The day was hot. Good thing I was mostly naked.
This day had been approaching for years, creeping closer like a maniac in an ax murder movie. And I knew from watching those movies, never to go off alone – it would get me.
Well, I forgot that lesson, went off alone, and it got me. My college graduation.
I don’t know how exactly my plan had gone wrong. It was brilliant. Pick a major I wouldn’t like, and right before I’d earned enough credits to graduate, switch to another major I wouldn’t like. Math, engineering, chemistry, history with an emphasis on calendar dates. To me, numbers are a foreign language, and with majors like this I’d never graduate.
And, if I never graduated, I’d never have to repay my student loans. Instead, I’d be free to live year after year sleeping until noon, eating frozen pizza, drinking vodka up my nose, and avoiding the thing the graduation ax murderer was chasing me toward – life.
Like I said, the plan was brilliant, but me? Not that brilliant.
“You ever think we’d make it?” my buddy Steve asked as we stood in line with a couple of hundred other graduating college students, sweating like I do sometimes in church.
I nodded. With all my planning, I knew somewhere deep inside my head, tucked away next to the time I saw my grandma naked, was the knowledge that college graduation was inevitable, mainly because I was too lazy not to graduate.
“Yeah,” I said, my legs unnaturally cool while the rest of me baked in the afternoon sun. “We might as well get it over with.”
The group of students we stood with began walking into the gym and Steve and I went with them, a wave of identical black caps and gowns. Well, almost identical. Like I said, I was mostly naked. Underneath my gown I wore flip-flops and big pair of flowery Hawaiian shorts with pockets deep enough to sink a ship. That was important.
College graduations are about as exciting as grits and, as Steve and I sat on hard metal chairs, I did something about it. I stuck my hand into one of those deep, flowery pockets and pulled out the reason my legs were unnaturally cool.
“Wanna beer?” I asked.
He grinned. I guess he did.
“You worried we’re going to get caught?” I asked.
Steve shook his head and grinned.
“What are they going to do?” he asked. “Kick us out of school.”
Yep, we finished the last day of college like we finished our first. And second. And third. And sophomore through senior years … with empty beer cans around our feet.
A few years later I met someone who was at that graduation. She even told me there were two jerks sitting in front of her drinking beer.
“I know,” I said. “One of those jerks was me.”