Every year about this time I start wondering whether it's time to resign from our crack Faculty Marshal squad, and this might be the right time since I am now the only member of the squad whose name doesn't begin with D. The other day I told the head Marshal that consistency and gender equity demand that she replace me with one of our many Daves, to which she responded, "Why would I need to replace you at all?"
Good question. Being a marshal is, as we keep being reminded, an honor, but it's also extra work coming right at the point when we're already really busy. I scan the long document outlining information we need to prepare for our commencement practice meeting and I think, "I don't want to do this again," and then I go to the meeting and walk through all those complicated procedures and before you know it I'm laughing with all those D people and remembering the joys of past commencements and wondering why I would ever want to quit.
We don't get all the perks of marshals at other institutions. For instance, the head marshal at my son's college commencement sang a solo during the ceremony, which will happen at my college when pigs fly, and at my daughter's commencement last week all the marshals wore bright yellow robes and hats with big brims that looked like glittering gold halos. I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd sprouted wings and hovered above us like a multitude of the heavenly host.
Well, okay, maybe I would have been a little surprised. Just a little.
All our marshals do is carry sticks--and not particularly big ones. Maces, I guess they're called, and they'd be more useful if we were allowed to use them for something other than decoration.
Hovering helicopter parents refuse to separate from their soon-to-be-graduates before the ceremony? Use the mace to bar the door.
Graduates refuse to spit out their gum promptly at 12:30? A thump on the back will dislodge that wad.
Faculty members refuse to shut up and find their places? Harry them about the ankles with the mace until they toe the line.
Frankly, being a Faculty Marshal would be much more satisfying if we could deliver a few well-placed wallops, but meanwhile we're ready to step into our Darth Vader suits on Sunday and herd a crowd of bubbly graduates down the path to the next stage of their lives and I don't know about you, but I want to be a part of that.
So what if my name doesn't start with D? I can be a Dave for a day.