Monday, April 29, 2013

Ceremony and Tradition

*Warning: do not try this at home.  I have no intention of being a role model with this post.  I am not taking responsibility for your irresponsibility.  No no folks, I only take responsibility for my own lack of good judgement.*

This past weekend, I watched my very amazing husband walk across the stage to receive his Masters Degree.  I am.  SO. Proud.

 Can I just tell you how much I love this sneaky photo of a VERY proud 
PapaMcD snapping a picture of his son?

To be fair, The Mister actually completed his graduate work while we were still in Mexico.  And when he finished his course work from south of the border, his advising professor told him he could 'walk' if he wanted to when he came home.

The Mister had originally thought it didn't much matter, but when he said so to me, I set him straight.  I'm big on ceremony and tradition, and this is one of those that he had already put in the work for. I told him "You won't ever look back and say "Gosh, I wish I hadn't walked," but if you don't walk, you might regret it."  It was a lovely ceremony, and he was, in fact, happy to have gone through it.*

I got my Masters Degree in Texas; a state so embroiled in the importance of school tradition and ceremony it's almost cultish.  If you're from Texas and reading this saying 'I'm offended by that statement!'  Think of the last time one of your friends started a real, legitimate fight, due to them throwing up the 'hook 'em horns' sign in front of someone wearing maroon.  Because I'm 100% sure you have a story like that somewhere in your lexicon.

Anywhoozle.  Because I was in Texas, I received a class ring for FREE.  According to the alumni association, and my professors, there is nothing more important than showing off the proper Texan school from whence I received my education.  Whatevs, free ring, pretty awesome.  My ring came with a lengthy pamphlet, explaining the symbolism of every bit of the design (including a fire-hydrant built into the "U" of the word University, to commemorate a dog named Dammit who wandered campus back in the day.), and how to properly wear it (it needs to face IN on your hand until you've actually received your degree, then OUT towards the world/ people you would shake hands with after you've matriculated).  At some point I was talking with a friend about how I was impressed/ astounded at all the importance put into this little piece of metal, and was informed of the ring-dunking ceremony.

Full disclosure - I did not graduate from Texas A&M, and this is technically only an A&M tradition.  But the explanation stuck with me for years and I always kind of wanted to do it.  Here's how it works if you're not familiar:
Upon receiving your class ring, you must go -with your closest friends and family- to a bar.  At said bar, you purchase a pitcher of beer.  You drop your ring into the bottom of said pitcher, and then you have the year you graduated plus 100 seconds to chug that pitcher and catch the ring in your teeth.  (i.e., I graduated in 2008 so I would have had 108 seconds).  Only then is your ring considered legitimate.
Now, obviously, this is not a tradition that is sanctioned through Texas A&M's administration by any means, but that doesn't stop a good chunk of the student body from following it to the T.  Also notable - I was totally down to do such a silly thing while I actually lived in Texas, just to say I had, except I went to a University that was religiously affiliated with the Southern Baptists, and as such, I didn't really have any graduating friends who drank, or were willing to do this with me.

Cue spring of 2013, when the Mister brings home a flyer about class rings for HIS institution, and asks me if he should get one.

My very eloquent response?  "YES.  YES YOU SHOULD GET ONE RIGHT NOW.  butonlyifyoureallywanto.  Um, yes though. Please."

Once he actually received his massive ring (holy cow you could take a person out with that beast), I explained the ring dunking and asked if he would like to do it with me.  And because I clearly married the right guy, he was all about it.  So we planned to hold this very important ceremony directly following his very *actually* important graduation ceremony.

Now, the Mister and I are not college kids anymore, so we adjusted a bit to make sure we could do this without making our livers revolt for the next three days.

Here's how we set up our ring dunking:  We went to Hooters and recruited teams of Hooters girls to cheer for us (which was a blast in and of itself, because they were super confused when we explained it). We bought PINTS -not pitchers- of beer.  We had glasses of water waiting on the sidelines.  We dunked our rings, and we chugged with the intent to catch our respective ring in our teeth.  Instead of timing it, we raced.  It was everything I ever dreamed of.  Until... well, you know what?  Here, you can just watch it:


Do you even... ugh.  I knew when we agreed to those rules that I was 100% certain to win this race.  (you may note the Mister's "my wife is going to smoke me on this" look in the picture above.  He knew too.)

We all have those "skills" we developed in college that aren't exactly resume appropriate.  Mine was that I learned how to chug a beer like a champ.  So I chugged my beer in record time, knew that I had handily beaten The Mister, and settled back to watch him finish his drink.

Except I forgot the part about catching the ring in my teeth!  You know, the ENTIRE POINT OF THE THING I HAD WANTED TO DO FOR FIVE (5!) YEARS.  BAH!  So as you'll notice, I clarified that since we were technically celebrating the Mister's graduation, I "let" him win.  Yes.  Clearly that was on purpose.  And I should not be as disappointed in myself as I am.  I am not disappointed that I lost a chugging contest to my husband.  Nope.  Not one bit.  Ican'tevenbelieveIlost.

blurry ring kiss!

Do you have any fun traditions from your school?
What "resume inappropriate" skill did you get from college?
Have you lost a competition "on purpose?"
Did you walk for graduation?  Why or why not?
Tell me in the comments!

*The graduation ceremony was very nice.  And I was impressed, because I've always gone to/ worked at smaller institutions.  The Mister's University matriculated a couple thousand students in one day, over 3 ceremonies, and they kept a pretty good time schedule going.  I have never seen "well-managed timing" happen at any of the small school ceremonies I've seen.  

My only complaint is that if you're not going to have a commencement speaker in order to keep time short... maaaaaaaybe the President of the Uni shouldn't talk for over an hour (not even kidding).  Because after all the names are said and everyone's walked across that stage, not a single person in that space wants to hear another single word.  They want to go celebrate.  Also: never, ever show a slideshow.  Nope.  No.  You could HEAR eyes rolling in heads.

MAD PROPS THOUGH - I was throughly impressed with the folks who pronounced everyone's name going through graduation, and even MORE impressed with the ladies who signed the entire spiel for those who are hearing impaired.  Yes, even the names.  Holy cow that was amazing.  Go them.


Deidre said...

Wow, I'm impressed that your class ring was free, for my undergraduate degree they were a couple of hundred dollars!

Queen Holly the Magnificent said...

Oh my god I laughed so freakin hard at you guys! That was adorable and awesome. Although the way I chug a beer I would be too afraid of swallowing the ring. Or having it hit the back of my throat and then spew-coughing beer everywhere.

You must have a different chug technique.

Kp said...

Well, the "basic" model was free. Actually, I think I was one of maybe three or four people who didn't end up paying extra for upgrades. You could pay a few hundred more if you wanted to add pretty stones or diamonds, or up the quality of the gold. Ha. No thank you.

And Holly, you know what's super funny is I never once was worried about choking on the ring until you and another commenter said it! And now I'm all "I'm invincible! I should have DIED back there!"

Danielle said...

This video is hilarious! I can't chug a beer, I would choke. You have amazing skill =). It was very nice of you to let your husband win. I sometimes "let" my husband win arguments, so it builds up his confidence. I'm nice like that.

Jen Anderson said...

We all walked at my college graduation and everyone just left after they left the stage. So those of us at the end of the alphabet were stuck walking for our tired, cranky relatives and no one else.

I was massively pissed to discover that my college roommate wasn't taking my picture as I left the stage to celebrate but because we had to rush to try to catch our friends to give them their graduation presents before they left campus. And we were still too late.

The day totally could've used some beer chugging.