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Advice for guys in hats, dresses: You’re right, you look stupid

SHARE Advice for guys in hats, dresses: You’re right, you look stupid

Wow! Am I ever glad summer is here so I can (finally) stop watching my children graduate. Since the end of May, I have attended the following ceremonies:

1. My son's graduation from intermediate school.2. My other son's graduation from the sixth grade.

3. Still another son's graduation from preschool.

In each case, my sons were required to wear nice clean clothes, listen to some wise advice about moving on and receive a piece of paper that said they had indeed graduated and were therefore eligible to Pass Go, as well as to Collect $200.

During the graduation exercises for my sixth-grader, I happened to sit by a friend named Chuck Clark whom I grew up with in Provo. His youngest daughter Stephanie was in my son Dylan's class at Wasatch Elementary School this past year.

"Did you and I graduate from the sixth grade?" I asked him.

"We must have," he replied, "but I don't remember."

"The first time I recall graduating from anything was when we graduated from Provo High School," I noted.

That particular night stands out vividly in my memory, primarily because I had to sit next to these very large, menacing boys wearing green hats and dresses who were busy mixing Screwdrivers during Molly Murdock's valedictory address.

I'm pretty sure Chuck and I didn't attend a graduation ceremony in the sixth grade, however. We had a Dance Festival instead. Among other things, we were required to perform "The Maypole Dance" as well as "The German Slap Dance" for our parents' viewing pleasure.

All right. I can already hear you asking each other the following question: "What in the world is the German Slap Dance?" Well, here's how it works.

1. Sixth-grade boys and girls line up across from each other in the school cafeteria, which is filled with parents sitting on folding chairs.

2. Teacher turns on polka music.

3. Boys bow to their partners. Girls curtsey.

4. Boys and girls grasp each other's right hands, do a "crossover" to the other side of the cafeteria, then fan out into the audience, looking for Germans to slap.

5. Everybody, including the Germans, does a do-si-do and then we all go home.

OK. I hope all my German friends know I'm just teasing. Actually we were supposed to slap our hands and knees, as well as our partners' hands and knees, which made me very nervous because I was afraid my partner (who had a nasty temper) would bust loose in the middle of the program and slap me upside the head if I kept messing up.

Although I can't remember for sure, I think we may have also been required to sing patriotic songs for our parents, accompanied by the ukelele. One of the sixth-grade teachers, Miss Packer, had spent the year teaching us all how to play the ukelele. My favorite number (after "Pearly Shells") was "The Green Berets." To this day I can still remember the following stirring lyrics:

Silver wings, upon their breasts!

These are men, America's best!

WHOA! Hold on there! Maybe the word I want is "chests" as opposed to "breasts." That would certainly make more sense in light of the song's context, don't you think?

ANYWAY, as Chuck and I were sitting there watching our kids graduate from the sixth grade, I almost made the comment that commencement exercises for such young children are silly. But then I had a change of heart. Hey, if these programs allow us grown-ups to give our kids more free advice, then I say LET'S GO FOR IT! And in the spirit of this Graduation Season I would like to pass on some advice of my own.

ADVICE FOR GRADUATING PRE-SCHOOLERS: Relax. There's probably no truth to the rumor that the first-graders at your new school are waiting to shave your heads.

ADVICE FOR GRADUATING SIXTH-GRADERS: Junior high school was the ABSOLUTE WORST MOST HORRIBLE TIME IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE! But don't worry. I'm sure you'll have a very positive experience.

ADVICE FOR GUYS IN HATS AND DRESSES. You're right. You do look stupid.

Happy Graduation, everybody!