“Oh the Places You’ll Go”

40,000 punks can’t all be wrong, can they?

Tell that to the judge.

Every June, we know that the town will be invaded by thousands of “pre-froshes” ready to release their childhood angst somewhere around 3rd street and burst from their childlike cocoon that has been impairing their social skills like parental supervision.  Unfortunately, when they emerge into adulthood, they look more like a rap artist than the bright light of hope shining on for future generations.

The commencement season has just wrapped, and with it came the onslaught of motivational, inspirational, and motivational –in-order-to be-inspirational speeches from speakers at every university to the smallest of technical schools.

Celebrity thinkers and those that have cashed in on the American dream with their hard work success stories, are paid ridiculous speaking fees for the “honor” to put their two cents in to the future leaders of our country before they head off into the night to make some bad decisions and go both crazy and nuts.

Do hearing these speakers really motivate you to go out there and change the world, because as I recall, all I ever thought while graduating from anything was an amazing sense of relief.  Which, of course, was shortly followed thereafter by “when is this over, so I can really celebrate?”

Commencements are for the parents.  It’s a reason to bring the camcorder out of hiding and take a “mantle memory picture” that says, “look at my kid, he/she accomplished something special.”  The speakers are there to eloquently state what the parents have been telling their kids for their whole lives, and the parents, who realize that their kids are sick of listening to them after 17 years, are hopeful that they might listen to a celebrity thinker or savvy businessperson.

For my college graduation, we had 5-time Olympic gold medallist Bonnie Blair as the guest speaker.  I thought that it was odd that this woman, who came from a speedskating family and became the most famous and decorated speedskater of her time, would be at my little liberal arts college to talk about the parallels of training for success in the 500m and 1000m and me finding a job in journalism when I had no experience in the real world.

Years later, I realize that I probably should have taken notes during that speech rather than zone out thinking about the after party.  I didn’t realize then that even though I was graduating and knew a thing or two about a thing or two, I was still pretty clueless.

Which brings me to the senior week kids:  The June Bugs, the high school hoodlums, the future freshman flunkees, and any other mildly witty name that you can think of.

I would have to venture a guess that at least 40 percent of the high school graduates had some member of their student body get up and read “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss.  Somebody reads it every year.  It’s as big a part of commencement as “Pomp and Circumstance.”

I reread it the other day to my son, and I forgot how moving that children’s book is.  There’s a reason why it’s at every commencement.  It’s all those things that speeches should be.

It’s amazing that these kids that are cat-calling each other on the boardwalk, with their trucker-mouths, and whorish sense of fashion, are the future of tomorrow.  I’m not sure which is more unsettling, the way they treat adults or the way they treat each other.  Who raised most of these kids for chrissakes? 

You almost deserve getting woken up in the middle of the night to learn that your child has been arrested for being an idiot.

There’s a few things you june bugs need to learn, and that is basic street smarts around this little bubble.  I would be happy to give some tips for you, as perhaps karma may look kindly upon me someday for doing so.

Tip 1:  You aren’t that tough, so don’t fight anyone.

Your street cred will be ruined when you are cuffed and stuffed by a summer cop that is about three or maybe four years older than you.  If you are arrested on a Friday, expect to be away from sunlight until at least Monday.  This isn’t the old Veterans Stadium, a judge is not always on duty.

Tip 2: Porch drinking and Late Night Beach Excursions are just bad moves.

I’ve seen the places they rent to senior week kids, and here’s a quick tip: If you were old enough to go out to a bar and drink you would, because there isn’t an amount of domestic canned beer that could persuade anyone to stay home in those units.  As far as the beach goes, you aren’t the first person to ever think of hooking up in the lifeguard chairs, and sleeping on the beach will always get you arrested, so don’t.

Tip 3:  Painting your graduation year on your Bonneville is like putting a Grateful Dead sticker on a VW Bus.

You will realize this if you drive post-midnight any street north of 28th.  The cops that are stationed every three blocks are going to pull you over, because what else could you be doing that would compel you to drag race on Coastal Highway?

Tip 4:  There’s more than meets the DUI. 

Don’t forget about B.U.I—(biking drunk) B.B.U.I (being on the boardwalk while drunk), the other B.U.I.—boating while drunk, and my personal favorite, the non-criminal DUI (dialing under the influence).

This isn’t Vegas, what happens here doesn’t stay here, so don’t check your better judgment at the bridge like some of your parents do. 

Life is hard enough when you start where you are starting, so don’t stack the chips against yourself the moment you get to the big people’s table. 

you have brains in your heads, and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any which way that you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know, and you are they guy who’ll decide where to go.—Dr. Seuss

I figure there’s two ways that the senior weeks kids will remember Ocean City.

(And I will use the words of the good Dr. Seuss)

First, they might remember it as their “…sweet escape, all that waiting and staying, you’ll find the bright places, where boom bands are playing.”

On the other hand, The OC could end up being the place that gets them “all hung up in a pricklely perch, and your gang will fly on and leave you in a lurch.  You’ll come down from the lurch with an unpleasant bump, and then chances are, you’ll be left in a slump.”

I guess their good times will be determined simply by whether or not one of the places they went to included Club 65.

It shouldn’t take a graduate to figure that one out.

Email me at domspino@yahoo.com.