News and Tribune


May 6, 2013

CUMMINS: Life begins at commencement


There I am at the end of 12 long years standing before the graduates. It’s commencement practice time, and they’re in a party mood. Congratulations, I’m so proud of you, and know you want a dignified ceremony where your friends and family can be proud of you, too. Tell them to refrain from shouting and jumping up and down when your name is called. To promote civility, we’re going to practice marching, sitting, standing and how to wear your tasseled cap, symbolic of acquired knowledge, that swings to and fro like your life will. I put a cap on to show them how to wear it flat, preventing the tassel from brushing their nose. 

Then we practice when to sit and stand, row by row, making it seem like they’ve learned how to follow directions. Now, the peak moment when your name is called, remember this, left over right. You take the all-important diploma in you left hand from my left hand and underneath it shake my right hand with your right. Let’s have the first row come up and practice this to make sure our hands aren’t confused. I’ve asked our band to come and play “Pomp and Circumstance,” which is not “Celebrate,” to help you march like committed soldiers do. Remember to keep 10, not nine, but 10 feet between you and the graduate in front of you. Think back to your math classes when you learned measuring. We want the focus on you, the individual within the herd. Good luck and God bless you, although I can’t say that at your graduation, because our constitution prevents the state (me) from establishing a religion for you. Let me leave you with this final thought; upon my proclaiming you duly graduated, do not use your cap as a Frisbee and sail it as a dangerous sharp-pointed missile up into the stands, possibly striking your mother in her eye.

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