This is water

Some commencement speeches earn the status of legend. One of those belongs to David Foster Wallace. He spoke at Kenyon College in 2005 (read it here). 

He starts with a story about two young fish swimming. An older fish asks, as they swim by, “how's the water?” After a pause, one young fish turns to the other and says, “what the hell is water?” His speech, deliberately not “grandly inspirational,” but urgent and honest, begs the graduates not to forfeit consciousness as they grow into their prosperous, respectable lives. Bluntly and earnestly, he argues that the authentic life is about attention: how you attend to life, and to other people; how you school your thoughts into worship of “some infinite thing” that matters; how to keep telling yourself “this is water, this is water.” 

Three years after giving this astonishing speech, Wallace committed suicide.  I don't know how, nor would I speculate about why, yet I can't help but wonder if he drowned.