I find this Steven Rubio post rather touching.
I didn’t skip my high school graduation, though I did cross the stage with my shoes on my hands (loafers — easy to slip on and off). Needless to say, the vice-principal or whoever was on the other side refused to shake my enshoed hand. The previous year’s graduation had a rock band play (the band was made up of graduating students), and they played something extremely mellow like Buffalo Springfield, and people started to dance. People (meaning adults, meaning not us) got angry. So no rock band at graduation at Hopkins High School in 1989. Some of us talked about ways to protest the unnecessary soberness of the occasion and apparently the shoes on hands was part of that. Or maybe not. It’s a little fuzzy now. It must have seemed important at the time. There was a picture taken though I doubt I still have it.
Like Steven’s mom, my mom was pissed too. I remember she told me afterwards and I was surprised. I guess I’d worked up enough contempt for my high school as an institution at that point that it didn’t occur to my teenage mind that graduating from it would be a big a deal to her. Once I promised there would be no shoe antics, she did come to my college graduation (actually the college graduation was so big and alienating we did the Phi Beta Kappa honor society ceremony instead, because she was also Phi Beta Kappa back in the day), I marched and she seemed satisfied. That’s also the day that Carrie’s parents and my parents first met. They talked about cats. By then I’d figured out that the graduations are for the people in the audience, not the students.
Funny thing is, when I was teaching at Cal, I found myself enjoying graduations. I was always asked to read the students’ names, and after the ceremony, I’d wear my robes no matter how hot it was, so I could meet the various parents and tell them what a fine student Betty was (always seemed to impress the parents more if I was still dressed for the ceremony).
Dammit, I just lost my comment. Oh well, I’ll give you the digest version: Pomp and Circumstance must always be referred to as “Pomp and Circumcision” and must be played hungover. Also, you must always laugh like it’s the first time anyone’s ever made that joke, and then make it again: Pomp and Circumcision. Heh heh. I said “make it again.”
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