Promotional Exercise


Your face goes here

We attended our nephew’s Junior High graduation this evening. Only they didn’t call it “graduation” or “commencement” but rather a “promotional exercise”. Looking at the program I thought it was a joke or a funny misprint: some temporary copy left on the coversheet that hadn’t been replaced by the time the files went to the printer. What was wrong with graduating?  Was “promotional exercise” a more politically correct term in some way? A better influence on the burgeoning self esteem of these bright faced young people?

I never did figure it out.

The ceremony was air conditioned and mercifully short. I found that the whole ordeal brought up a strange number of unresolved feelings in me: the noise was oppressive. The crowd was disproportionately enthusiastic. The speeches included the requisite number of “[ insert name here] once said” quotes and lines from Dr Seuss’ “Oh The Places You’ll Go”. I could’ve screamed every time I heard the phrase, but the speeches were otherwise unobjectionable.

Junior high was the depths of my Mutant Years. It’s an area of my memory that I still avoid to this day, but finding myself surrounded by junior high graduates- many of whom appear to have skipped the whole Mutant Years altogether- quickly dragged it all back to the surface. Why couldn’t I have been one of these cool kids with smooth hair and glowing skin wearing a cute sundress and sandals? Why couldn’t I have fit in like they do?

I was too old to be having these thoughts. I was also too young to have a graduate of my own. Many of the parents in the audience were the same generation as the Curmudgeonly Lion which was a sobering fact: even though I still felt like an awkward junior high kid I was now closer to being the parent of one.


At any rate, the graduation went well ( in spite of the awkward name). It was a good visit with some family members that we don’t get to see very often, and although I clearly still have some issues to deal with about junior high I at least made it through another encounter unscathed. As someone once said: I shall live to fight another day.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 29, 2015.

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