>>> Edited For Content
By staff writer Mike Forest
May 18, 2005

I realize that it’s been a couple weeks without a column from me, and I apologize to my 2.4 faithful readers. Here’s an extra big dose of funny (or not, whatever) from me.

I will not do it.
I promise.
I swear to you, I won’t.
No one wants to read another column about stupid ol’ graduation, so I won’t write one.
Really. I won’t.

Dammit, who am I kidding?

Old Man Walking

How correct are the people who tell you that short walk across the stage is so special and unique? Is it really indicative of the 4 (or 5 or 6) years that we’ve spent reaching for that goal? Is it really a right of passage that magically makes us an adult as we cross the stage and receive our fake diploma?

It is and it isn’t.

“It’s hard to feel like graduation day is all about you when you know everyone there with a robe on has swamp ass too.”

For me, college was a struggle. A struggle against what I was being taught and who was teaching it. A struggle with loan officers, parking attendants, and bureaucratic secretaries whose job it is to make sure all t’s are crossed and i’s dotted. A struggle with those damn condom wrappers before she wakes up. Mostly a struggle against my own self-destructive tendencies. For example, even in my last semester I managed to fail a photography class because I skipped it so much. How hard is it to take pictures and go to class? Seriously! Too hard for The Beech apparently.

So I walked across a stage. Big freaking deal. I earned the hell out of this degree and am very proud of it, but I’ve been an adult for some time now. That piece of paper didn’t make my pubes finally sprout (hormone therapy took care of that).

As I stood in the basement of the auditorium sweating my green-robed ass off, I laughed at my fellow “honorees” (I use that word in as loose a sense as they were as freshman) rushing around trying to find out where to stand and what to do.

“Look,” I told them, “they’ve been telling us what to do for years now. I’m perfectly fine with not having to think for myself for one more day.” Then I turned up my iPod.


Yes, I now have an iPod and have crossed over into the digital iHell of iCulture. I swear it wasn’t my fault. It was given to me as a graduation gift. I was going tosell my new 4 gig mini, and get a Creative player with 18 million gigs of space complete with optional coffee maker instead, but the marketing company I work for customized them for us. They say “[adult swim is your friend]” on the back. How could I sell that? Damn. Now that I have it, I may as well use it….

I still iContend that iPods are most definitely evil. Sure, they’re iHandy, but they’re also the biggest iHoles to throw time and money at. I must look insane to the outside viewer, but you iPod owners, iBack me up:

Creating playlists: “I must have one for every mood I could possibly be in!” I cackle while dancing around my room in my underwear listing to Tom Petty followed by Nine Inch Nails followed by Five Iron Frenzy followed by the Cure and Eminem. My moods are all in a tizzy! iHelp me!
The Accessory Cult: Must have sweet-ass Diddy carrying case that costs $350. Must have lanyard and belt clip upgrade. (Seriously, I dropped it onto the grass once and the clickwheel stopped working.) Must have 10 different chargers (AC, DC, car, USB, Firewire, solar, wind, crank, smack and peanut butter). I draw the line at the iPod hoodie though. There has to be line.
You are NOT The Didster. If you make a “sex mix,” a “gettin’ it on mix,” or “Beech’s Freaky Freak Booty Mix” you will never, ever have need to use it. Even Miss Michigan will deny you.
How small is it? I carry it everywhere with me, but it’s already a hassle. I don’t want to worry about it getting iStolen, so maybe I should leave it at home. On the other hand, there may be a 30-second space of walking to my car from my office. What if I don’t have music to listen to? I might have to listen to my own iThoughts! O NO!
My Clicker Obsession: I realize more and more that I cannot listen to a whole song. I skip through my library rather than listen to it. Its like having 400 cable channels and you’re girlfriend is screaming at you to put down the remote because women don’t come bundled with the blessing/curse of the inability watch just one show and the skill of being able to watch several shows at the same time.
What’s with the song ratings? “Is this a 4 or a 5? I really like it, but not all the time. Hell, maybe it’s only a 3. Some days it’s a three, but some days it’s at least a 4. It used to be my favorite song ever, so maybe I should give it a 5.” At this point I have to set it down and walk away or my un-paid-for brain will end up splattered all over my cheap, but paid-for, futon.
iGadgets can suck my iDick. These are different than the other accessories. These are all the add-ons that you can shake an iStick at: button relocator (it moves them to France and changes their names), iRemote to iControl the unit from across your iRoom(or from France). iDildo that makes your best mixes OH so much better. These items are unnecessary, but I MUST own them all.

(End of iDigression)

Graduations are boring. I could barely stay awake on my own, so I left to have a cigarette. Some of you may think this disrespectful, but I don’t give a shit, so save it.

When it finally happened, the experience of walking across the stage…was a bit anti-climactic. It’s hard to feel like the day is all about you when you know everyone there with a robe on has swamp ass too.

Besides, we all know that you learn as much outside the classroom as you do inside it. I brag that I can hold a conversation with anybody, anywhere, about anything. I didn’t learn that in a class. I honed this “skill” by watching a ton of TV and having millions of drunken conversations. I honestly don’t feel bad spending all my loans this way. It was a good investment I think. Ask me again when I’m sober.

I actually cried at my high school graduation. I had to give some stupid speech for being salutatorian or head cheerleader or something like that and I got a bit choked up and tears trickled from the corners of my eyes. I wondered if I was going to do that again. I didn’t, but it’s only because I’m not a total pussy anymore, not because I no longer have emotions.

The ceremony was long, so we, being college students and having little respect for anybody, made fun of the speakers. Our student speaker was a double major receiving degrees in both engineering and philosophy. He had served on 2,012 committees ranging from the Association of Aardvark Astrophysics to Zebra Zealots, had 613 internships, was published in the Bible and had been into space a couple times. Other than that, he fit in with us normal liberal arts people pretty well. We laughed at his high-brow humor and big words while our parents flipped through their dictionaries trying to keep up. We did a little condescending “we’re better than you” dance and then I had to get back to my day job flipping burgers.

When the different majors started walking across the stage in front of and behind us, we were definitely going a little stir crazy. Their ploy to get us to sit still for two final hours was unraveling. We made jokes about each other rather than give in to our instincts and start rioting.

“Professional writing? What the hell is that? I’m a professional English uh…talker person, how’s that?”

Jazz studies is an actual major? Give me a blunt and a bad recording of Witches Brew and I’ll have to earn that degree.”

“Stupid philosophy majors: I graduate, therefore I walk. Does this piece of paper really exist?”

Even I couldn’t be too cynical though. I was with family and friends who had come to see this day…finally. I just wanted it to be over so I could celebrate in my own way (whipped cream, lotion and a blindfold).

So now everyone wants to know “now what?” Unless those people have a job offer for me, they can go fuck themselves. I have no idea what is next for me, but I know it’ll be OK…eventually.

Congrats to all the grads this year. You’ve earned it. Unless you haven’t. Then fuck off.

I’m back.