Don’t Throw Your Graduation CapPosted: June 17, 2013
There was quite a bit of century left in the twentieth when I graduated from high school. As I sat watching my nephew’s commencement last week, my mother’s words on my graduation day came back to mind.
I glanced over at Mom. She was so proud of her grandson on his big day (the first of many, I’m sure). It didn’t seem right to interrupt my mother’s enjoyment of the moment by saying “hey, what was that all about?” So I resolved to ask later about what she’d said to me back in 1979.
Because I’m over fifty, I forget things. I’ve even forgotten what I was thinking about in the midst of thinking it. I planned to ask after the ceremony about the dire warning she’d given me before my graduation, but after listening to the intoning of 600 names, I forgot all about doing that. But then a reader commented on my post from about graduations, saying that her high school graduating class hadn’t been allowed to wear caps “for safety reasons”. That brought my mother’s warning flooding back into my memory:
Don’t throw your cap at the end of graduation, you’ll hit someone in the eye.
The Tie That Binds Is A Tassle
In that moment, I saw it, the bond between these two women – a grandmother from the U.S. and a new high school graduate from Canada. A legend connected them – The Legend Of The Graduate Who Was Hit In The Eye By A Flying Mortar Board”.
“The Legend Of The Graduate Who…” spans the border between two nations. Perhaps they’ve heard of the legend in Guanajuato, or Zihuatanejo or even Mexico City. If so, we could say that The Graduate’s tale spans a continent.
But does anyone know the one-eyed swab behind the legend? Who is this mysterious, eye-patched academic whose sad fate represses cap throwers from border to border? Does she exist? Perhaps she’s just another urban legend, living next door to that boy who swung so hard he went over and around the top bar of the swing set.
Reveal Yourself. I Want No Hassle.
I call upon this graduate/accidental pirate to reveal themselves to me and the vast Blurt readership.
Speaking of the vast readership, maybe one of you knows this cyclops scholar. If you do, bring her forth. Encourage her (or him, as the case may be) to tell her tale. By validating her sad situation for us all, she can help us protect the retinas, rods and cones of generations to come.
Or she can remain an anonymous legend who is part of a cautionary tale. A legend whose fate becomes less believable with time. A tale that goes from cautionary to ignored.
Let us keep our young people safe. But let us also vow not to repress their exuberance based on urban legend.