Podunk Meets Paradise

Musings from Central Idaho

Archive for the tag “graduation”

Mixed Messages

A few days ago I chronicled Her Royal Highness’s graduation ceremony. But wait, there’s more.

After graduation is over, the seniors get whisked off to an all-night “party.” By party, I mean a lock-down situation for graduates only and their chaperoning parents that is intended to keep the kids from really partying. Now before you get all excited and turn me into PETA or something, let me state for the record that I am very much in favor of giving kids an alternative activity to do so they don’t resort to having toga parties at the lake and driving themselves off the side of a mountain. I get it.

But I’m afraid we sent the kids a mixed message.

When Iron Chef and I showed up for the 1:30 – 3:30 a.m. chaperone shift, the thrill was already gone for most of the small class of 2015 assembled. This in spite of the fact that a lot of hard working parents knocked themselves out to have a non-stop line-up of activities, as well as cash and prizes, to keep the graduates at the appropriately named Senior Sober.

Unfortunately, the activities included: Jell-o wrestling, poker, karaoke, and mechanical bull riding — all leisure sports invented with alcohol in mind.

Jello wrestling was invented to keep Daytona Beach from getting boring during college spring break.

Jello wrestling was invented to keep Daytona Beach from getting boring during college spring break.

Have you ever gone to Las Vegas' alcohol-free, smoke-free casinos? There's a reason.

Have you ever gone to Las Vegas’ alcohol-free, smoke-free casinos? Hmm.

They are called karaoke BARS for a reason.

They are called karaoke BARS for a reason.

No one rides the mechanical bull at the beginning of the night.

No one rides the mechanical bull at the beginning of the night.

To the kids’ credit, they sang “Livin’ on a Prayer,” stone cold sober. They monkeyed around on the bull. They played a few hands of five card stud. And they had the common sense to know that no one gets in a kiddie pool of Jello without being in a seriously altered state.

Our work here is done.

Her Royal Highness Graduates from Podunk High

I have a bona fide Podunk moment to share: Her Royal Highness is now a high school graduate. Iron Chef and I could not be more proud of this little she-devil valedictorian. Our Podunk family came to town, and we all cozied up on the Podunk High School bleachers for a cramped, but meaningful graduation ceremony. HRH’s speech as valedictorian was surprisingly appropriate, touching, and blissfully short as the gym temperature started to rise and deodorant products started to fail.

Her Royal Highness rocks graduation 2015.

Her Royal Highness rocks graduation 2015.

But then things started to get truly dicey. The commencement speaker, a 1985 Podunk High alum, was a complete and utter jackwagon. Because I know at least a few of my gentle readers believe that I am prone to exaggeration, I will now quote from Podunk’s newspaper of record, The Weekly Disappointment.

“[Jackwagon] told the class very personal memories, one was becoming a father in the 8th grade…[Jackwagon] continued to talk for quite a while, approximately 45 minutes of speech. He touched on all parts of his life and troubles he had and conquered. Many in the audience proceeded outside while [Jackwagon] continued to speak. He was even slipped a note to wrap up his speech and the gymnasium was becoming very hot.

Cheers were given to [Jackwagon] for concluding his speech and to [Her Royal Highness] for starting the senior slideshow.”

What the roving reporter failed to mention was the mayhem being caused in our 3′ x 5′ sauna bleacher box. Jackwagon’s speech went wrong for several reasons: 1) Jackwagon was under the impression that the soon-to-be high school graduates had the attention span to follow a 45-minute speech about nothing, 2) Jackwagon was under the impression that anyone in the audience cared what his 1985 wrestling record was, and 3) Jackwagon thought describing health ailments at a high school graduation would be as popular as describing health ailments over a lunch of pureed minute rice at a nursing home.

Good behavior in the audience started to erode after about 7 minutes of Jackwagon’s speech. Our sauna box section was no exception. My mother, the Notorious Babs, was part of a movement of people who tried offering a standing ovation to the speaker whenever he paused in an attempt to get him to quit. When he didn’t, Babs led the choir of “Oh No’s!” Not at all under their breath, by the way. My dad, Big L, was exhibiting uncommonly good behavior, until deep into a conversation about kidney ailments, Jackwagon brought one chapter of his endless story to conclusion by announcing a woman had very selflessly given him one of her kidneys to prolong his life. “I’d like to get my hands on her,” Big L burst out, Turret’s syndrome style.

The speech was an epic fail, without question. The muscle-headed speaker turned out to be not just an awful bore, but had also recently been charged with peddling steroids. We all got hot and crabby. But in retrospect, 45 minutes of nonsense is a small price to pay for the community bonding Podunk had an opportunity to experience at graduation. This was the kind of shared experience that usually requires a tornado, flood, or some sort of business that requires an insurance claim. Or the last episode of Seinfeld.

All in all, we got off easy. Congratulations, Royal Highness!

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