by the merciless onslaught of disappointment and existential dread!”

Back to graduation, the family is in total uproar. Grandma fans herself dramatically.

Grandma: “Lord have mercy!”

Dad grabs the card, reading in outrage.

Dad: “Because with all that, you could live a joyous life, and then some totally f**ked up shit still happens?!?”

Voiceover (calmly): “So, take it day by day…and don’t ever think you’re better than others.”

The camera pushes in on Brad’s fallen smile as his shoulders slump in realization.

Cut to hipster writer, nodding self-satisfied.

Hipster Writer: “Life has a funny way of sucker-punching arrogant a**holes square in the kisser.”

Brad hangs his head in dismay as his family erupts in scandalized shouts.

Voiceover: “Oh…Happy Graduation, I guess?”

The scene freeze-frames on Brad’s despondent expression as the classic SNL end cue hits.