Due to the incredible popularity of the first two Ask Smidge columns (and we’re using the word “incredible” in its literal meaning here), we have been flooded with questions at the new email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
A number of topics have been queried, but we have noticed a majority of you have graduation-related questions this time of year, so we’re doing a special graduation edition this week.
We don’t have kids yet, but my sister just invited us to our niece’s preschool graduation. Is that really a thing? Do we bring a gift?
Kidless in Carson City
Sadly, yes, preschool “graduations” have become a reality. It’s a bunch of two-foot-tall paste eaters whose only requirement for graduation was that their parents kept paying for them to be there, but they’ll “graduate,” nonetheless. Don’t be shocked if they have them in little caps and gowns! (You may, of course, be appalled at the self-celebrating state we have devolved to, just don’t be shocked.) The best gift you can bring is a flask of clear liquor for yourself, and a promise never to put your future children in a preschool that has graduation ceremonies.
Our son’s kindergarten teacher just emailed us about a “small graduation ceremony” they’re planning for the last day of school. Graduating from kindergarten? My son still can’t use scissors correctly, he licks the other kids, and he’s barely even aware that he was in school. What am I missing?
Confused in Columbus
Please see answer above and just sub in “kindergarten” every time you see “preschool.”
What’s with these weird flat mortarboard hats?
Graduating in Grand Rapids
Funny story! The flat mortarboard cap with the tassel that every graduate dons today actually started as a fraternity prank at Tulane University in 1893. Apparently, there was quite the rivalry between Phi Delta Gamma and Kappa Kappa Theta back then, and the Phi Delts came up with a real zinger at the end of the year.
They convinced the Kappas that it was a new school policy to wear a “uniform” at graduation. Then they proceeded to get incredibly drunk and come up with the dumbest looking hat they could think of: a flat board sewed onto a skull cap, with a darling little tassel hanging off one side.
They added the gown to the mix and convinced the Kappas that it was super cool to go naked underneath. Come graduation day, the Phi Delts showed up in their caps and gowns, so the Kappas thought nothing of it. But just before hitting the stage, all the Phi Delts tossed their mortarboard caps in the air and took their robes off, unrolling their suit pants from their knees and putting on their snappy fedoras they had been hiding under the robes. They strode across the stage in their three-piece suits, leaving the poor, duped, and naked-underneath Kappas with no alternative but to wear their ridiculous caps and gowns to accept their diplomas.
The prank worked perfectly, but it backfired on the rest of us. The Tulane dean, perhaps still drunk from Mardi Gras, loved the Kappa’s outfits and adopted them for all future graduation ceremonies. Deans from neighboring colleges, not wanting to be seen as non-hip, went along, and the rest is history.
My pot-smoking grandson is graduating from high school with a 2.3 GPA. What should we get him for a graduation gift?
Unimpressed in Olympia
A McDonald’s application and an alarm clock.
Our daughter is graduating from Dartmouth after six years. It took her a while, and more than a few student loans, but she is finally getting her art history degree. We are so proud! Any ideas for the perfect graduation gift for our little princess?
Beaming in Boise
$350,000, a McDonald’s application, and an alarm clock.
Happy graduation, America! Now get out there and tackle life! Or first grade.
(And remember, be sure to email all your burning questions to email@example.com)
See you soon,
Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen
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