What a Special Day

It's almost here.

You can practically smell the green presidents. The sweetest smell comes from the guy who wasn't even president.

Four years of high school. Several years of college (best not to count or people'll wonder what you were really doing at school).

Youíre sitting in the crowd of your fellow robed and capped students, each waiting for their name to be called, waiting for that diploma to be in hand, waiting to start that first job, waiting to spend that first paycheck, waiting to start the good life.

Ah, yes, the good life. Working at a job that will provide little real value to the world, moving up the ladder, doing less and less work, yet taking home a larger and larger paycheck.

The American Dreamówhat more could one ask for? What more is there in life? The trophy spouse you donít really love and the rebellious kids that make your life miserable while you lie about what treasures they are. And a house you canít afford to store them in in a neighborhood you donít like but tolerate to maintain the right appearances and contacts.

Man, you canít wait for this graduation to be over. College was all late nights studying, because the afternoons were spent flirting and the evenings playing. You look over at your neighbor, your former roommate, and next to him his "special someone."

You never had time for a special someone. You were too busy trying to get through school before everyone else with better grades than everyone else. Good grades will mean a lot more in ten years than any "relationships" you may have had. Besides, when youíre rich and successful, girlsíll come to you. Nothingís more attractive than a large cash flow and an unmortgaged house. A spouse is just for show and late night entertainment. Just like your car, youíll probably go through several in your life, hopefully trading up each time. If youíre rich and powerful enough, the new model will be a supermodel.

Why canít they hurry up and call your name. This graduation will never end. You just want to start you life. The last twenty something years donít count. Once you get your first job, you start all over. Day one. Fresh Slate and all that. Yeah, life doesnít begin until youíve entered the 9-to-5 rat raceóthe backbiting, the compromises, the scurrying to be first up the ladder. After all, the rat race is a real race and the first one wins. So why canít this graduation move along a little bit quicker? You know, if they got rid of those boring speeches, itíd go a lot quicker. Nobody listens to those things anyway. Speeches at graduation are nothing more than a chance for the best hoop jumpers to pat themselves on the back and pretend theyíve actually accomplished something. Let them have their moment. After they get into the real world, they start over just like anyone else, no matter how big their signing bonus may be, nor does the size of or view from their office window mean anything.

The real world. Oh, itíll be so much better than college. In college, you had to work hard and stay up late, working to impress professorsópeople who confuse their field for the complete meaning and purpose of existence.

Youíll never have to worry about that kind of attitude at work.

And in college you were stuck doing group projects with people you didnít pick at times that werenít convenient. And the slackers you had to make up for. The real worldíll be nothing like that.

Life is better out there away from the oppressive shelter of college. "Throw me to the wolves," you say. You can tem Ďem. Youíve got a college degree; youíre educated. You can do anything. At least you will be if this ceremony ever ends. Whatís taking so long?

You look around at your fellow candidates. Some of them are actually laying back. Relaxing. The train of lifeís passing them by. Simpletons. Take a moment to chuckle. Feels good, doesnít it.

You look behind you to see two people making out. Whatís on their minds?

You notice the row in front of you is getting back. Itís almost your turn. One small, insignificant step for man kind, but one giant leap for you. You are one of thousands graduating today.

What a special day.

©2003 Jeff Thomason