Friday, June 20, 2014

Rant #1,232: The Time Has Come

Sunday is the day that my wife and I have been anticipating for a long time.

Our son finally graduates high school.

The long-awaited day will be preceded by a party on Saturday, and right after that, my son and I have tickets to a WWE house show at Nassau Coliseum.

So it is shaping up to be one busy weekend.

Our son has accomplished a lot during his schooling. I remember when he could not hold a writing instrument the correct way to write out his name.

He holds it correctly now, but his handwriting is even worse than mine, which means it is pretty bad.

But he has made other strides during his schooling, and now he is ready for the world.

I don't really know if the world is ready for him, though.

Whatever the case, we are very proud of him for his accomplishments, and his graduation should really be something to remember, a final memory of his high school days.

As an aside, I remember my own high school graduation pretty vividly.

And I have to say it is a memory I would prefer to forget.

It was 1975, the height of the anti-authority age, and long hair and drugs were in, any link to the norm was out.

We had our graduation on the football field of my high school, so anybody could attend the event, and there were no tickets. Guests simply sat in the bleachers.

It was a hot day, and the graduates, of course, had to wear their caps and gowns. I know for a fact that most of the kids wore shorts, cutoffs, bikinis, what have you, under their caps and gowns, because it was so hot, and again, this was the anti-authority age, so there were few suits and ties underneath the finery.

As we sat there as speaker after speaker came up to the podium to say not much of anything, a bottle of Jack Daniels was being passed around among the graduates, with probably about half the graduating class taking a swig.

I didn't drink then and I don't drink now, so I wasn't one of those people. When it came to me, I just passed it on.

Some of the graduates were also smoking pot, because it stenched the air.

On top of that, some of the graduates--and others in the crowd--decided that this was the perfect time to throw firecrackers and cherry bombs, and they did just that.

I remember the principal got up to the podium and warned us that if we did not behave, the graduation would be canceled right then and there.

He was right to tell us this--it was very embarrassing--but few listened, and the explosions and pot and drinking continued.

Somehow, we got through it all, were given our diploma cases--we had the ultimate indignity to have to return to the school during the week to pick up our actual diplomas--and that was that.

But we were also warned prior to the graduation not to throw our caps into the air when the graduation was over, because it could cause problems.

Of course, few listened, and when the graduation was over, hundreds of caps were thrown in the air.

A kid I knew, who had not thrown a cap, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the edge of a falling cap, which was exposed and acted as a jagged edge, firmly planted itself in his cheek, and blood poured out of his face as we all left the field.

His panicked look is also something I will never forget. I don't remember what happened to him that day, but I still remember the blood pouring out of his cheek.

All of this seemed to be a fitting end for my run at the school, four years of horror that I very few fond memories of.

Happily, my college graduation four years later was much, much better, but I won't ever forget my high school graduation.

I know that my son will have a much better graduation than I did, and let me tell you, he deserves a great day. He has worked hard to get to this point, and he deserves the best of the best.

Have a great weekend. I know that my wife and I and our family will.

And my son will too.

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