Saturday, May 27, 2017

One Slight Distraction

Graduation. It happened. It was amazing. The valedictorian sounded like a seasoned president; the salutatorian spoke like a high school Oprah Winfrey.  The closing song was a choir, symphony, organ, rendition of Come Thou Font of Every Blessing leaving the audience wanting more. With less than a 100 seniors, the calling-of-names, diploma handing, cheezy photo-op with the principal, it didn't last forever. It went way too fast. So did the year, so did our time together. So goes life, like the flash of a camera.

There was only one minor snag: a prank, and it was hardly noticed. It came from our star-dissident pupil. The one I had to pray over, ignore his drawing on the board, hope to uplift, and eventually not worry about. One's fate is in one's own hand--and the sooner you give it to an 18 year old, the better. In the nano-seconds after he received his diploma, he pulled a trigger that inflated his gown, as in cap and gown. One minute he was the skinny high school nuisance, and the next he was Fat Albert.

The director grimaced, the academic VP ignored, and unfortunately for the boy-who-craved-attention, the audience missed the subtlety of his well-timed prank. It took me a second to realize what had happened and it wasn't that powerful of a gesture...but this morning every time I see him inflate in my mind's eye, I giggle, laugh, and giggle again.

Kudos to him, for reaffirming what he's proven over the last nine months-- he'd be the first man voted off the island.

Then why am I laughing? Because he's a kid, and science has shown that the pre-frontal cortex (the brain's decision making center), in teenagers isn't fully developed and won't be for a few more years. He was acting like a kid, a teenager, the demographic with outrageous insurance driving rates, and with statistics that prove they are most likely to incur injuries and even die from accidents--they miscalculate, assume invincibility, and jump. Into shallow ponds.

This is why it's easy to laugh at a prank that pumped air into his graduation gown. The consequences were fleeting, the notice was almost nil, and I'm thankful I can replay the moment when he doubled his size.

If I could, if it mattered, if he even had a sniff of possibly valuing what I said, I would thank him for choosing wisely in his moment of glory.

And possibly...our jokester wouldn't get voted off the island--he may be just what we needed, what I needed the entire school year--the harder the journey, the greater the moment of arrival.

Chuckle, chuckle. I have the best job in the world. I can't wait for next year's seniors.

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