The beginning of June marks graduation time. And most people think of high school graduation in June, although my neighbors threw an eighth grade graduation party yesterday for their daughter. I never saw a lot of purpose in those. After all, isn't the kid going on to high school? Or are they going to lease her out to some sweat shop in Thailand to make Nike apparel? College graduations are also a big deal, but those are usually held at the first of May, which only makes sense if you realize that if they didn't, mid-term finals would be held after the Christmas holiday, and if you've ever had to study for finals during your Christmas break like I did for two years, it's just about the biggest bummer in the world.
While I was going through the news this morning, I ran across several articles about high school seniors who were being honored posthumously. Because of statistical probability, the death of a high school senior by accident, illness or other causes will no doubt occur in at least one high school in any given geographical area. In fact, this did happen at my high school during my senior year.
WARNING: If you have been following this blog and still consider me to be a nice decent fellow, stop reading here and find something else to occupy your time. If, on the other hand, you have already determined that I am a cynical prick, you can continue on.
In any high school of size, you'll find approximately the same groups of people. There are the popular nice people, the not-so-popular nice people, the unknowns, the respected bad-assess and the jerk-ass punks. I'm not overly fond of the bad-assess, but they do command a certain awe and respect from students and teachers alike, mainly because they never tend to make trouble at school. The jerk-ass punks are another matter. They run in packs, prey on the weak and helpless, and are generally hated by officials within and outside the school.
In my particular class their names were Steve, Karl and Andrew. Steve, the leader, was a handsome little gnome, who was mad at the world because he couldn't grow over 5' 2". Karl was dimwitted and Andrew was just a large sociopath. When in school, they would terrorize the special education kids and anyone they thought they could muscle. When not in school, they committed petty vandalism, but not enough to keep them constantly on police radar.
One fine Spring day, the three cut school early and raided Steve's family liquor cabinet and then went out for a drive. Steve, Steve's GTO, Karl and Andrew said hello to a stationary flat bed trailer at 80 mph and made a hasty departure from the living.
What surprised me the most about the aftermath, was not my apathy, although it was laced with some satisfaction that these assholes wouldn't be bothering anyone else. The surprise was the outpouring of fake grief. Miraculously, these three shit heels had been elevated to a status reserved for saints, and when the school administrators, who knew better, allowed a free pass to any student who wanted to attend the funeral, nearly 90 percent of the school population took them up on the offer. The local paper later reported that only about 70 people attended the services, which left about 1,200 students unaccounted for, and many were later to be heard thanking Steve, Karl and Andrew for giving them the day off. I attended school that day and all of my classes had only a few people in them. The instructors just let us read on our own.
That was my introduction to hypocrisy on a large scale.
The three were mentioned at the graduation ceremony, and were given their own "In Memoriam" page in the year book. Whenever I glance at it, I still think "what a waste of paper and ink".