My graduation from USF last year was as eventful as a Chevy Chase Vacation movie.
Yesterday my brother's USC college graduation was as perfect as LeBron James's arms.
My graduation ceremony was at 9am. The school ordered us to arrive at 8am. I awoke at 7:40am when a friend pulverized my room door. I groaned like a woman in labor and sat up. I noticed my then-boyfriend curled in the fetal position on my floor as I labored to recall the previous evening's activities. My cognizance ceased at the second bar. I later learned we visited four. The blaring music from the kitchen resembled dynamite to my fuddled ears and I scampered to the shower and scuttled downstairs to retrieve my gown from the dry cleaners. We left the apartment at 8:20am and it wasn't until we reported to campus that I realized my grad cap was AWOL. I MacGyvered one from a table and melted with the grad masses in line pondering if I should sit near people I didn't know so when I threw up in the middle of the ceremony nobody I knew would notice.
My brother roused himself at 9:15am, catapulted water on his hair, dressed in his grad gown, and appeared on campus to witness Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's speech.
During my ceremony I oscillated between consciousness/nauseousness and comatose. My brother, lucid, felt good and slightly tipsy. I felt like a member of the Donnor Party.
A van of my relatives drove north to San Francisco from Long Beach for my 9am ceremony. Five of my cousins, my aunt, and uncle departed LB at 3am. My aunt experienced migraines. She threw up four and a half hours of the drive. The van parked seven blocks from the campus. My aunt ejected herself from the Abominable Automobile thinking she could make it to the ceremony. She sprung to the nearest tree like Marion Jones, threw up, and returned to the car. She lay in the car for the duration of the ceremony.
My immediate family flew in to Southern California the day before my brother's ceremony. The farthest anyone (including aunts, uncles, grandma, cousins) had to travel the day of was forty minutes. Everyone emerged early.
As my body was under the impression that I was dying, so too were my graduation speakers. Three of three discussed cancer and death. Nobody mentioned our accomplishments or hope for the future. They commented on our mortality in monotone drones. My family exited my graduation depressed.
My brother's speakers were fantastic. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (the Governator) was as amusing as Larry the Cable Guy's Letter to My Penis. He opened with congratulating the graduates, which comprised twenty-three hundred females, twenty-two hundred males, and five undecided.
He revealed his three secrets for success:
1: Come to America
2: Work your ass off
3: Marry a Kennedy
Schwarzenegger spoke of how anything is possible. As a pre-teen in a small town in Austria, he posted pictures of oiled, muscular men on his wall. His mother called the family doctor, thinking something was wrong with her son.
His mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, was integral in actualizing the Special Olympics. He declared, "Everybody thought if you put the retards in a pool, they will drown. Well, they didn't. And today the Special Olympics is one of the most important events for the mentally disabled in the world."
My family and I exited my brother's graduation laughing and elated.
After my ceremony we relocated to a restaurant overlooking the beach called Cliff
House. Helicopters and fire engines awaited us. We learned that someone was stuck on the cliffs below the restaurant, thus the brigade. When we were seated, there were placards at each seat stating: "Happy Graduation Rachel," and the menu options. Forty-nine minutes later our waiter delivered new ones saying "Happy Graduation Kara." My uncle never received his meal.
After my brother's ceremony we walked a few blocks to a Mexican restaurant. There were no complications.
After my graduation lunch we appeared at the grad party in Golden Gate Park that six of my friends and I had organized for a shared family/friend celebration. Halfway through billows of smoke surfaced in the sky. An unintentional fire had been started in another part of the park. Again, ambulance and fire engine sirens accosted our ears like Paris Hilton barrages retail stores.
My cousin's family hosted a grad party for her and my brother. There were no complications.