Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Exhausting Graduation

The long-term rewards for sending my son off to college are yet to be realized. But I can tell you what the immediate payoff is, a climb up four flights of stairs to a dorm room in the attic. 

Yes, four flights of stairs! And, as we all know, I'm not getting any younger. Thank you Yale University or, as I like to call it, "No Country for Old Kin." 

I'm in New Haven, Connecticut for my son's graduation.  I now know why the program they hand out here says "Graduation Exercises." The kid graduates and the old man gets all the exercise. All of the proper hotel rooms in this town apparently were reserved long ago by parents who evidently had more confidence than I did in their child's ability to timely matriculate from college. When back in July of last year I tried to reserve a hotel room for this occasion I found that graduation weekend was already all booked up.

To the rescue (if you can call it that) came the Yale Housing Office with an offer of accommodations in one of the campus dorms. I snapped up the invitation.  Too bad they didn't tell me that it would be advisable to bring along a Sherpa and a supply of oxygen.

Yes, the phrase "high above a college campus" has a whole different meaning from the days when I was an undergrad. 

And those four flights of stairs must be hanky-panky inhibitors. You'd have to be George Clooney to be able to convince a girl to climb up those steep stairs to your room to see your "etchings."

Everywhere I go this weekend people keep telling me "congratulations." That's nice and all but honestly, I can only take credit for his good looks, he clearly got his brains from his mother.

My son's greatest worry whenever I write about visiting his school is that I will say something that will embarrass him. How am I doing so far?

I love the attention to detail that goes into graduation around here. The Dean of my son's residential college sent the following message in an e-mail to my son and his fellow classmates:

If you think that you may have an unusual or especially challenging first, last, or middle name please call my office and pronounce the name you want me to say when we hand you your diploma. After the beep, say your complete name three times slowly.

I can just see my son, who never leaves anything to chance, calling that number and saying, "Grant Smith, Grant Smith, Grant Smith."

How am I doing now? 

I think I better sign off. Somewhere on the other side of campus I can hear a voice saying, "Dad!"