This weekend is graduation weekend for my brother Tom.
Tom and I just came back from a pre-graduation commencement speech. This talk is by tradition given by a comic speaker. Earlier in the year, the senior class president sent out a poll asking students who they'd prefer: Conan O'Brien, Stephen Colbert, or Jon Stewart.
I got very excited as Tom listed these names. "Oh my God!" I said, "Conan! Or Stephen Colbert!"
But then the senior class president dropped the ball, and ended up asking one of his political science professors at the last minute. We were treated to a speech about the Middle East situation and democracy around the world. While interesting, it was slightly less side-splitting than I imagine Conan would have been.
Tomorrow's graduation speaker is a similar situation. The class president won his election on the platform of getting Bill Clinton as the speaker. When that fell through, he promised Bill Gates. Then he didn't manage that...
The speaker tomorrow will be Dana Gioia.
You don't know who that is? Yeah, that's the problem, see?
Seniors all over Stanford are readying the tomatoes for their class president tomorrow.
Next, Tom and I are attending a graduation picnic, then an event at the President's House, and finally an Asian American award dinner. Our parents flew in this morning and are driving from the airport right now.
Me: I'm dreading the Asian American dinner.
Tom: [sharply turning to me with a look of horror] Oh God! I'm dreading that so much!
The reason for our trepidation, Gentle Reader, is that Asian parents like to compare. Since everyone at this dinner will have the same status (child is graduating from Stanford!), they will need to delve into the second tier of competition, including GPA, child's future job, other siblings, etc.
Tom: I asked Dad if we could just skip it. I said we can instead go as a family to a nice Chinese restaurant. He said, "No, I've been looking forward to this."
Me: They paid four years of tuition. They deserve to have some enjoyment.
Tom: I'm going to be so uncomfortable!
Me: Hee hee.
Tom: I'll divert attention to you. We'll both go down in flames.
Me: There are tons of impressive Stanford students and families. Did our parents think about what's going to happen when they lose in the comparisons?
Tom: No, they're probably eager to have tough challengers. Mom will be thinking, "BRING IT."