Letter from the Editor - Having a ‘grad’ time

Editor’s note – I believe in recycling and telling the truth. The truth is, this is a recycled Facebook post from about four years ago. It seems appropriate for this time of year.

Hollywood, MD – Spring is a time of transition for many of society's youth. May is graduation time on college campuses and in early June high school seniors will take the big walk. Which graduation class will I be addressing this year? I'm not sure because I think my invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. Anyway, young folks don't want some old guy telling them how to live their lives. As much as we conform, human lives are distinctly marked by an unmatched individuality. There's no way a living person can sufficiently summarize how to live a good life. So, with that lecture out of the way, let me share some of my graduation memories.

High school—1970—There were 714 in my graduation class and there would have been more if so many kids hadn't been pulled out of line for flunking 12th grade English and/or a social studies course called "problems of democracy" (it was a required course). These were cruel times and many of those kids found out they didn't make the cut the morning of graduation when we met for rehearsal. During the ceremony the audience was asked to hold its applause until every grad was announced. The request was forgotten when Aaron Aaronson's name was called out (guess where he was in line). When we went on stage we were handed the diploma holder. There was no diploma inside. We couldn't get our diplomas until after the ceremony when we turned in our caps and gowns. "I'm so disappointed I don't get to keep this cap and gown," said none of the 714 graduates at any point during the ceremony. This inexplicable charade, I surmised, was the perfect exclamation point for four years of dumbfounding rules and regulations.

College—1974—you might say a family argument almost caused me to miss the ceremony. It seems Old Granddad didn't agree with me. By the time we marched into the field house my violent hangover had abated. I wore my intramural softball jersey under my gown. The woman next to me in line was due to give birth at any moment. This was troubling, since we were B.A. candidates, which meant all the pre-meds were on the other side of the aisle. Our guest speaker was a famous man who none of us had ever heard of. He must have been as nervous (or hung over) as we were for during his speech he kept saying "uh, uh, uh." Evidently, his secretary wrote his speech and he didn't bother reading it before the ceremony. Yeah, I want to be like him! The next day I began my life as a fulltime non student, a life which continues to this day.

Graduations mimic real life. They are full of Druid rituals average people can't comprehend. They are exhilarating, humbling, bittersweet and at times, boring. It's a brief moment in the spotlight where no one can recognize you because you are wearing this bad hat and bath robe.

Enjoy every minute of it along with the rest of your life! God Bless the Class of 2017!

Contact Marty Madden at

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