Jimmy Tomlin: Kudos to the kiddos

Jun. 03, 2013 @ 01:00 AM

I’m filled with mixed emotions as we prepare for our daughter’s graduation this week.
I feel unbridled joy over this milestone of accomplishment in her young life, signified by those ubiquitous symbols of graduation, the cap and gown.
At the same time, though, I feel a tinge of sadness over the rapid passage of time as my precious daughter, once so young and innocent, moves into a new phase of her life.
Oh, and I also feel complete, utter, brain-rattling amazement over the fact that elementary schools now hold graduation ceremonies.
Yes, my youngest daughter, Caroline, is about to graduate from her elementary school. What did you think I was talking about?
I don’t know how recent this trend is of children graduating from elementary schools. My older daughter — the teenager whose name shall not be mentioned, lest she be embarrassed in public — graduated from elementary school four years ago. We have the cute cap-and-gown photo — which, as I recall, cost us more than a monthly car payment — to prove it.
But when I was coming along...
(Let me interrupt this column for a moment to make an important disclaimer: I am now 50 years old. I have an AARP membership card. This entitles me to full senior citizen privileges, including the inalienable right to begin statements with the old-timers’ phrase, “When I was coming along...” Thank you. Carry on.)
But when I was coming along, elementary schools didn’t have graduation ceremonies. (Nor did middle schools, for that matter.) We didn’t receive miniature “diplomas” for finishing elementary school. We didn’t pose for photos wearing a cap and gown. And we sure as heck didn’t receive any graduation gifts, as some of the fifth-graders did when our older daughter “graduated.”
So if you’re reading this, Caroline, you’re not getting a car. Or jewelry. Or even a Cross pen.
We may go get ice cream, though. Depends on whether you finish in the top 10 percent of your class.
For crying out loud, it’s elementary school — you know, ABCs and addition and subtraction and recess and nap time. Everybody graduates from elementary school! I think they should hold a special ceremony for the kids who DON’T make it to sixth grade. They can wear a dunce cap and gown.
I mean, really? Graduation from elementary school? What’s next, the fifth-grade prom?
But wait, it gets better — now, even preschools are holding graduation ceremonies.
I wonder what music plays as the, um, “graduates” march in for the ceremony? “Poop and Circumstance”?
Anyway, congratulations to the Class of 2013. Now, go to your room and clean up those Tinker-Toys!
jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579