Graduations really are a funny enterprise– it’s one of those cases where the liturgical origins of the educational system shows through. And then, of course, there’s the odd milieu of folks talking themselves very seriously while wearing silly clothes. Whenever I attend a commencement, I’m never sure if I enjoy the anachronistic, tradition-oriented solemnity of the occasion, or want to be a contrarian who shakes off the vestments of the past and lightens things up a bit. I guess that’s just my nature: I tend to want to inject modernity into stuffy, antiquated systems, but also encourage tradition as a means of keeping in touch with the past if things get too sterile or avant-garde.
At any institution’s commencement, whether high school, college, or university, they can really fill the hours, regardless of the number of graduates! If there are two hundred or two thousand graduates, you’re in for a couple hours of sitting, plus arriving one hour to forty-five minutes early to get a seat, as it can get pretty frantic if you wait too long and would like all of your family members to sit within reasonable proximity to one another.
So, my grandparents have, as the comic indicates, been to a ton of graduations. There’s a lot of bachelor’s degrees amongst the grandkids, but my estimate leaves out possible attendance to the graduations of their siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and family friends, as well as events involving degrees earned by children-in-laws or grand-spouses. And there’s more to come! There are some cousins to graduate high school yet, and we’re only ten years away from the high school graduation of the oldest great-grandchild!
As if they weren’t classy enough for enduring the perpetual ceremonies of family, they also never complain about it, no matter how hot the gymnasium, how hard the seats, or how unstructured the various speeches are! The closest they might get is a quiet observation, when all is said and done, that “those speakers sure could talk”, but I might have even made that up.