Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Who invented graduations and why do they hate people so much?

Filed under : Rants
On June 21, 2006
At 3:55 pm
Comments : 16

Two rants in a row. I am on a freaking roll! But see, this is really an appendix to the last one. Because the other thing to hate about summer, or pre-summer, is the glut of graduation ceremonies. But let me distinguish.

Graduation – a fine, fine thing
Graduation ceremony – torture that makes people envy the inmates at Abu Ghraib

I realize why graduations have to be long and speech-filled. Unlike a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, there is no actual ceremony. The second you hand in your last paper or, in the case of the high school and grade school graduations I just attended, take your last exam or attend your last class, bingo bango, it’s done. So they just sort of artificially inflate the moment to make it last longer.


Since they can’t do that, they have lots of speeches. Then they give each person their diploma while the rest of the class, as well as the people who love them but aren’t so sure anymore, cool their heels. Is this really efficient? Why not just hand over the rolled up scroll on the way in? Oh right, it might not seem like four or eight years was worth it if the ceremony was too short. You know how people say, “My whole wedding just went by in a blur – the time just flew?” Do you ever hear a graduate say that? So it’s not just me, the excruciatingly bored audience member, who feels this way.

And while I’m ranting, why are graduations called commencements? Sure, I get it, you’re beginning a new stage in your life. But have you ever heard of something that has two names, each of which has the exact opposite meaning?

But at least with college graduations there are often interesting speakers. At my graduation, there was a morning and an afternoon part. At one we had Brian Mulroney, then the prime minister of Canada (luckily I had been to enough hockey games to know all the words to “O Canada”) and at the other was Lee Iacoca. Lee Iacoca. You know you’re going to have an auspicious career in business when they get the guy responsible for the biggest bankruptcy ever to give you advice. This year they had Jon Stewart. Why didn’t I get Jon Stewart? I mean, he was hosting Remote Control on MTV back then and everything!

I guess it would have been too much to ask to have Jon speak at my niece’s grade school ceremony, wouldn’t it? Right. Thought so.

Simon & Garfunkel – Mrs. Robinson