2

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

(Thanks to REM.)

My kids graduated from high school on Thursday. They’re not twins, but it’s a long story. Our district doesn’t have graduations for kindergarten, 4th grade, 8th grade, or anything else. So this is a big deal.

On the last day of class (they let the seniors out two weeks before the rest of the district), they had the “Senior Walk”. This is a long-standing, hallowed tradition. The kids put on their caps and gowns and walk through all the halls saying good-bye to their friends. As my son said, his friends were all seniors, so it was just a long walk. Then they walk across the bridge over the road outside. A lot of the parents come and take pictures, and it ends up in  the local paper. I’m waiting for the movie.

In an epic case of cosmic bad timing, one of the students had died from cancer three days before. It gave the kids a chance to honor him with ribbons on their gowns and signs on their caps. That was the only positive – at least they were all together to support each other. And his identical twin. As I said, it was cosmically awful for these kids.

Next up was the Honors Assembly. I had flashbacks to my own. For me high school was socially passable, academically successful. So my mother made me go. It was an extremely long night. Everyone who had won anything had to troop across the stage and be applauded. When my daughter got an invitation, I was not thrilled. Proud, but not thrilled.

When we got the programs, it didn’t look too bad. There was a welcome by the principal (who everyone likes) and the handing out of several scholarships. We weren’t sure why we were there since our daughter had not won any of the listed scholarships, but it looked reasonable.

I should have realized that there would be a catch. We began with a paean to the top ten academic students. Who were sitting on the stage. They presented the names alphabetically in the interests of treating them all equally. Apparently there was no concern about segregating them from the rest of their classmates.

Being mainly academic scholarships, there was a lot of repetition in who was receiving them. The parents all clapped appreciatively, although a lot of us were wondering why they had been invited to see awards given to other people’s children.

Finally our patience was rewarded. Sorta.  After a break, we were treated to a parade of the students with their pictures and awards/scholarships flashed on a screen. It was great. Except they neglected to list the two scholarships our daughter had won from the colleges she applied to. At least her picture looked nice.

My uncle wanted to attend the ceremony. And drive. My daughter had gotten the directions, and it appeared to be an easy drive. But my uncle had a “better way”. I didn’t find out about the “better way” until we were driving past our exit. Long story short – the improvement added a half hour to our drive. If we’d been a few minutes later, the kids would not have been allowed to walk in the procession.

And we would have been sitting behind the stage. Did I mention that one of the main uses for the building is as a sports arena? It’s the home of one of the feeder teams for the Red Wings. It has two parts, but both are set up in a 360 degree viewing pattern.

As it was, we ended up behind the band. As near as I can tell, the individuals all play fairly well, but the director hasn’t taught them to play as a unit. It was a unique rendering of “Pomp and Circumstance”. Over and over as all 500+ students filed in (it’s a consolidated district). Plus the dignitaries and teachers.

The teachers. I’m glad they weren’t the ones teaching my kids manners. Most of them only applauded for a few of the students. Only a few of the students clapped for everyone. I was proud to see that two of them were related to me. I forgave their ability to sleep in while I get up at 2:30a for a few minutes.

Four of the teachers performed the class song, “Don’t You Forget About Me,” by Simple Minds. I love the song and thought it was a great choice. I think the band was more nervous than the kids. At least their parents weren’t recording every move.

The speeches were short and poignantly sweet. During the procession, they made it all the way to the middle of the “A”s before they got a name wrong. A first name. Totally wrong. He probably would have gotten more applause if anyone had known who he was.

Then it was over. And we had to find our kids among the hundreds of people at the bottom of the arena. That (and getting out of the parking lot) took almost as long as the ceremony.

 

 

 

 

8

The De-Snarkification of Cat

I received some feedback that I may have been a little hard on the (lack of) thought process employed by some of our customers. While I would like to remind everyone that my thoughts are not expressed to the customer (that’s why they’re thoughts not words), I do understand that some people are concerned with the lack of civility in today’s world. Ensuring that I don’t inadvertently insult someone is a valid concern. We never know when the filter between my brain and my mouth might become clogged and not work anymore. (I have met several people with this unfortunate condition.) So I am trying to come up with some more polite ways to address some issues.

Current: Why on earth do you keep ordering chickens when we have forty cases in my cooler? It’s the cheese cooler not the “I still don’t understand how to order” cooler. Improved: I know it’s really hard to gauge how much food to order, being fairly new in the position. Maybe you should see how much was used last year and increase it by 10% rather than 200%.

Current: It’s called a cheese cooler because it’s supposed to be used for cheese, not whatever you can’t find room for. Improved: If you are going to keep getting too much stock, we should probably find someplace to hide it so your boss will quit yelling at you about it. Or maybe you could arrange to clean out your own space so it looks like you have the correct amount.

Current: Stop being so lazy and clean up the messes you make in my cooler. If you spill boxes all over the place moving a cart, pick them up. Improved: It would really make things a lot easier for me if I didn’t walk into the cooler to find it full of boxes that have fallen off one of the carts. I try very hard to load them safely and would really appreciate you helping me with this. You know you can get hurt tripping on things you don’t see.

Current: Why do you think it’s OK to step in front of me to use the time-clock? Is your time more important than mine? Improved: Excuse me. I guess you didn’t see that I was in line to punch in. Just so you know, you would have clocked in at the same time if you had waited for me.

Current: Why do you think I should come to your department and help you? It’s not like you ever do anything to help me. I’m tired of hearing about how important what you do is. I assume you have no idea how much money my area actually makes. Improved: I’m sorry. I really don’t have time to help. I’m the only one in my section and don’t have anyone I can ask to help.

Current: I know it’s a load of ‘whatever’ when you don’t put a cart in my cooler because you don’t do it as well as I do. It’s insulting how stupid you think I am. Improved: Actually, the way I got to be this good was by practicing. If you spend a little time today working on it, it will be easier the next time you try to put something in.

Current: I know you’re the one who made the mess although you’re playing innocent so I have to clean it up. I’m not working with anything that could spill. Improved: I hate the way those containers of olives sometimes spill over when you take off the top. It looks like that one got some olive oil on the floor.

Current: It’s really stupid to order extra sandwich turkey less than a week before Thanksgiving. That’s the same stuff that’s in those big birds they keep selling across the aisle. Improved: Perhaps it would have been better to wait until some of the stuffed feeling from Thanksgiving goes away before asking people to buy a less substantial version of the same meat.

Current: Yes I am using the hand-held inventory controller. That’s why it’s in my hand and I’m putting numbers into it. You can quit standing there trying to intimidate me into giving it to you. Improved: I’m probably going to need this for another few minutes. I can let you know when I’m finished so you don’t have to keep standing there letting your other work pile up. I’m sure there’s time for both of us to do what we need to do.

I could go on, but there’s really no point. I just hope the brain/mouth filter stays functional.

 

 

3

I Wonder

Who decided that the goalposts in football would be designated north and south?

Why is fresh good when you talk about fruits and vegetables but not when you talk about people?

On the freeway, why am I always behind the guy going 65 mph and in front of the guy who wants to go 75 mph? (and thinks that riding my bumper will somehow make the other guy go faster)

Who created the zipper? How did they get the idea?

Do stores really think that the number of people who buy tinsel between Halloween (or earlier) and Thanksgiving outweigh the number of people who are annoyed and avoid that whole side of the store? Besides, things are more expensive the first month than any other time of the season (nothing on sale yet).

I understand why some stores use background music as part of their brand, but what kind of brand is Wal-Mart trying to convey?

Is traffic congestion decreased enough to justify the rear-end collisions tension, and irritation at traffic round-abouts?

Why did I see Santa outfits for infants today next to adult Halloween sweaters? There’s a much better chance that I will still be the same size by Christmas than a baby.

When radio stations identify a song after a set, why is it never the song I didn’t know/can’t remember?

Do they eat Jordan almonds in Jordan?

Why do people who cut in line try to explain it by saying that they are in a hurry? Do they think the rest of us are there because we like to spend 20 minutes standing between people on their phones, arguing, or talking dirt about someone else?

Are road construction jobs paced to ensure full employment for the entire season? No matter when jobs are supposed to be done around here, it’s always at least a month longer. Maybe we don’t offer incentives for early completion in our county?

Why is there always an SUV parked in the compact car spot at my doctor’s office?

Why is the only time I am not tripping over a commissioned salesperson when I actually have a question or want to purchase?