Sometimes I get unnecessarily annoyed, so this could admittedly be one of those occasions. But I don’t think so.
Ever since the beginning of June, the Connecticut landscape has exploded with painted bed sheets congratulating recent high school graduates on their achievements. Hanging on fences, across bridges, and and between trees and poles, these sheets are everywhere, and I can’t help but feel that:
- The world was a much better looking place without them
- Graduation celebrations were hardly wanting before the advent of the celebratory sheet
- We may be overvaluing the high school diploma
Far be it for me to underscore the value of education, but in my mind, a high school diploma is the expectation for every young person.
It is a student’s job.
In return for housing and food and clothing, a kid is supposed to get an education in order to become self-sufficient and self-sustaining, and while graduation is a time for celebration, I’m not entirely sure that it is sheet-worthy.
After all, I have to assume that some of these sheets are congratulating lazy, talent-wasting kids whose GPAs are well below the Mendoza line.
Could we at least establish a sheet worthy criteria, because based upon what I have seen over the past two weeks, every kid in town has a celebratory sheet.
I also worry about the inevitably expanding nature of such public celebrations. While ranting about these sheets recently, a friend called me a curmudgeon and suggested that I “get over it.”
“There’s nothing wrong with celebrating a lifetime of academic achievement,” he said.
“Sure,” I agreed. “Celebrate." But do we have to hang bed sheets all over town? What happened to a handshake and a party? Even a gift is fine. But a sheet? It strikes me as a game of one-upmanship by a bunch of parents with too much time on their hands.
You watch. This is just the beginning.
An hour later after this conversation, I drove past a sheet celebrating a student’s graduation from sixth grade.
As my wife said, every grade until high school is practically an automatic pass.
Graduating from sixth grade is akin to potty training.
Everyone does it.
But what began as the draping of sheets across bridge abutments has now expanded to the draping of sheets all over town, including some of the most prime real estate available.
And now we have sheets for kids who have survived middle school.
Elementary school? Pre-school? GEDs?
Will we have bed sheets congratulating children on their green belt in karate? Their most recent Boy Scout merit badge? Are parents going to start hanging sheets when their kid wins a soccer tournament?
A school raffle?
How about when their kid finally finished War and Peace?
Congratulations, Jimmy! Tolstoy would be proud! We are, too!
Don’t laugh. It could happen if we don’t do something to stop this insanity.
I was at dinner with a like-minded friend last night, explaining the situation in detail, and he liked my proposed solution to the recent celebratory sheet proliferation:
Spray-paint all the celebratory sheets in the area with messages like:
This was meant for sleeping, moron.
Unfortunately, our wives overheard our conversation, and Elysha asked me not to do it. One of the very few times in our relationship that she asked me to refrain from something.
So I might not.
But I’m still considering it.