We here at MojoFiction have a teenage son who has decided it’s in his best in interest to grow older. We think this is a bad idea because it means we will soon have to buy him a car. On the other hand, we envision a recreation of the scene in Transformers (the good movie; you know which one) where we drive through the Porsche lot with our son and then laugh as we exit and arrive at a used car lot full of rusty station wagons.
We are also very eager to embarrass him in front of his new girlfriend. When he gets to that age. He’s not there yet, hence the grow older thing, which, if you recall, is a bad idea.
Anyway, nature appears to have hand in this growing older thing (for which we will talk to you later, nature), and our son is now moving on to high school. That sounds like a normal thing, but he recently informed us of an unexpected event while we sat at a Buffalo Wild Wings and wondered how the Cubs would blow it that night.
MojoFiction: “So, school’s out for summer.”
Teenage Son: “Why are you headbanging?”
MojoFiction: “School’s out forever!”
MojoFiction: “How were your grades?”
Son: “A’s all the way around.”
MojoFiction: “Good deal. We hoped you were smart. We just weren’t sure.”
Son: “Are you coming to graduation?”
Son: “It’s tomorrow night.”
So there’s a real thing called Eighth Grade Graduation. We thought it was a myth, like kids who clean their own room without being asked to. But for graduation there would be student speakers and everything. Because reminiscing on your couple of years of middle school is such a cathartic experience. They had spent the last two weeks at the local high school gym practicing their entrances and exits and standing and sitting and looking bored and wishing Dad would stop pointing at them from the audience while headbanging.
Why would eight graders go through all this? we wondered aloud. Even though our waiter had no idea and politely declined to become involved, we resolved to get to the bottom of things. It turns out that there is an entire system devoted to celebrating the transition from super-cool eighth grader to pimply high-school freshman that doesn’t want to take the time to shave that sweet new mustache that he thinks he’s growing because he needs to get on Snapchat before he misses all the fun of whatever Snapchat does. Is it tax software?
After threatening to never buy our son a car when he turns sixteen, he finally handed over a top secret, unredacted copy of “Eighth Grade Graduation Protocols of 2019.” Take it from us, this is all true.
The 10 protocols to be strictly observed by all students:
- The graduating student is not allowed to tell their parents of said graduation event more than 24 hours ahead of time. When they do inform their parents, they must act like it’s no big deal even though it really is.
- The ceremony will be held in a high school gymnasium so sterile that it vaguely resembles a paddle cell and causes parents much concern.
- It will be insanely hot inside, regardless of the temperature outside. No air conditioning, or even a fan, will be provided.
- The emcee will, at some point, ask parents to hold their applause until the end.
- The parents will absolutely ignore this request.
- All the student speakers will be girls because of reasons that are either really empowering or possibly sexist and MojoFiction does not wish to get himself into trouble pursuing the glory of a risky joke. So just assume the empowering reasons.
- Speakers will talk about what they learned over the last three years. Math, probably. But mostly how they monetized their Twitch stream devoted to their brilliant skill at Apex Legends and now they make more money than most of the parents in the room. And then they will ask you follow their Twitch stream, which you will because you suck at Apex Legends and really need some pointers.
- The jazz band will play and sound okay for the most part, except for one person who somehow turns out a transcendent trombone solo. That may sound funny to the teenager in you, but, remember, this is all true.
- Students will tell no one about the protocols.
- The spice must flow.
Naturally, this information did nothing to answer any of our questions. But there was one final shoe about to drop.
MojoFiction’s very own son asked us if we were coming to his graduation party.
MojoFiction: “There’s a party celebrate this … milestone?”
Teenage Son: “It’s this weekend. At Mom’s house.”
MojoFiction: “You want us to hang out at our ex-wife’s house for … any length of time?”
MojoFiction: “Didn’t Michelle Obama warn you about divorced dad?”
Son: “Yeah. That was some sexist shit.”
MojoFiction: “You ARE ready for higher education.”
Son: “And there’ll be cake.”
MojoFiction: “We’ll be there.”