Tag Archive | graduation

Hey, Graduates, Do Something Cool

Go forth, Graduates, and do something cool.  Do something no one else has ever done. Do something that adds to the goodness of this ragged old world of ours.  Surely you can think of something to do that no one else has done.


Close up of a graduation cap and a certificate with a ribbon

You can’t split the atom, because I’m pretty sure that’s been done.  Plus, I think you need a license and a PhD in physics, graduate students, and a laboratory.

But don’t be discouraged because there are things you can do without more schooling or a license from the state.

How about this:

Explain to the world what the lyrics to Some Nights by Fun. mean.  Because nobody understands that shit. What does it mean to have lips building a castle? I have no idea.  Go figure it out and report back.  Come back to me and “jack my style” (after you explain what that means).

See? It’s easy.

Pick something good.

Teach the world how to tell the difference between Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman.  Pick a video that’s gone viral and trace how something as stupid as a contrived video of kids telling their mothers they don’t suck went around the globe 80 times.

Add to the rich bounty of scholarship and journalism and entertainment, the stuff that makes this country great.

Aim high, trust your gut, reach for the stars.  Then sit down and do a video log that explains why children insist on sleeping in on the one day you have to wake them up and race to the airport.  Give me a good explanation about why Kathie Lee Gifford is a thing or why it’s so fucking impossible for a juice box straw to stay attached to the damn box.  Then invent the glue that will make that straw stay the fuck put.

Don’t just hide in your parents’ basement waiting for the economy to bounce back.  Make an app.  Create one that can tell the future– like what’s the exact date that my children will learn how to actually look for something they lost instead of wandering, glossy-eyed and unfocused, in a damn circle claiming, “I can’t find it!”

Write a book about a werewolf who time travels with a bow and arrow.  Then write the sequel.  Invent a pet that doesn’t shit. Or have hair.  Knit a blanket that will cover the hole in the ozone layer.  Outline a plan for peace in the Middle East.  Clean the Great Barrier Reef.  Clean your room, your fingernails.

It’s your life.  Do something grand.  Start today.  The future awaits you.





Whither Preschool Graduation?

I’ve been laughing at with people on Facebook for years. For lots of different reasons.  It’s been extra hilarious to laugh at my friends posting pictures of their children’s preschool and kindergarten “graduations.”  Because ha ha ha how ree-dick is it to ceremonialize these moments?

Image credit: www.zazzle.co.uk

Image credit: www.zazzle.co.uk

As recently as March, I was snickering at someone who was waxing philosophically about the transition from junior kindergarten to senior kindergarten.

But now I am not laughing.  I’m holding a fully charged video camera and an iPhone desperate for some Instagrams of my own graduate and there’s nothing to take a picture of.

My first year as a parent to a school-aged child is winding down, so based on my reality which is shaped by Facebook and Twitter, I assumed I should prepare for some pomp and some circumstance.  I was rolling my eyes thinking about it, but I was prepping emotionally for the end-of-year festivities.

Turns out that not much is happening for my three-year old who is graduating from her first year of preschool.  Her school is acting like it’s no big deal to move from a three-year-old classroom to a four-year-old classroom.  What the what?  There’s no certificate, no ceremony, no nada.  There’s not even a sheet cake from Costco.  Tomorrow I’ll pick her up and we’ll go home for the summer.


What was the point? Why did we bother showing up day after day if the end of the year was never going to culminate in a giant trophy or a crown or something ceramic?

To be fair, there was a preschool night a few weeks ago that allowed us to oooh and ahhh over Sadie’s extensive “portfolio,” consisting of leaves gathered in the fall, pictures colored around the holidays, and flowers painted this spring.  I confess there was a slide show.  When they turned out the lights, I clutched a tissue, ready to catch the tears that would fall for my grief about the inevitable passage of time.  Unfortunately, I never needed the tissue because I was too busy trying to find Sadie in the pictures.  I damn near suffered an aneurism from all the squinting.

That was a nice evening of celebration, but it wasn’t a graduation.

This year, I’m not going to get to post that triumphant picture of myself with my little graduate.  I’m going to have to wait until she’s four or even FIVE (gasp!) to have those iconic moments.

To ease the pain, I’m buying my own 3-foot by 4-foot sheet cake to celebrate.  The inscription? Congratulations, Graduate.

(You know what I really wanted to call this post? Where the fuck is my preschool graduation?  I didn’t because I am trying not to cuss and clean-mouth living is starting to gain traction.)

To The Class of 2012: Outlaw Mama’s Commencement Speech

For this post, we can thank Mammalingo for the inspiration. She is the master at finding insight and wisdom in the quotidian aspects of life.  Last week, she reminded us what is best about this time of year: Graduation speeches.

So naturally, I have been thinking about what I would say to the graduating class of 2012.  While it’s unlikely that the University of Chicago is going to be scrambling for a speaker in the next few weeks, you never know. I want to be prepared, because what happens if Jenny McCarthy gets tied up doing her autism outreach work and bails on her speech? Maybe they will try to get Cindy Crawford’s mom from Dekalb, Illinois to come and tell everyone how to parlay a mole on your cheek into a modeling fortune. Or maybe they will call me.

So, here’s my speech.

Class of 2012

Class of 2012


I am going to tell it to you straight.  You are probably not going to get a job any time soon.  I am not an economist, nor do I read the magazine (or is it a newspaper?) by the same name.  But I do read headlines on my Yahoo page, and it doesn’t look good for you, dear Millennials. I don’t know what to say about that, except, with all of your free time maybe you could write a letter of disapproval to Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan. It can’t hurt to practice writing a professional letter, and he’s a perfectly decent object of rage.

When you are sitting in your old bedroom at your parents’ house, surrounded by your homecoming mum from 2007 and wondering what will become of you, it’s going to be important to do something productive with your time.  Do yourself a favor: stay off Pinterest.  If you do nothing else with the next six years of your life, please just do not spend your time lusting after your friends’ pins, which depict beautiful houses and flawless stiletto heels and glorious vacation destinations.  When you stare at Pinterest images of mono-chromatic kitchens and floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and then look around your parents’ outdated kitchen and your mom’s collection of praying monk statues, you are going to be depressed.  Maybe suicidal.  And you probably won’t be going on a faboo vacation for a decade or more, so why torture yourself with idealized images of Bora Bora or remote temples in Vietnam?  Step away from the Pinterest and follow your doctor’s prescription for your antidepressants.

But, what should you do with your time until you land that cushy free internship with your dad’s best friend who runs a paper packaging plant that is best known for OSHA violations and severed limbs?

Surely each of you knows families with young children, right? Maybe your neighbors or your siblings or your favorite librarian has some small children who still need adult supervision.  Why don’t you hone your babysitting skills?   Make yourself useful.  If you can’t think of anyone you know that has children, go to your nearest park and befriend some parents who look really tired.  Tell them you are a college graduate and are looking for some experience babysitting.  If you are really bored take a CPR class at your local CPR class provider.  Learn to change a diaper.  Educate yourself on the importance of BPA-free products and organic baby food.  You have nothing but time and parents with small children may be willing to pay you for it.  You should know that the going rate is about $6.00 (fn1) per hour (regardless of the number of children), and you might enjoy it so much that you could offer to do it for free.

You will have plenty of time to get a “real job,” and then have your own children, at which point, you too will be scrambling around to find someone else to take care of them all the time on occasion. Until then, try to shake off that image that you are all a bunch of entitled D-bags by babysitting the children of Generation X.  Make Tom Brokow regret that he didn’t save The Greatest Generation title for his book about you.

fn 1: Of course babysitters charge exponentially more than this, but if graduates don’t do their research to learn the true market rate, they don’t deserve to earn it.  Just saying.