Another generation is now on the march

June 4, 2013

As the temperatures smooth out to breezy, balmy conditions and the jackets come off, we recall that this time of year is for many parents all about graduation. Whether it’s grade school, high school, college or what used to be called reform school, we are all delighted in the completion of a worthy goal. This is especially true of parents who have children finally finishing the end of the line at graduate school; that goal being for the parents to have some semblance of a life in the few remaining years left.

OK, forget the fact that the child has been in school so long, he or she is eligible for discounts on Medicare reimbursements, and the parents have aged so much they resemble that famous black-and-white photo of the couple sitting on a sagging porch during the Dust Bowl era.

There is a vacuous look in the eyes of many mothers and fathers as they slowly make their way on artificial knees and hips to their seats in front of the podium.

There is a different look to these parents; I know after years of paying tuition, by the time I reached the graduate graduations, I felt like I had developed gills on the side of my body and was turning into some kind of scaly fish that would return to the ocean. In fact, I’m almost certain.

If that isn’t bad enough, the thought of listening one more time to the song for the processional march, “Pomp and Circumstance,” will have most parents signing commitment papers for themselves.

I believe this is covered under Obama Care, on page 9,683, section 485, titled, “Medical Coverage For Those Who Don’t Care Anymore and Just Walk Around Mumbling in Sweatpants All Day,” Part B. I can’t tell you how much is covered, since every other word in the Obama Care bill is blacked out due to security leak concerns.

The song “Pomp and Circumstance” was written by Sir Edward Elgar in 1901.

The title is taken from a play written by Shakespeare, which explains a lot. One of the lines in the play “Othello” is ‘Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!’

The fact that it was written for the coronation of King Edward VII should speak for itself. By the time a parent is sitting in the audience for graduate school and hears this march, it is enough to set off every pacemaker in the first three rows and cause massive panic attacks, not to mention palpitations, excessive sweating and shrinking of the liver.

Sure, it has come to symbolize pride, dignity and a certain reverence for the whole educational process. But it’s hard to think about that as you watch your own son take the stage in the traditional cap, gown and red high-top sneakers with green wraparound sunglasses.

The moment of truth is upon you.

The fork in the road so often quoted in these graduation speeches has been taken. I don’t know why that analogy with a fork in the road is so popular, especially since your child majored in deconstructionism and something called ethereal conceptualization. I can’t imagine what kind of job would require a master’s degree in this field except maybe on the Starship Enterprise.

Unfortunately for you, that path may lead right back to your home, where the basement will turn into kind of a de facto apartment for the returning graduate.

In other words, this adult will now be moving back home to live in your basement as you explain to him what jobs and FICA mean. Not to worry though, I think there is an app for this on your iPhone.

Another generation is on the march. It may not be to your drummer, but at least it’s a start.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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