By contributing writer Matt Hulten

As the semester draws to a close and seniors across the country finish their college careers, I find myself looking around and asking this simple question:

Why don’t we sign each other’s yearbooks anymore?

With all the pomp, circumstance, and tradition of the graduation ceremony, this custom has been lost in the shuffle. In fact, it seems that the signing of the yearbook in college has gone the way of the dodo, Crystal Pepsi, and basic human decency. In other words, it’s long gone. In high school, buying and then forcing friends and strangers alike to sign your yearbook is a rite of passage. Why has this been tossed aside in college? Are we really to believe that we had more to say to our high school friends than the psychotic friends we made during college? Who were you really closer to: the guy you sat next to for four years in high school or the guy you passed out next to covered in each other’s sick on the floor of your communal bathroom after a weekend of binge drinking? It doesn’t matter that you don’t really know his name, that memory deserves to be remembered, dammit!

Still in development: Round Out Your Own Yearbook Entry. For people who prefer to read in circles.

Therefore, I propose we bring back the lost art of yearbook signing.

Of course, I don’t expect you to restart this trend all on your own. I know you’re busy. I know you’ve got stress. The stress of final exams, the stress of graduating, the stress of discovering you’re not graduating, the stress of deciding if this is the summer you’re finally going to come out to your parents. I know there’s a lot on your plate this time of year. You don’t need to be wracking your brain trying to come up with something both witty and touching to leave in not only your friends’ yearbooks, but also complete strangers who approach you, pen in hand, claiming, “I left a little space over here – just for you to sign.”

If you’re like most people, you just can’t perform under that kind of pressure. Far be it for me to propose such a radical idea then hang you out to dry and leave you to scribble down some cliché statement like “good luck.” “don’t ever change.” or “bestfriends4ever.” It’s just that kind of uninspired hackwork that leads you down a path to a career wearing a paper hat at the local Krispy Kreme.

That’s why I developed the Create Your Own Yearbook Entry. I have been working around the clock (or, more accurately, during commercial breaks of The Office) to develop something that will ease us all back into the art of yearbook signing. And it’s so simple, even a community college graduate could do it. For each section, you just need to pick either A, B, or C to complete the sentence and make it personal to you and the one you’re writing it for. Use this method and you’ll produce thoughtful and inspired yearbook entries again and again, no doubt making you the envy of all your friends. And isn’t impressing others what life is really all about anyway?

All right, get those pens ready, here we go.

Dear _______________, (friend’s name)

Wow, we finally made it! I still have a hard time believing we’re graduating and off to:

A. High paying careers that will no doubt leave us with a dank emptiness where our souls used to be.

B. Artistically satisfying jobs that will pay so little we’ll probably have to let truckers braid our hair for money in order to

pay back our student loans.

C. Curl up in a dark room and sob hopelessly knowing that the best days of our lives have now officially passed us.

Four years seems like such a long time, but it was over in the blink of an eye, wasn’t it? Looking back now, I can honestly say that this has
been one of the:

A. Most worthwhile times of my life.

B. Most worthless times of my life.

C. Few times during college where I’ve been sober enough to form a sentence.

You know, now that I have a minute to actually take it all in and put everything into perspective, our time here together has truly prepared us

A. The next 15 minutes, after which we will wander off-campus and scream, “Now what?” over and over again to the

B. Prison.

C. Jobs in either retail or fast food because our degrees in “Ancient Languages,” “Physical Education,” or “Business” or totally useless in the real world.

Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if when I leave here for the last time I’ll:

A. Shed a tear at the thought of leaving a place that has taught me so much.

B. Light a match and burn a dorm building, and everyone inside, right to the ground.

C. Head straight to the bar and drink so much I go blind in one eye.

It’s really funny how the years fly by, huh? Wow, it feels like only yesterday we were wide-eyed freshmen taking our first steps onto campus. In fact, I can still remember the time we met:

A. I just knew we’d be friends forever.

B. You just kept ignoring me, no matter how long or how intensely I stared at you.

C. You reeked so strongly of Axe body spray and failure and my eyes are still watering to this day.

But somehow we managed to get through it all. You know, our relationship is so strong, it even survived that time:

A. We had that huge fight about the shampoo and I tried to stab you with a fork.

B. I got you/your girlfriend pregnant.

C. I got wasted and backed over your dad while pulling out of my driveway then ran over him again to make sure he was dead and couldn’t identify me to the police.

I think we became even closer after that. The memories are all coming back to me now. Do you remember the time:

A. I stayed up all night with you, cramming for that huge test we both got A’s on.

B. I stayed up all night with you, cramming for that huge test we both failed.

C. I stayed up all night with you, because we took those pills and could not stop the blood-curdling screams of the flying elves that came in through the window.

I just want to thank you for always standing by me, good times and bad. I really believe we’ve become great friends and I just wanted to tell you:

A. I hope you are successful in all you do in life.

B. I hate you. I hate everything about you. I hope you die and your death comes soon. If I have to spend one more minute looking at your stupid face, I think I’m going to throw up in my mouth. In fact, it’s too late. You just made me throw up in my mouth. Are you happy now? Dick.

C. I’m having a restraining order placed on you; please don’t come within 500 yards of me. And if I see you in the bushes outside of my house again, let it be known that I’ve purchased a firearm and I’m not afraid to use it.

I bet you didn’t think I’d get so emotional with this entry, did you? Well, you mean just that much to me. I guess I’ve only got one thing left to say:

A. See you in Hell, you son of a bitch!

B. Remember that time in sophomore year when we were drunk and tried to hook-up, but I just kept weeping and apologizing every time I tried to touch you, so we just watched Family Guy on DVD instead? Well, I’ve been going to counseling and, long story short, my van is parked right over there and I’m finally emotionally stable enough to seal the deal. Get that cap and gown off and get ready for some mediocre to adequate loving!

C. I know you will exceed all of my expectations and amount to nothing. Just like your father.

Sincerely/Love (circle one)

______________________ (your name)

And there you go. With all of us working together we can bring back this timeless tradition.