The truth? Graduation's a real trick box for me.
I missed every one of my own except for 8th grade. I graduated high school early and college late (with free housing and tuition, wouldn't you?)
Both the Master's and the PhD ceremonies at the University of Illinois took place on Saturdays.
So over the years I've made it my business to go to these things when I could, make a presence in the school auditoriums, bleachers and gyms. True, it wasn't easy sitting through the many leaps into eternity, but having a pager (in the days before cell phones we had pagers) it was easy to excuse myself to find a phone.
Therapy docs can get pretty busy, especially when someone's giving a speech.
I love the costumes at these things, the robes, the tassels, the sashes, the ropes. I love the idea of 4,000 kids throwing their black caps into the air at the same time. I love seeing the college kids strutting and smiling, parents snapping pictures, getting it all on videotape. And there's the pride, the mutual sense of sacrifice (parents pay, pay, pay, for kids to learn, learn, learn). And the sheer press of humanity trying desperately to fill a football stadium or a basketball dome, knowing that without cell phones we'd all be separated in the throng forever (meet me at the top of the stairs outside to the left, past the turtle).
I love that the stadium is at capacity with people doing the right thing, suffering through the pomp and circumstance because their kids shouldn't have to go it alone. Nah, my parents couldn't make it. As children of a 2 working-parent household, my kids said that so many times. I came in late to so many school plays and I missed many, many things.
I love looking at the faces, mainly, and the clothes, the polyester, the silk, the leather, and the hair! The gray hair of the middle-aged juxtaposed against the long, jet black or brunette, blond locks of youth.
I just love the SCENE. I'm not even going to tell you how much I love a college campus, almost any college campus, and how red brick buildings drug me senselessly.
F.D., on the other hand, hates these things. We went to our son and daught-in-law's graduation at the University of Maryland yesterday.
"I hate these things," F.D. moaned.
D-I-L's mother: "I can think of a million things I'd rather be doing and should be doing. Can't you?"
But again, I usually don't sit through the whole thing. I get up, I make calls. I walk around the entire periphery of the building. I look for art work, plaques. I read names.
And afterwards I still get to see the kids laughing and smiling, smacking those high fives with their friends.
Sunday night I DID sit through the whole thing. I sat through the WHOLE thing and IT WAS DREADFUL. The speeches were really horrible. So, so boring, and the one speech that could have been good, the one about selflessness and leadership rubbed me wrong. How could he tell us how selfless he is? Is it selfless to say you're selfless? I don't know. All I could do was shake my head.
This brought up the inevitable question, Could you, TherapyDoc, do a better job? Could you give a decent commencement speech?
No, I thought, probably not.
Oh, heck. Why not give it a try? What have we got to lose?
It's almost finished, actually.
Copyright 2007, therapydoc