Sunday, May 24, 2009

Graduation Day

Twenty years ago this month, I graduated high school (pictured below in the foreground).

However, many of the activities that my fellow seniors participated in, I wanted no part of. I was glad enough that I was finally finishing school and didn't feel the need for a hubbub to made of the occasion. I refused to get a senior pic taken. In early '89, when a graduation questionnaire was passed around in government class, I filled in the box stating that I would not be attending. I only really had one close friend in high school and the rest of the people, I could take or leave. I was also still quite shy at the time and had no desire to be photographed wearing a mortarboard and black dress. Getting a class ring? Forget about it.

I was more excited at the time to see "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", the first new Indy movie in half a decade. I understood that my social status in high school was mostly my own fault. A couple girls were interested in me in 7th and 8th grade, another in 9th, and still another in 11th. Though they showed obvious interest, I was unable to respond in kind. I'm sure this led a number to believe that I was a BattyBoy. In fact, I seem to recall, upon going to my 15th reunion, overhearing a female classmate making a comment about me attending with a female.

My grades in 7th to 10th grade were mostly shit. As a grade schooler, I was considered high potential, but the divorce of my parents led quite quickly to me losing interest in all academic matters. I stumbled onto good grades again by accident. In the 11th grade, I had a class with a history teacher named Mr. Krueger. He was a no-nonsense guy that only put on the chalkboard things that were going to be on the test. Without studying a whit, I got a test back and was suprised to see that I scored a C+. I got to thinking, "Damn, if I just put a little effort into things, I could be a B or who knows, maybe even an A student".

I proceeded to start taking my books home and really reading the material assigned as I listened to tapes by Genesis, Bobby Brown, and Richard Marx. It wasn't long before the A's and B's started coming in. I really began excelling at Kruger's tests, regularly scoring in the 90's. The positive reinforcement I got when the tests were handed back was worth all the studying.

Because I failed a couple classes in the 10th grade, I never had a study hall during my time in HS. I'd look at the people twiddling their thumbs, for the most part, in study hall and just shake my head.

Below is a pic taken from the second floor of the school (note the smokers on the lower right).

It felt awesome to be back at the top of my class again, just like in grade school. Despite the obvious pride I took in my grades, going to the graduation ceremony wasn't going to happen.

I'm not sure what I did that evening, but at least I'd alerted them that I wasn't attending. So it came as quite a surprise when my high school friend told me some time later that they actually did call my name that evening; after a few seconds passed, they went on to the next person.

Another reason why I didn't go was that it really was just for show, since the diploma wasn't given to the students anyway. I learned that they would be available at the school starting in mid-June. Since I didn't know how to drive at this point, I chose to bike, but not until the weather cooled a bit. It wasn't until July that I rode out there and picked it up. The secretary noted the lateness with which I was obtaining the certificate, but that was par for the course for me since I would be a virgin and not learn to drive until I was 23.


Rocketstar said...

yeah, the ceremony overrated as I am one that obhors pomp and circumstance. (Is that the right phrase?)

Timothy Smith said...

My daughter just graduated and is doing all the formal activities you skipped out on.

I am with you, I skipped my college graduation to see George Carlin at the casino in Red Wing. I don't really regret it.

When I was explaining this to my advisor he seemed stunned. I was in the National Honor Society, deans every semester and involved with student government so I was given all the cords and ribbons to show off at graduation but instead laughed my ass off to fart jokes at the casino.

Thomas said...

Rocket, you're right about pomp and circumstance. Too bad you spelled "abhors" wrong. :P

Tim, I can't say I really regret missing mine, either. I did go to my college ceremony 7 years later.

That's great you saw Carlin. I saw his last standup on HBO recently. There was a guy on HBO last night who I think you (and Rocket) might find funny. He's an atheist Aussie named Jim Jefferies.

Check out the first 10 minutes before HBO removes it for copyright infringement:

Timothy Smith said...

That special is on Netflix instant play so I will watch it.

If you don't use that on your TV Tom I highly recommend it.

I had to buy a "Roku" box for 99 bucks (since I don't have an XBox) but it streams the content to your TV.

It works so well I cut back my Netflix plan to 8.99 for one DVD. The online stuff is awesome.

I now have 200+ things in my instant play queue so its like having a whole DVD library attached to my TV.

Type in "Roku" on Amazon for a description, best money I have spent in a long time.

Thomas said...

Thanks for alerting me to the Roku, Tim. With that device, we're one step closer to not having to purchase physical DVD's (they can just be downloaded at any time).

Timothy Smith said...

Well the Roku does not have access to everything on Netflix but its a nice selection (and free). It works well but make sure you have a high speed connection for it.

Anonymous said...

I really hated high school, but I did end up participating in all those "senior year" activities. Went to the prom, had my picture taken, went to the ceremony...even the after party which ended up being totally lame.

Melvin Udall said...

I hated everything about education and school/college. I thought I knew it all already. It was some years later before I realized I did in fact know it all!!!

houstonmacbro said...

Okay, I can't get past the picture that your high school is on a LAKE!

Timothy Smith said...

lol, funny how our HS looks from the eyes of others.

You cant swim in that part of the lake, well I guess you could but its pretty nasty.