Friday, September 22, 2006

La Guardia College held its graduation today at Madison Square Garden — and you can hold that puzzled expression on your face till later, because as you'll see, La Guardia College doesn't specialize in rational thought. I was just walking through the Garden, coming across the occassional person in a cap and gown, and not thinking much of it until... "Wait a second, classes just started like two weeks ago. What the hell?" But I was at one of the six Starbucks within a block of Madison Square Garden (yes, I counted that correctly) and I met this woman whose granddaughter was graduating; we started a conversation and apart from the way too much personal information she was giving me, she said that La Guardia College was what I can only pray was trying out a new graduation tradition.

You see, at a normal graduation like mine, you've got the dean of the school making an insipid speech whose triteness is more or less an insult to the four years of hard work and beer drinking you put in to reach this point. You've got the salutatorian and the valedictorian, who's been a little dipshit suck-up intellectual wanker since freshman orientation, giving their boring words of encouragement for the future, and years of planning the same event over and over again have taught the Graduation Committee that it's by this time that the entire audience will riot if they don't get to calling the names already. Which is what they did at the La Guardia graduation... except they thought it would be nice if each and every one of the thousand-plus graduates made a little speech upon receiving their diploma.

I heard this, and I mean, I wasn't even at the graduation — I was across the street and in Borders the whole time — and I wanted to shoot myself. I get that as a parent, it's nice and cute to see your kid get their diploma, get up on stage and thank the friends and family (sometimes in English, sometimes not) to end their college career... but who the hell is so damn short-sighted that they don't realize absolutely no one wants to see or hear the other nine-hundred ninety-nine graduates, because WE HAVE LIVES!!! Except for my dad. He'd stay for the whole ordeal.

Now, I'm going to keep up a little bit of faith in humanity and assume that this is the first — and last — time La Guardia College holds the awards-show variant graduation. You're the dean of a college, so you should be able to do some math — one-thousand students times, let's imagine, sixty seconds per student (including the inevitable applause that people are incapable of holding until the end), equals... I think they'll finish the ceremony by the time the Knicks are going to need the stadium.