Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I got your words of wisdom right here.

It's the end of May, and you know what that means: high school graduation.

When I graduated from high school, lo these 17 years ago, I was one of the speakers from my class. I know that I was supposed to speak for two minutes and only two minutes. I remember that I congratulated our golf team on winning the state championship the day before. And I vaguely remember some sort of "we're not all going to live next door to each other and have barbecues every Sunday" sort of comment. But other than that?

I don't remember much, other than being embarrassed that I was up there. Oh, and I had a hornet sting on my right palm. This meant that I couldn't shake anybody's hand and that I was doped to the gills on Benadryl. Good times.

But really, 17 years later, there's one thing I have really retained from high school graduation.

My umbrella.

This is not some sort of allegory about protecting yourself and making it through the rain - although that's a great Barry Manilow song. No, I'm talking about the actual physical umbrella that I received as a graduation gift.

I carried it in my backpack every single day of college. I only lost it once, leaving it in a classroom my freshman year. But because I attended a tiny little school that year, the umbrella was waiting patiently on the chalkboard ledge when I returned in hopes of retrieving it.

And now, that colorful but not outdated umbrella is in my car. The velcro on the little strap that holds it shut is long gone, as is the umbrella condom thing it came with. (Seriously - who puts their umbrella in a protective matching sheath after every use? Seriously.) But my colorful water repeller, she with the sturdy wooden handle and can-do attitude? Still kickin' it.

I truly think this is one of my greatest accomplishments since high school. And maybe someday I'll be asked to give a high school commencement speech and can show off my umbrella and discuss the importance of keeping your shit together.

Or maybe I'll skip the umbrella all together and instead spread the message about how going to college totally pays off. Because at college graduation? Instead of ham buns and sheet cake, there's beer.


mel said...

I had a big, tall drink last night actually. I let the buzz sweep over me and lamented college. I never realized just how simple and sweet life was back then.

Anonymous said...

When my boys graduate high school, I will totally encourage skipping the ceremony to do something fun like play paintball. I waterskied instead of sweating it out in a gym full of people I didn't particularly like.

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

YES! My umbrella was BY FAR the best graduation present I got! Mine was a lovely plaid thing from Eddie Bauer, and I got it from my math teacher. And it was wonderful.

(Until it broke. But my best friend got one, too, and I think hers still works. A *few* years later.)

I gave a speech at my graduation, and I'm embarrassed to say that I still have my notes saved somewhere. So dorky.

Sara said...

Why yes, I do still have the VHS of that graduation ceremony... :-)