Sandra Tsing Loh's observations on high school graduation.
I've seen a couple of graduations now - Oh, the sunshine, the blue sky, the mortar boards flung into the air - and, at the high school ceremony I attended? The valedictorian gave us a new interpretation of Robert Frost's "Two roads diverged in a wood." It was an amazing display of SAT-honed rhetoric - And, I think what she was arguing, in the end? It doesn't matter which road you take. We humans tend to fixate on the two roads, particularly at graduation, whereas in the end, our lives are defined by many little roads. On the one hand, I marveled at a 17-year-old's confidence in a life philosophy - Particularly, because her Stanford scholarship, 4.75 GPA, archery state championship, and 312 hours of community service all seemed to point to the same road taken, again and again, on a super-charged hybrid Segway.
On the other hand, I appreciated the sentiment's generosity, given that our family friend Skip, also graduating, is taking the road that leads to community college. His GPA was a mere 3.8, and he's unsure about a major. But, here is the silver lining, on this road - Which recently led to my home, which Skip and two friends recently visited. It is true that I'm used to dealing with my two teen/tween girls, whom I adore but who can be a bit high maintenance, what with all the facial soaps and shampoos and special deodorants they require. By contrast, 17-year-old boys are just so affable and easy in their cargo shorts, which they wear every day, even sleep in, and use as a towel and napkin.
They are so easy you feel comfortable, well, asking them to do things, like - roll out the garbage cans, mend the fence with twist ties, even give my daughters rides, which... Oh my gosh - this is huge in Los Angeles! How much time do I spend driving my kids around? How much do we pay a male Filipino nurse to chauffeur my 93-year-old father? A ton! And, what did I give the boys? Nothing! Except...
Carbs! That's right. Because, unlike with my picky daughters, I was able to go into my beloved freezer case and pull out these long pallets of hash browns I bought from Smart and Final... when? Which year? Unsure. They were covered with ice, but... shove them in the oven at 350, add ketchup, and the boys were thrilled! Pair with Costco-bought bulk bread, tortillas, Cheerios - "This is amazing!" I exclaimed to my partner. "Carbs in, manual labor out! These young men have such wonderful uses!"
In short, kids, before you set off on that road in that wood, stay a while! The grass needs mowing.