Getting Gradually Worse


Iam pleased to announce that, despite the efforts of all the people who have tried to kill me over the years, I graduated a couple of weeks ago from Elsinore High School. This was an experience that I shall never forget, largely because of its unparalleled ridiculousness.

A high school graduation, after all, isn’t for the students who are graduating. It is for their parents. Goodness knows, if things were left up to the students, graduation would feature skilled acrobats and heavy metal groups and would be over in about ten minutes. This, of course, would upset the members of the community who have nothing better to do than go to graduation every year and complain if it is not long and boring enough.

You might think I am making these people up, but I am not. (I have come to the conclusion, in fact, that every type of person imaginable actually exists somewhere, so even if I do make a person up, he probably already exists anyway.) There are apparently a number of people who make it their special mission to let the school board know when graduation ceremonies are getting too short and interesting. Last year’s was particularly noteworthy for its low boredom factor, and the fact that it ended long before the buses left for Grad Nite at Disneyland, so the Graduation Police barged into a school board meeting and demanded that this situation be remedied.

But in actuality, graduation this year wasn’t really very boring at all, much to my surprise and the Graduation Police’s chagrin. The really boring part was the day before, when all 430 of us had to PRACTICE graduating. We hadn’t previously thought that graduation would require any rehearsal, considering all we have to do is march onto the football field, sit down, and start throwing beach balls around, but sure enough, it was declared that we needed to practice.

So we all showed up at eight in the morning, lined up in pairs, like Noah’s Graduation or something, and practice walking onto the football field and sitting down. The beach balls, unfortunately, were not available to rehearse with, so we had to “wing it” when it came time for the actual graduation. We also had to practice walking up to the front and having our names mispronounced by school administrators who claim to be our Best Buds and constantly insist that they are Here to Help Us during the school year, but who still think that my last name is pronounced “Schneider.”

We managed to survive this torment, though, and the actual graduation ceremony went rather well, and I’m sure I will always look back on my years at Elsinore High School with a certain fondness, unless I am trying to write a column, in which case I of course will have hated them.

And thus ended my two-year-long career of ripping on Elsinore High School and its administration in my column. The last paragraph sort of sums it up, I think. High school really was fun, and while even a couple years later it seemed insignificant as far as what real life is like now, I can still remember that at the time, it was a blast. The administration, as much as I made fun of it, didn't ruin my high school career or anything; in fact, with the silly things they sometimes did, they even enhanced it and made it funnier.

This column also addresses something that I hope we can clear up once and for all: the pronunciation of my last name. Some people want to pronounce it "Shnider," because they know people whose names ARE pronounced that way, and they think "Snider" is how you spell it. This is very, very wrong. If someone's name is pronounced "Shnider," then it is probably spelled "Schneider." (This was the name of the building superintendent, played by Pat Harrington, on "One Day at a Time.") If someone's name is spelled "Snider," then it is pronounced "Snider." There is nothing tricky about it. There are no silent letters, nor are there invisible letters. Sni-der. SNIDER.

I won't even address the "Snider/Snyder" issue. I'm aware that "Snider" is an uncommon spelling, but you will just have to deal with that.

What I didn't mention in this column was that some people actually NEEDED that graduation rehearsal. Anyone who needs practice graduating from high school shouldn't be ALLOWED to graduate from high school.

Because of the trauma and boredom of my high school graduation, I did not attend my college graduation. I figured, I've been in college for five years; I think I've sat through enough speeches. This is just going to be yet another meeting with yet another speaker boring me yet further. I went to New York that week instead, which was infinitely more fun.