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Posts Tagged ‘graduation’

So, I am about to talk about something that many of you will disagree with, as a matter of fact, all of my readers may disagree with what I am about to say.  However, make no mistake, I am right, I am correct, and the rest of you are wrong.  You might even dislike me for the following words, but I am OK with that, because sometimes the truth hurts.

Yesterday, I spent about an hour at my son’s preschool graduation ceremony.  Guess what?  Preschool should NOT have a graduation ceremony.  What did he have to do to graduate?  Not pee in his pants?  Although it is awesome that he no longer pisses his pants, but diploma worthy?  I don’t think so.  How about coloring in between the lines?  Able to use a spoon and fork without assistance?  Oh, here is one, he grew.  That’s right, I present this diploma to you, my son, for growing.  Good job.

Do you know when a diploma is worthy?  When there is an actual chance that you may not succeed in earning one.  For example, not everyone graduates high school.  Not everyone has a bachelor’s degree.  I am on the edge with middle school, but I will allow it.  If you are reading this right now and you are a preschool dropout, my bad, but still, no diploma for you even if you decide to go back and work towards your missing credits in “Using the potty like a big boy 101”.  My older son verbally stated his disdain for such an event at dinner.  He was severely rebuked by his step-mom for such derogatory statements towards his brother’s moment, and rightfully so.  I will have to teach him how to support our family members and only speak poorly of their accomplishments in blog form.  And even then it is only OK when the family member can’t read, so I am OK.  Don’t worry, my oldest son will get to see the highlight reel when we rewatch the edited ceremony on DVD.  Editing provided by dad, cutting out the 50 minutes of useless drivel that I hat to sit through, but well within the fatherly duties.  To all of my buddies about to be dads in the near future, they didn’t put that in the daddy brochure, did they?  Welcome to a fraternity with very low standards and high expectations.

Was I happy for my son?  Of course I was and I hope my words made him feel very special, because he is special.  Was I proud?  Of course not!  Was I to be proud of his ability to sit in a chair, sing way too many stupid songs, and walk 10 feet to pick up a fake diploma without dropping it?  I just don’t get it.  Have we gone too far in the celebration of our kids and everything they do?  When does it end?  This is beyond everyone getting participation ribbons, this is raising the bar on mediocrity and everyone is a winner.

Also, the ceremony had a long-winded speech by the director.  Here is a little lesson for everyone that may one day be involved in planning a graduation ceremony.  Now, pay attention, and do not miss the following words.  NO ONE IS HERE FOR YOU!!!  Showcase my kid, and let me leave.  As a professor, I have been to my fair share of graduation ceremonies.  Here is what is necessary, 1. Welcome  2.  Thanks to Faculty and Staff  3.  Student Speaker (five-minute limit) 4.  An invited speaker, but only if the speaker is Oprah, a funny comedian like Chris Rock, the President of the United States, or a classical reading of ‘ Oh the Places You’ll Go’ by Dr. Seuss.  Otherwise, NO invited speaker.  No one cares. 5.  Reading of student names.  NOTE: If this process takes longer than 30 minutes, the graduating class should be divided up, period.  And that’s it, done.  I say the ceremony will last an hour, tops.  SIDE NOTE:  Did you know that I was the student speaker at my graduating ceremony?  True story.  I have no memory of what I talked about and that is how important it was.

Bottom line:  Preschool graduation is stupid.  There, I said it.  It’s not that my son does not deserve recognition, but it isn’t for attending a day care for four years.  You know what makes my son great?  He has no fear and will try anything and succeed in most things beyond his age.  He is well-behaved.  He has a personality that will OWN a room.  Have you ever been in a restaurant and seen everyone bend over backwards to please a four-year-old?  I have.  He will either grow up to be President or car salesman, right now it is a toss-up.  He is doing well with his numbers and letters.  He is kind and helpful.  His intelligence has no limit and he can hit a baseball two houses down.  I am willing to give him a medal in awesomeness, but as far as I am concern, he must wait until at least the end of 8th grade to get his first real diploma.

PS – If you will be attending a graduation ceremony in the near future, I dare you to tell me I am wrong about what needs and does not need to be in a graduation ceremony.

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I spent almost two hours watching a middle school talent show last week.  Again, not in the daddy brochure.  It was mostly brutal, but my son played violin in front of a crowd of about 200, maybe more.  He did great.  I could not be prouder of him and his accomplishment.  Forty-one kids tried out for the show, but only 17 were selected.  He was the best instrumentalist in the whole show.  Unfortunately, he did not win first place in the instrumental category.  Clearly, it’s all political.  I’m just sayin …

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So, you may not believe this, but I know Wisconsin’s Secretary of State, Doug La Follette.  I could call him to have lunch, and he would probably say yes.  You see that thing on the floor?  Yup, that’s a name and I just dropped it.  You see, I love name dropping.  I get to name drop so rarely that any time I get to state a relationship with someone of importance, power, or influence, I jump at the chance.  Trust me, the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is about as true as life gets.  And if you drop the right name at the right time, it is amazing what opportunities will open up for you that you never thought possible.

JJ, JT and some boob. Best Super Bowl Halftime EVER!

Depending on the venue will determine what names I am able to drop, and some names are more worthy of dropping than others.  I also never drop a name unless it makes sense to do so, and/or the situation requires it.  I don’t just walk into a room and say, “You know, Janet Jackson was at my high school graduation and heard me sing” – True story.  Now, if someone is telling a story about a famous person that was at their high school graduation, then I now have my ‘in’ to tell my Janet Jackson story.

So, today, when I was given the opportunity to drop a name, I was giddy as a school girl. About a week and half ago, my wife, Leah threw me a surprise birthday party.  Lots of people showed up, I was 95% surprised, and it was very cool.  And although I was not expecting any presents, I got a few.  One present was a gift card to one of my favorite restaurants, Tozinos.  Now it just so happens that the owners of this restaurant are my friends and are the ones that gave me the gift card.  They have several restaurant locations, and I drive close by one of them every weekend when I drop off and pick up my son from his mom.  Unfortunately, when I drive pass this restaurant it is either in the morning before it opens, or mid-afternoon and too early for dinner.  But, everytime I drive by when I am hungry, I almost always stop by to eat.  Today was one of those days.

I had just landed at Chicago O’Hare from Portland, Oregon.  I picked my son up from his mom’s house and was heading home.  I was starving.  I had my gift card in my car and was ready to get some pizza and broccoli salad, one of my favorite items from this restaurant’s buffet.  I handed the cashier my gift card and she attempted to swipe it.  It would not work.  She tried everything and the card would not register on her computer.  She finally told me “This is an invalid card.”  “Are you sure?”  I asked, thinking that this card is from the owner.  She finally said, “Sorry?”  And then she gave me a look as if to say, you got screwed, and said “Who gave you this card?”  “Perfect”, I thought.  I told her, “Who gave it to me?  Who gave it to me?  I will have you know that the very proprietor of this establishment bequeathed that card unto me.  The owners of this restaurant are personal friends of mine, and so you will show me some respect.  I will have you fired unless this matter isn’t resolved post-haste.”  I don’t know if I used those exact words, but it was something along those lines.  The cool thing about this situation was that the woman was clearly nervous, which I thought was awesome.

The woman talked to her supervisor, and then called the corporate office and left a message on my friend’s voicemail.  At this point, I’m thinking, I may have overplayed my “I know the owner” card.  Because at the end of the day, it really wasn’t a big deal.  I texted my friend, and he said that he would get the card fixed, but in the mean time, he gave me something far better than a gift card to a restaurant, he gave me a story.  And I love stories.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.  My son and I finished our meal.  Upon leaving, the cashier wanted to reassure me that she did everything possible to resolve the matter.  I told that she would get to keep her job, for now.  She kissed my ring and then we left.  All in all, the dining experience could not have gone any better.  Hmmm, who knows, maybe I will make a visit to the state capitol.

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My sister used to own a restaurant.  It is a good thing that I never lived anywhere near it.  Even when I visited the restaurant I didn’t expect to pay.  My thought was always, “Don’t you know who I am?  I’m your boss’ brother.  I’m your boss uncle.  I’m your buncle.  So fry me up some shrimp, or I’ll fire your behind!  I’m just sayin …

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