New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a man long known for his eagerness to talk into any available microphone, likes to give commencement speeches. According to The Wall Street Journal, Schumer has spoken at eight ceremonies this year, and he has a “standing invitation” to address the graduating classes of at least two schools whenever he wants. “Many schools receive requests from the senator’s staff about the timing and feasibility of his joining a particular ceremony, school officials said, though rarely with enough advance notice to put him on the program,” the WSJ reports. But while Schumer’s appearance is often a surprise, the content of his address usually isn’t.
You see, many years ago, Schumer was just finishing college himself. He was offered a scholarship to travel abroad, but he turned it down to hang out with his then girlfriend. Even people who haven’t heard the story can probably guess what happened next: She dumped him. “There I was: no scholarship, no trip around the world, no girl. I said to myself, ‘What a loser you are,’” he recalled this year at SUNY Binghamton, Hofstra University, and Stony Brook University, as well as at countless other colleges and universities in years past.
Schumer says that he likes the tale because it shows that “you can move forward and be successful in life when you’ve had setbacks.” However, it seems that the young people he tells it to are often more interested in whether he worked things out with the woman who broke his heart in 1971. “They say: ‘What happened to the girl? You didn’t get her, did you?’” He did not, but that’s okay: He got a story out of it, and now an opportunity to comment for a story about the story, and that’s what matters in the end.