Sunday, December 19, 2004

A Chilly Weekend During Which I Wear a Large Hat and Attend a Graduation

Brrr. Someone should really do something about the weather here in Tampa. While I do appreciate the fact that I can now wear my charming little sweaters again, I am tired of all the false advertising: "Florida, The Sunshine State!", "Florida, the Land of Citrus and Sunshine!", "Welcome to Sunny Florida!", blah blah blah blah. There must be some sort of regulation against the temperature dropping below 60 degrees; if there isn't, the politicians should think about writing one; it isn't as if they're doing anything USEFUL anyway.

But, I am a rock and decided to leave the house despite the inclement weather, which was perfect for my favorite large hat and a wool suit. My friend Debbie had decided to graduate at the UNGODLY hour of 10:30 a.m. in an unheated stadium, so I had to be prepared. Her best friend Bill (who always wears a slightly worried expression) sat with me throughout the entire ceremony, which followed the time-honored and unwritten rules of graduation ceremonies everywhere:

1. All graduates must wear the tackiest, shiniest polyester robes they can find in order to best resemble an ambulatory circus tent

2. The sound system is required to stop working at least once, according to union regulations. Organizations that do not provide at least one ear-piercing whistle and 10 seconds of feedback will be fined fifty dollars.

3. The stage is required to hold (a) three plastic potted palms or (b) one shrub. Flowers are optional.

4. A minimum of two audience members with mullets must provide loud horns and/or whistles to prevent the audience from accidentally overhearing the names of graduating seniors.

5. All audience members with children younger than 5 are required to distribute themselves evenly throughout the audience for maximum crying coverage. Violaters will be fined.

6. At least one graduate must break down and cry uncontrollably in the middle of his or her speech

7. The ceremony must include one speech given by a graduate who has overcome some sort of "obstacle". The preferred list includes, but is not limited to: cancer, paralysis, Tourette's Syndrome, amputation, birth defects, learning disabilities, blindness, and/or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

8. No fewer than ten speeches are to be given. Each must last more than eight minutes and include at least two of the following words or phrases:
"Since 9/11"
"hope for the future"
"freedom" (or "liberty")
"years of dedication and hard work"
"inspiration to those who follow"
"the greatest country in the world"
"American values"

9. The National Anthem must be sung slightly off-key after everyone forgets the words to the alma mater

10. A minimum of two prayers are to be given by an elderly minister who is slightly deaf. Additional prayers are to be included if more than ten percent of the audience is non-Christian.

Luckily, Debbie graduated from a smallish sort of college so the cermony only lasted three hours instead of the traditional five.

After stopping to buy some tasty books from Haslam's bookstore ("Over 1,000,000 books in stock!"), I joined Bill, Debbie and her family for a post graduation luncheon at some Italian restaurant outside a mall-- to get there I had to walk two miles through herds of demented shoppers in SUVs. Our flaming friend Carlos ("I'm a man with a twist!") joined us and we drank wine and ate yummy non-Italian Italian food. I would recommend the restaurant if I could remember the name-- their desserts were bigger than my face.


Blogger theomorph said...

California has similar climatological public relations problems. Of course, I have sworn that should I ever become a film director (which will be hard since I spend all my time writing instead of shooting films), I will only film California on cold, rainy, and/or foggy days, thus dispelling the myth that we have nothing but sun. I will also have a cast that is 60% Mexican instead of 98% Blonde. True to the publicity, however, every last person will drive a six-ton SUV.

2:14 PM  
Blogger L said...

I think the SUVs are actually breeding now. I can't go anywhere without seeing at least six Hummers now too...

3:13 PM  
Blogger the frog princess said...

i think you might be one of the only interesting person in my area. i've been reading you for awhile, so i thought i'd say hey, i enjoy your blog!

4:41 PM  
Blogger theomorph said...

Yeah, those SUVs are friggin' ubiquitous these days. As are their critics. But do you ever notice how hard it is to find a defender of SUVs? To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, you can hardly throw an egg these days without hitting somebody who will say a bad word about SUVs, but then, the same goes for finding somebody who is driving one. What's the deal?

As for me and my household (i.e., me and my houseplants), we shall continue traveling by Saturn, bicycle, and foot (or, as I like to call it, the zapato-mobile).

5:35 PM  
Blogger L said...

thanks for the compliment, frog princess

nice to see another Tampa gal out here...

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things:

(1) I would like to hear a graduation speech from someone who "almost overcame Tourette's Syndrome".

(2) Find out the name of the Italian restaurant with desserts "bigger than [your] face"!


9:59 AM  

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