Congratulations are in order. For everything. Finished high school or college? Congratulations! Getting married or divorced? Kudos! Hope that works out for you. You say you just started your first job? Woo hoo! Guess you'll kinda miss living in mom's basement. On the upside though, once you find your own place, that's another reason to celebrate! Party on, dude!
There has to be a card for that. Maybe a diploma. After all, there are certificates and diplomas for every big, and little, accomplishment we achieve. I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane in 1973 with a parachute, and I earned a 'FIRST JUMP' certificate. Can't prove it though, seeing as it burned up in a house fire that same year, along with my jump boots. If it hadn't, I doubt I would have it hanging on the wall today as if it were some major accomplishment. Apparently, you can also earn a 'FINAL JUMP' parachute certificate too. Most folks know it by it's more common moniker: DEATH CERTIFICATE.
We may be overdoing the recognition thing when we enjoy having Kindergarten graduations. They are cute as all get-out, no doubt about it. Who doesn't love watching five-year-olds recite the alphabet in French at the end of an taxing year of counting, colouring, being read to and telling the teacher stories from home that would curl the hair on a pig's tail? And, it is a major transition from the life at ease the kids knew before school. But seriously, was there really an intention that a Kindergarten graduation would someday require tuxedo rentals for five-year old boys, and/or the wearing of caps and gowns?
About the only thing missing from a Kindergarten graduation is a Kindergarten prom, which likely should have remained unmentioned, seeing as someone reading this is going to see it as an idea for next year's class. If you're on the same page as me about this, you might begin to wonder what's next. I think I know. Pre-school graduation. Apparently, if five-year-olds graduating from Kindergarten is cuter than a button, four-year-olds graduating from pre-school is even cuter. Which begs the question, what standard is used to measure something cuter than a button?
Graduating from High School has always been a pretty big deal, even when you consider that, really, it's a minimum education milestone we've established for those about to reach adulthood. Everything after that is personal gravy. In the course of human evolution, we've gone from celebrating successful mammoth hunts through painting the whole story on a cave wall somewhere in France (hence the need for Kindergarten French), to including the news that our three-year-old finally pooped in the potty in the annual Christmas notice we send out to everyone we think would get a kick out of that. There is no doubting that life should be a celebration. It`s just that the line between spectacular achievement and minimum expectation may be getting a little blurred.
Imagine for a moment that you took the time to frame every certificate and diploma you have ever earned, and then hung them in a conspicuous place for all to see. Add to that the right to follow your name with every designation you've acquired, and you might see our propensity to over-celebrate. Little Johnnie Walker, 'graduating' from Kindergarten, might effectively and correctly follow his name with P.Sg, Kg., as in Pre-School graduate and Kindergarten graduate, before he makes it to first grade.
A friend of mine was a meat cutter and instructor before he became a lawyer. He has his meat cutter certificate mounted next to his law degree in his office, something that used to drive his superiors crazy. He would insist over and over again to them that the two professions had a lot in common.
Some things are worth celebrating, even if their ultimate purpose results in others looking at you just a little funny. By the way, this may be my 800th column. I hope my certificate is in the mail. Are you looking at me funny?