Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Graduation Day
Matt Seinberg

Today was a day I was looking forward to, yet dreading with every fiber of my male being. My 14-year old daughter Michelle actually graduated from middle school.

For those of you who have no idea what middle school, it's what junior high used to be. Junior high was grades 7-9, and high school was grades 10-12. Middle school is now grades 6-8 and high school is 9-12.

In a previous column, I mentioned buying a Louisville Slugger baseball bat, the Derek Jeter model as a way of not only keeping my two daughters "in line," but to keep potential boyfriends as scared as I possibly could. I think Derek is going to see a lot of action in high school.

Graduation day began at 7:15 am, when we all got up. Michelle was nervous about the moving up ceremony. My 9-year old, Melissa, thank goodness, decided to behave this morning and do what we told her. She got ready for school in a good way, today.

My wife, Marcy, was doing her morning freak out. At least she made coffee with breakfast, though for some reason it didn't taste right. I forgot to ask if she used the Dunkin' Donuts or the cinnamon flavored stuff a friend got me from Guatemala.

After Michelle got dressed, Marcy discovered that there was a very nice stain on the left rear section of the dress. Oh well, too late to do anything about it now. We all pile in the car, first to drop Melissa off at school and then go to the middle school.

Holy cow, the amount of cars at the school was staggering! I guess everyone decided to get there early. The graduates seemed to have invited as many people as they possibly could. At times, such as this day, I think people don't know how to drive. I made a beeline for a side street to park, luckily finding a spot. I was also hoping it wouldn't rain. I had no umbrella, and was dressed for work.

We enter the school gym, which wasn't air-conditioned; it felt like a sauna. We see Marcy's parents holding seats, in probably the worst area possible. My mother in law wanted to sit up in the bleachers so we could get decent pictures. My father-in-law wanted to sit in a metal folding chair on the gym floor. Guess what, a huge man ended up sitting in front of him!

The processional starts. This is what prompted me to write this story. The eighth grade boys are the biggest, geekiest, most awkward group of young raging hormones I have ever seen. They also have no clue on how to dress.

Their shirts-tails hang outside their trousers; ties don't go with the untucked shirts. Their hair is either uncombed style or a mess, depending on your age. For the most part, the eighth grade boys look like they just rolled out of bed.

The girls on the other hand are for the most part well poised, dressed very well, and look great. This is where I hope that every father has a Louisville Slugger, or some other weapon of choice to keep those raging hormones on two feet away from their daughters.

I look at some of my daughters classmates that I haven't seen for 3 years. I wonder what happened to them. They went from awkward fifth graders to lovely and poised eighth graders. I'm wondering if I have to form a club of the fathers of these girls, when our daughters reach ninth grade so we can patrol our neighbourhoods to ward off the ninth grade raging hormones that pass for boys.

Hey, I was a ninth grade raging hormone not that long ago. I know what such boys think and what they want. Well, they are not getting it from my daughter. I will lock her up and throw away the key if I have to, just to keep those raging hormones away.

I did things in ninth grade that surely appalled the fathers of my girls my age and would have done more things that I am thinking now are nasty. Please notice I have not yet used the "S" word, and will not do so.

Being a parent is so different from being that raging hormone. I give fair warning to all those 9th grade boys that are plotting what they want to do with those 9th grade girls; don't even think about it. You will fear, and feel the wrath of the Father. Make no mistake about that. Derek, the Louisville Slugger, is not afraid to make contact.

Just think, I get to go through this all over again in two years when Melissa goes to middle school. Hot dog, I can't wait.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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