Saturday, May 08, 2004

What's a graduation cd without Vitamin C, Dave Matthews, Grateful Dead, and Green Day, you ask? The best graduation cd ever, I say...

I look very far down my holier-than-thou nose on people who squander shallow lives between this latest fad and that next big thing. Whether it be plugging into the American Idols and Survivors of the small screen or consuming the material idols of flip flops, Nalgene bottles, and whisker jeans, there are people—even the supposed best and brightest of my generation—who apparently find self-worth in being up to date on celebrity gossip and what style of distress is needed to set one apart as fashionable next season. These people, my peers, put mold on my brain after mere minutes of social interaction.

But I am diverse in my self-righteousness and this entry is not necessarily about blinded herds and the way they dress. Tonite finds my stomach turning at the thought of over-sentimentality, particularly the phony tears and empty well wishes associated with early May, graduation time.

It starts with the underclassmen trickling home after the “killer” week of “hell” they called their Finals Week, all three multiple choice exams and optional papers that it included. Still absorbed with the high school way of thought that doesn’t allow them to leave campus until they have wished everyone and everyone’s mother a great summer and reminded these same everyones to keep in touch, underclassmen strike me as irritatingly optimistic and annoyingly na├»ve.

Juniors get the hang of it by the end of their third year, but more often than not succumb to the tired lines of “We’re seniors!” and “Can you believe it? One more year!” as they trudge into their last real summer break.

Seniors are the demographic upon whom I will spew most of my ranting because they should know better. Four years removal from high school should have been enough time to learn that relationships ebb and fade with time or distance, and especially with a double team from both axes of a velocity graph.

Sure, we’re different now--more mature and wise beyond our years. Sure, we’ve established life-long relationships--the majority of us are engaged or close to it. This is not a call to cut all ties and start over once we turn and smile for the cameras one last time. Even I, cynic of all cynics, am looking forward to keeping in touch with the Family over the years, sending Christmas cards and making a Homecoming trek or two. I will make a short but thoughtful list of persons I'd like to keep in touch with, but no more than a dozen of the closest. If you're not sure you made the list, chances are you probably aren't so please, enough with the hugs and tears over someone you shared a chem lab cabinet with freshman year.

Pass on your books to underclassmen, pay your library fines, say thanks to the teachers that have touched your life forever, but do it without the high-pitched hug orgies, don’t promise you’ll keep in touch, and please—don’t post Vitamin C lyrics in your AIM profile.

Speaking of graduation song lyrics (the very thing that got me started on this rant), I am already near the watershed of tolerance for the "What a long, strange trip it's been"s and "Friends forever--love ya"s and "I Will Miss" lists (wait a minute...), so don't try to pass that crap on me--I see right through it.

In lieu of my second (final?) Pomp and Circumstance march, I am compiling a collection of moving-on-with-my-life/leaving-this-town-type songs to the end of the burning of these songs onto a cd. To close, I leave you with applicable excerpts from selected songs off the cd with the working title "Homeward Bound" (recommendations welcome)...

"and each town looks the same to me,
the movies and the factories
and every stranger's face i see
reminds me that i long to be
homeward bound (i wish i was)"

"tonite i'm leaving
this bullshit one-horse town
with its cowboys and indians
who only have balls
when there's a camera around"

"this town
don't feel mine
so drive me

"did it on ritalin
i got me some good grades
now i work me the nite shift
where i
push and push and push til it hurts"

"at last it's finally over
couldn't take this town much longer
half dead wasn't what i planned to be
now i'm ready to be free"

"so here's the bright end of nowhere
here's the results of all our days
used to lay on the roof and drink beer
and try to count up all the ways
that you could waste away
looking back it seems so simple
but how we've done it couldn't say"

"take me to the shore
wrap me in a blind tomorrow
i won't fight no more
i won't scream
maybe we'll be washed away
maybe i just need a holiday"

"friday night they'll be dressed to kill
down at dino's bar and grill
the drink will flow and blood will spill
and if the boys want to fight, you'd better let them
that jukebox in the corner blasting out my favorite song
the nights are getting warmer, it won't be long
won't be long till summer comes
now that the boys are here again
the boys are back in town..."