Graduation Day

"Watching the stars fall/a million dreams have all gone bad/think of all we had." That's the beginning of the second verse of Chris Isaak's song "Graduation Day." I think it's about him getting dumped by his senior-year girlfriend during the senior all-night party. Boy, I bet that girl felt really stupid for dumping Chris Isaak after she saw the video for "Wicked Games" and realized that Chris Isaak can do lots better than her.

Abu Halen takes ninja star hat throwing seriously.
The quoted lyrics from "Graduation Day" might also apply to law school graduates this spring. Some of us have had our hearts broken, just like Chris Isaak, having assumed we'd be making $150,000 coming out of school, and having found that we're, well, not. There is, of course, the threshold question of whether law grads actually have hearts, law school being carefully designed to shrink and shrivel students' hearts to the size and appearance of peach pits -- gradually, of course, so as not to alarm students' families, who suddenly realize one day during their loved one's 3L year that they can't remember the last time they heard their loved one say, "You are right on this point of discussion; I am wrong on this point of discussion."

That paragraph I just wrote has only two sentences. I clearly failed the part of law school where they teach you to write "clearly" and "concisely." I am not certain what those words even mean, but I think they have something to do with efficient window washing.

BYU put on a very nice pre-graduation luncheon on the patio outside the law school on the afternoon of graduation day. I gamely attended, telling myself I would mingle expertly, like an insurance salesman, in spite of my natural reticence of mingling at mixer events. I did okay; I did mingle, but only with my buddies. So my salutations were limited to "What's up, man." I'll need to improve on this if I end up working as a diplomat in the Foreign Service, as "What's up, man," will probably not go over well with Saudi royals and sheikhs or Russian robber baron oligarchs/government ministers.

Where's Abu Halen? His big nose gives him away.
Two hours later I was with the other 145 members of my graduating class milling about, waiting to take our seats for the ceremony. The long, cavernous, white-walled corridor in which we waited reminded me for some reason of an insane asylum. I glimpsed my reflection in a glass door, saw myself dressed in robes; a weird, droopy, velvet cape turned partially inside-out; and a big, square ninja star on my head with a tassel lolling lamely over its edge, and I thought maybe I'm not so out of place in insane asylums. The food is quite nice, I'm told, though no gluten-free options, as if all crazies love wheat. P'shaw.

Later, during the ceremony, I sat on stage, partially blinded by soft red and white lights arrayed across the concert hall's distant ceiling like deliberately-placed stars. I could distinguish the outline of my son's white dress shirt in the balcony to my left, wiggling a great deal. My son, not the balcony. We were 45 minutes in; he was restless. But I had bigger problems.

I had to go potty super bad. I had chugged about 50 ounces of liquid in the hours preceding the ceremony, failing to link my actions with their inevitable consequences. As the pressure in my bladder increased, I willed it away. I ignored it. I called it naughty names in my mind. I shifted uncomfortably; my neighbors thought I was just hot. They were wrong. My bladder was on the verge of exploding. I wondered if an exploding bladder ruptures and then runs down and soaks one's pant legs, similar to one wetting one's pants, or whether it explodes and then you die, like an appendix. I hoped it was like an appendix. Better to die on stage during graduation than to wet one's pants and then have to smile with the Dean for a picture while he wonders what smells, right? Am I right?