Sunday, May 31, 2009

It Was Thirty Years Ago Today (But I Don't Really Remember It)

Thirty years ago today I attended my high school graduation ceremony. I can't remember much about it. The event was sedate compared with that of the Class of '78 one year earlier, mainly because the administration threatened to withhold troublemakers' diplomas, and posted teachers close by to enforce the edict. We considered this an overreaction on the part of the administration. Viewed from a more mature perspective 30 years later, I still consider it an overreaction.

As they sat on the stage waiting for their diplomas, some spirited members of the Class of '78 tossed confetti and unfurled a banner large enough to be read by the whole audience. What it said, I forget, but it wasn't obscene -- I would have remembered that. Something celebratory no doubt, if not exactly standard school spirit. There may have been some noisemakers, too. I'm fairly sure no people were harmed nor property destroyed. On the scale of riotous behavior, the display ranked pretty low.

Apparently the administrators thought the event should be dignified, not celebratory. As a result, the graduation of the Class of '79 has largely evaporated from my memory. Then again, I hung out with friends later that day, and we must have been in a fairly good mood. But I don't remember anything about that, either, and not because it was a drunken revel. The most memorable events, it seems, aren't tied to any formal rites of passage.



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