The more seasoned attendees of Dolezal Family graduation parties might know that one of the traditional themes of my speeches is a “roast”, during which I proceed to shrewdly lay waste to the past behaviors of my siblings through several pages of uncompromising text. However, during this event, I have opted out of the roast segment of my speech. Hannah is quite sensitive, and I wouldn’t want to make her go crying to her mommy. Now, the more astute among you may have realized that the previous statement was actually a mild roast in disguise, so let’s proceed to the next section…
Hannah Elizabeth Dolezal was born on May 13th,
1996, with a haunting smile and several obnoxious microscopic holes in her
heart. During ages zero through
four, Hannah served as her brother Ben's loyal companion and rag-doll. Playing in the side yard usually ended
with Hannah screaming bloody murder and Ben acting calm and vaguely confused,
muttering to himself in an unknown language. Video evidence of these events has recently surfaced, and
the footage is shocking.
Yes, those early years were dark and
traumatic, but a monumental and life-changing event was just around the bend…
On his deathbed, Albert Einstein prophesied,
"One day, there will be a young girl who will possess such incalculable
intelligence and creativity, those around her will be baffled and
frightened. You will identify this
marvelous youngster by her first name, which will be a palindrome, and by her
last name, which will be confusing and difficult to pronounce. She will suffer
from a rare medical defect known as Swiss Cheese Heart. This is the girl who shall be the recipient of my secret
invention, the Nuclear Fission Heart.
She will carry on my torch and become one of the most brilliant minds of
the 21st century."
On October 23, 2001, when Hannah was five, a
competent team of mad surgeons at the Milwaukee Children's Hospital attempted
to install the aforementioned nuclear heart into Hannah. I remember being on the edge of my seat
in the hospital with my family, hoping and praying that the operation would be
successful. Several soul-crushing
hours later, Hannah miraculously emerged…as a powerful cyborg that made Dick
Cheney look like a cowering rhesus monkey.
Since the surgery, Hannah has been a lot
tougher. From that point on, she
was able to keep up with Ben during all of their activities. The arbitrary crying fits that plagued
her formative years were a thing of the past. She had conquered death, and it was time to live.
As Hannah grew up, I first noticed her
talents and intelligence through her good sense of humor, which was dark,
witty, sarcastic, satirical, obscene, hyperbolic, self-deprecating, and laced
with relevant cultural critiques.
And this was when she was seven years old.
Around that time, I left for college, and
Hannah continued blossoming into a lovely young woman. I often introduced her to new and old
music when I visited. By the time
I returned, Hannah was 12, and smart as a whip, just as Einstein had
predicted. She was reading and
writing constantly, thriving off of her endless supply of curiosity…as well as
We went on many adventures during the
subsequent years, and had many good times that usually included eating
delicious vegetarian food, listening to music, discussing philosophical,
sociological and cultural issues, and drinking coffee. Once, when Hannah was 15, I was somehow
conned into letting her drive me to the coffee shop. Little did I know, it was one of the first times she had
ever operated an automobile. As
one might expect, she parked behind another car and proceeded to slam her foot
down onto the gas pedal instead of the break. Luckily, the car was already in park. Sometimes, while driving to the coffee
shop, a song comes on, and Hannah says, "Hey, this reminds me of your
life!" She then proceeds to
chronicle stories from our past that occurred when we first used to listen to
that specific music on a regular basis.
In fact, many of the times we've shared have been accentuated by a vast
arsenal of music, which has become the soundtrack to our lives.
Now…some of you
might think the fictitious section of this speech, or the “Tale of the Nuclear
Heart”, was a bit strange. Let me
explain the metaphor: To me, Hannah is a superhero. She has special gifts, she is often mysterious – lurking in
the shadows of her room – and she routinely rescues us…from boredom.
Soon, Hannah will be crossing the border of
Wisconsin, into the treacherous land of Minnesota, enthusiastic and naive, like
a deer crossing the highway, in search of greener pastures.
I’ll miss you, sister, and I wish you the
best of luck.