I recently attended commencement ceremonies at the Dort Federal Events Center for the University of Michigan-Flint. Let me start by saying there were a lot of great young people there who did a great job with their college careers and my hat is off to all of them. Good luck!
What wasn’t so great was the downright rudeness and lack of respect shown by some young people in the audience who were there to cheer their friends on. There ought to be a class about this sort of thing taught to all college students before they go out into the world on their own as graduates, striving to become well-mannered, productive adults.
The first lesson in this class would be about respect, or the lack of it. Chapter one — Don’t talk as loud as you can during events other people would like to be able to hear.
As we sat there waiting for Anita’s daughter to receive her degree, we had the honor of seeing and hearing commencement speaker astronaut Story Musgrave. For anyone who followed the space program, who watched the Skylab missions and the space shuttle launches, Musgrave is a living legend.
I listened to him speak, but barely a couple minutes into his talk the drone of conversation from a group of mostly young men began to rise from behind us. They were all in their early 20s, loud and completely uninterested in what Musgrave (or anyone else for that matter) had to say.
So the Musgrave speech was a total loss. What I heard of it was good and for the graduates hopefully it was something that will help inspire them and be motivational to them for years to come.
The loudmouths, however, weren’t done there. They continued to talk through every speaker and right into the names of the graduates being called to receive their diplomas. Fed up with their extreme rudeness, I was coming close to losing my patience when beside me, Anita stood up and yelled at them, “do you think you guys can talk a little louder, we all can’t hear you!”
Immediately the boys (men isn’t a title they are ready for) burst out laughing and one replied, “No, we can be louder!”
So I stood up. I turned and gave them my best angry old man stare and said, “No, why don’t you all shut up and be quiet so we can hear the names called. You’ve already ruined all the speeches, now shut up!”
Most of them had nothing more to say. One blurted out an expletive in my direction, while another kept laughing. I zeroed in on funboy and said, “You think this is funny?” He didn’t have an answer, but his laughing said it all. I decided this was a good time for me to sit down, before I got myself in trouble. As I sat, though, everyone around me decided they’d heard enough too.
“You guys are ridiculous!”
“Why don’t you all shut your d*** mouths!”
Yes, that brings us to chapter two — Keep being a loudmouth punk and you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of an angry mob.
Needless to say, things got real quiet, real fast and we were able to enjoy what was left of the ceremony. Congratulations Sarah! We wouldn’t have missed it for the world. firstname.lastname@example.org