Perhaps you’ve already read my last post that was inspired by Daily Post’s prompt about a song that brings back a memory. Well, I actually have an “honorable mention” response to that prompt, and it’s a fun one. However, it doesn’t involve my female side but rather my everyday male mode side. In fact, it was the night I graduated from high school (end of May 1987), and it loosely involves this song:
“We’re Ready” by Boston was selected by my senior year class as our class song. Just as “A Girl in Trouble” was a current song the day I got caught with my sister’s bathing suit in my dresser, “We’re Ready” was also a big hit by the time we got our high school diplomas. Though I admit I’m not too big of an album rock music fan, the lyrics to “We’re Ready” — heck, even the title of the song — perfectly encapsulated the optimism many of us felt as we headed out for the real world.
So, you may ask, how does “We’re Ready” play into my moment at high school graduation? For that, I’ll start a few days before the graduation ceremony, when we went through a compulsory rehearsal session. I mentioned before on here how we had to march to the Pomp and Circumstance music as we walked into the gym (“left foot forward, feet together, right foot forward, feet together”). Well, rehearsal was where that march was drilled into our heads. A key part of the ceremony, of course, was the moment we went up on stage, one by one, and received our diplomas after the school district administrator read each of our full names (first, middle, and last; yeah, it was a very formal ceremony).
At this point, without blowing my male mode identity, I must disclose two things: (1) My real last name is quite unique and hard for some to pronounce, let alone spell; and (2), my real initials are the same as that of the guy who be called up before me. (I will say this: His first name, and not my first name, was “David.” Keep that in mind for later.) Since, of course, the district administrator never really dealt with each of us on an everyday basis (he was the school administrator after all), I knew for certain he would mangle my last name. Sure enough, at the rehearsal, when the time came for him to read my name, he had to pause for a moment because he wasn’t sure how my last name should be pronounced. At least he got my first and middle names right, while I gave him a little bit of a primer on my last name’s pronunciation as I went up to the stage and “received” my “diploma.”
So, fast forward to the night of the actual graduation ceremony. We did the slow march, sat through all the speeches and honors, and heard the class president and valedictorian say a few words. Now, it was finally time for us to step toward the stage and get our diplomas. As the first name was read, the school band leader began to play “We’re Ready” on the piano. (Yeah, like they’d play the original with the invigorating guitar and rocking vocals; but if they did, though, the old folks in the audience would probably see their pacemakers skip a beat. *LOL*) We all went up by alphabetical order, meaning I and the guy before me were in the middle of the pack. (And, truth be told, “We’re Ready” had finished playing and the pianist had started on “The Greatest Love Of All” when it was my turn, but I still associate this moment with “We’re Ready.”) All before this, I was naturally excited, anticipating the moment when I would go onto the stage and make my graduation from high school official. But I still had a nervous feeling, hoping that the administrator would remember how to pronounce my last name but worried that he would forget. So, it was time for the administrator to call my name. He got my last name right, for all the world to hear…
But he gave my first name as “David.”
Yep, his eyes must’ve skipped back and re-read the first name of the guy before me. He called me “David.” And my first name isn’t “David.”
Oh, gosh, did I feel a bit embarrassed as I got out of my chair to head toward the stage. But, as I approached and passed by the administrator at the podium, I let him know of my actual first name, doing so for all the world to hear. It was a gentle, friendly corrective from me to him, but it was enough to get my real name on the record. “Oh, I’m sorry,” the administrator stated to the audience as he read my full, correct name.
Yeah, despite the error, I still got a bit of a chuckle out of it. So did the rest of the audience, as well as my parents (they let me know after the ceremony concluded). Was I mad? Of course not. I mean, it was my last moments as a high schooler; why not go out with a bit of humor and levity?
The dignitaries on the dais got a kick out of the correction as well. The administrator did, too, as he profusely apologized to me during the post-ceremony reception line. “Oh, don’t fret about it,” I told him, “you’re not the first person who got my name wrong and you won’t be the last… although I don’t ever recall being called ‘David’ before.”
To this day, I still get a laugh about that moment. My classmates, however, don’t recall it as vividly as I did when I mention the moment during our reunions, but that’s okay. At least I can remember going out with a laugh, especially after all those years of difficulties dealing with schoolwork and grades and teasing and the such. To paraphrase the lyrics of Boston, it was time when I was off on my way, doing so with a humorous moment at graduation. Yep, I was ready.