Last night was graduation for my brother and for me. it was a torturous affair, with nearly nine hundred students graduating, but we all survived. I felt more sorry for the audience than I did for us, the graduates. At least our chairs were padded and had backs. My brother did a fantastic job with the speech I wrote. His delivery was flawless -- nearly verbatim without reading it. We took a few shots at policies and oddities of the school system, which I'm sure were not appreciated by the administration and governing board, but the parents found it funny, as did our fellow raduates. I didn't know Matthew was that good.
The only conflict of the evening concerned the post-graduation celebration. There was an official school-santioned event held at a local recreation facility, with unlimited pizza and other foods, miniature golf, mini race cars, video games, pool, ping pong, basketball courts, a couple of lighted tennis courts, and other forms of entertainment, all to be enjoyed under the watchful eyes of parents and school personnel. Then there was a cool party, unsanctioned, to be held at the barn of one of the graduates' relatives somewhere out of the city limits.It was even in an adjacent county. (We have about ten county borders within less than an hour's drive of our home.) I don't know if the relative of the graduate even lived anywhere near the barn or knew anything about the party. I was invited presumably due to my relationship to Matthew, who is cool. I am decidedly uncool. Another option existed, of course, which was to participate in neither party.
Matthew and I had decided to accept the hospitality of the host of the cool party. He must have wanted to make the party large, because he dipped into the reserves of graduates whose qualifications of coolness were about as legitimate as were mine. All of my graduating friends were invited.
We paid the fees and were ready to go. (Being invited didn't mean it was free. As it turns out, booze costs money, and the kid hosting it didn't have the capital to provide what would be needed to make the party truly cool.
Then, of course my father found out. Matthew and I were heading out the door to the cool party at the same time he was leaving with my Uncle Scott, who graciously filled in for my mom, to do their chaperoning stint at the school-sanctioned party. When the car transporting us headed in the opposite direction, my dad followed us. He eventually got our driver's attention and got him to pull over. Daddy asked exactly where we were headed, and the foolish driver told him. (We would have been caught when we didn't show up at the official party, anyway. I hadn't counted on my parents signing up as chaperones; they usually are more sensitive than that.)
Dad asked everyone in the car if their parents were aware of their alternate party plans. Answers ranged from ambiguous to outrightly honest negatives. My dad told Matthew and me that we could come with Scott and him to the official school-sanctioned party or we could stay home. He told the others he didn't have the power to stop them from doing anything, but he would call my mom and have her telephone their parents to be sure they knew where their kids were if they chose to go to the cool party. One girl said she would like to go to the official party but she had already paid all her money to the host of the cool party. My dad said he would pay for any of us who didn't have enough cash to get in.
The six people originally in the auto with us (my dad made Matthew and me ride in his car) all showed up at the school-sanctioned party. I asked my dad if we could go back to our house for just a minute to get my racquet and tennis clothes because I wanted to play Uncle Scott. Dad got racquets for himself and Scott as well. They were already dressed in shorts and tennis shoes. I can't beat my dad on my best day possible, but I should beat Scott two times out of three. I admit to being not a very gracious winner when I beat him.
On the way, my dad suggested using our phones to let anyone we cared about know that even though he wouldn't rat out anyone who wasn't in the car with us who failed to show at the school-sanctioned party, chances are someone would or something else would go wrong. I called three people; two listened and one didn't. Matthew called about ten people; he was about fifty-fifty.
As much as it kills me to admit it, my dad was right. Someone who lived two miles down the road from the barn noticed unusual activity and called the sheriff of that county. Parents were called, and some people were arrested for underage drinking or possession of controlled substances (marijuana, I assume, but it could have been something worse for all I know), and the sheriff's deputies are still investigating where the booze and whatever else came from. The last kid was supposedly picked up from there by one-thirty. Twelve-thirty was the limit for entrance to the official event. So the cool people, in addition to whatever trouble they got from their parents and/or the law, got no party to speak of. There reportedly wasn't much to do there anyway besides drink and fraternize with members of the opposite sex in dark corners. There were many dark corners, as the place didn't even have electricity; the only light came from a few battery-operated lanterns.
In all honesty, I would've taken one look at the site and demanded to leave, but if the person who drove me there had refused to leave, I would've had to call for a ride and would have been busted by my parents anyway, unless I was lucky enough to reach my Aunt Heather, who's probably cool enough that she would've kept quiet about it.
You win, Daddy. I admit it. You're always right.
P.S. I wonder if the party was broken up in time, or if in about nine months some of our classmates will become parents. The whole thing was so ill-plannned that the hornier teens probably didn't plan for precautions, either.
P.P.S. I beat Uncle Scott 6-3, 6-2. The boys' tennis team's number one player challenged my dad. I told my dad that the kid is an insufferable bastard and that he should show little mercy. My forty-seven year-old father beat the jerk 6-0, 6-1. My dad gave him the one game, practically gift-wrapped with a card attached, but it was OK. The jerk's ego was properly recalibrated.