Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Always Button When Standing

You are on time for the special hour-long academic awards assembly in which the best and brightest parade across the mainstage of the R. Winston Chapelthorpe Performing Arts Center to receive endowed prizes from distinguished faculty and honored alumni. Many of the latter are descendants of families whose histories with this esteemed preparatory school predate the Civil War. You know all this; you've been here three times before as a part of the politely applauding, appreciative student body.

On this day, however, you are shocked to hear what sounds like your name being called by Rollington Burgess, the school's president. The bespectacled "Rollie," as he is affectionately nicknamed, scans the audience, straining against the glare of the lights, the tassel of his tam swishing as he cranes his neck to peer into the section where the seniors are seated. You can feel your face getting hot; you're still at the point where you believe you heard someone say your name, but you were daydreaming about the afternoon's lacrosse game. The silently passing seconds cannot be good. You come to your senses feeling Ezra Feldman, who is seated next to you, tugging at your sleeve. It was your name.

You drop your folded program, sidle out of your row, and ascend the steps to the stage. You listen as Rollie reads the description of the Buckingham J. and Prudence C. Addison Prize for Historical Writing. You receive congratulatory handshakes from musty members of the Addison family, but Rollie's firm grasp lingers. His disapproval is apparent as he firmly whispers in your ear: "For God's sake, act like a civilized human being and button your blazer when you stand!"


Anonymous said...

bravo young man, bravo

EMJ said...

quite possibly the best post yet!