The Horror of Graduation and My Dad’s Pursuit to Get the ‘Money Shot’
We’re nearing the end of June, and you know what that means…graduation. If you’re a high school student, it means that you’re probably finished with your final exams, and if you’re a college student, it means that your convocation is just around the corner; the moment when you finally receive your diploma/degree/piece of paper that cost you between $10,000 and $80,000. *Sigh*…what a glorious time.
It’s a great feeling getting your diploma/degree. You feel as though you have actually accomplished something HUGE that you never thought you’d be able to do. For that reason alone, I was so excited to attend my convocation ceremony a few years ago and receive that piece of paper with my name on it. Each graduate was able to invite 4 people to the ceremony, and I (of course) made sure to include my parents. I was so excited to have them watch me head on up to that stage and have a degree conferred on me. I was, however, also aware of my Dad’s ability to embarrass me at the most inopportune moments as well, so I made sure to say these exact words to him: “Dad, please do not embarrass me. Please. Just don’t make a scene. Whatever may go through your head as something that might be funny or clever to do, I need you to thwart that idea and just…stop. Please. Just…please.”
My Dad very kindly agreed that we would do nothing at all to embarrass his little girl on her big day.
That promise lasted for about a half hour.
Our convocation ceremony was held outside on a bright sunny day beside the river on our campus. I was standing in line, waiting for the dean to call my name, absolutely ecstatic that, finally, all of my years of hard work were about to pay off. When I actually heard my name, I was so excited and immediately looked in the direction where I knew my parents were sitting. I wanted them to get a really great photo of me receiving my degree.
Apparently, my Dad had the same thought.
As I made my way down the aisle on the opposite side of the stage, I knew that I would literally be walking right past my parents as they had seats right near the aisle. I thought that would give them a good enough shot; my Dad did not. As I was heading their way, degree in hand, smiling from ear to ear, my Dad proceeded to get up onto his chair to get an even better shot. I remember thinking to myself, “What is he doing? Why is he standing on his chair when everyone else is seated?? This is so embarrassing!”
And then, it got worse.
Because our ceremony was held outside, the chairs that were used were the outdoorsy kind…they weren’t as strong as the indoor ones. Just as I was about to walk past my family, I thought I may as well make the best of the situation and give a large smile. If my Dad was going to go through all of this effort to just get one shot, then I may as well do whatever I could to ensure he was pleased with it.
No sooner had I decided to literally grin and bear it, then we all heard a large BANG like the sound of a gunshot. I looked at my Dad, absolutely horrified. His chair had collapsed and he had fallen straight to the ground. At first I was just shocked at what happened. After all, my Dad is in no way overweight, so as embarrassing as it was to have him standing on the chair when everyone else was seated, I didn’t think the chair would actually break.
And then, I went from being horrified to being mortified (that’s worse, right?).
Apparently, there was a girl sitting directly behind my Dad, and when the chair broke, the full force of the travesty (it was a travesty in my mind…don’t judge me) landed on her leg. We all thought her leg was broken (it wasn’t), and we felt terrible. The girl just couldn’t stop crying. My Dad kept apologising. I kept staring at the whole thing in sheer horror. All of the guests gasped. My classmates were all piling up behind me in the aisle because I hadn’t moved in several minutes…the embarrassment of it all just completely stopped me in my tracks. The ceremony kept going.
Once the girl had realised that she was okay, she stopped crying. I looked at my Dad and he looked at me. We both shook our heads at the same time as if to say, “how much more ridiculous could this be?” And then we both laughed.
I continued on my way down the aisle, trying to shield myself, hoping that everyone would just forget what had just happened. They didn’t. My friends stood beside me after receiving their degrees and they just burst out laughing. I couldn’t help but laugh too.
When the ceremony was completely over, I walked over to my Dad and said, “What…what were you thinking?! Who does that??” Well, apparently, my Dad. 🙂 We still laugh about it today.
Worst. Graduation story. Ever.
It must be said, though, that my Dad got the money shot. One of the coolest graduation photos I’ve seen yet!
So, to all of you graduating this month, Congratulations! I just hope that your ceremony goes a little more smoothly than mine did, and if not, please do share your story! It would be nice to hear one that’s more embarrassing…
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Tags: Canada, ceremony, College, commencement, convocation, Degree, Diploma, Education, embarrass, graduation, humor, photo, school, University