I graduated Saturday, with 6,500 other hung-over and sunglassed undergrads. Most of us were stoic and listless. At least until keynote speaker Gov. Jennifer Granholm warned us: “I know it’s hard to believe, but there are some U. of M. grads out there who have wasted the paper on which their diploma was printed, who have squandered their talents. There are some U. of M. grads who are complete and total losers. Here’s my first bit of advice: Do not be one of them.”
A chorus of boos greeted Granholm’s statement. I thought most of us were feigning mock horror, but after talking to friends and relatives afterward, I’m not so sure. It seems a lot of people were actually offended that she would insinuate that some of us are not (gasp) geniuses.
But Granholm was right. I was sitting around a few graduates who are already losers and many more who are headed straight for that status. For starters, there was the girl behind me who obviously was not part of the hung-over crowd because she was as chirpy as a chickadee, only shriller. Somehow, she thought it was funny to sarcastically woo her way through the commencement speeches and loudly poke fun at the dry, graduation-speak emanating from Michigan Stadium’s fifty-yard line. I’m all for unstuffing the stuffy, but the ceremony was already casual enough without her incessant chatter. At some point, these sorts of things become just plain disrespectful and rude; if she didn’t want to be there, she should have stayed back in her nest. Lest you think I exaggerate, let it be known that she wooed a reference to Sept. 11.
But Miss Tactless was not the only University grad cum loser we the tired and squint-eyed had to endure. I also happened to sit a few rows up from the Swingers/Brooklyn/Olive Garden crew (ie. ultra-moussed pretty boys with expensive watches, who high-fived and faux-gangster hugged some Tony Soprano-looking dude in the bleachers on the way to their seats). They were also the guys that stood up for their conferment like they were in a rap video, pounding their chests and spreading their arms out