My Lovely Tassels

I had the dream again.  I have had this dream once or twice a year since I was 18. 


First a little background.  I skipped my senior year of high school.  I took the GED and went directly into college.  There is a story there, but I will save that for another day.


Anyway since high school I have had this dream that the GED was invalidated and I have to go back and finish my senior year or have my degree revoked.  I have to move back into my parents’ house.  In last night’s episode my mom drove me to the school and we argued about who was going to pay for school supplies.  Then I got stuck in endless lines trying to register for classes.


It occurred to me this morning why I keep having this dream.  I missed a rite of passage.  I wonder if deep down in my monkey brain a switch has been left unflipped.  Normally I would brush such notions off, but rites of passage are almost universal (well planetary at least).  Now I don’t think missing this rite of passage has in anyway negatively impacted my life.  I just have a bad dream now and again.  But I wonder is there something innate in us that compels us to have moments of completion and transition.


I open the floor.  Do you think rites of passage are important?  Have you ever missed one?  What was the impact?


Signed Snooping in Sterling

By Ben Posted in Life

6 comments on “My Lovely Tassels

  1. While I was in highschool, I attended classes at the Jr College, just for fun. I had so much fun, that I earned enough credits to graduate from High School a year early.

    My son was very sick this year and missed several months of school. He took the proficiency exam as well, and so is out of High School a year and a half early.

    I don’t miss the “rite of passage” which the High School graduation ceremony symbolizes because I was “out of there”, in my head, anyway. I was on to other things already, while a lot of my classmates were attending proms and graduation ceremonies.

    I think these symbolisms are important to most people, though.

    “Ceremonies” are sometimes fun and lend significance to a thing, but for me, it’s the simplest of life’s events which are those, anyway. Though they may not exude the grandure and fan fair of a publically witnessed “stage play”, they are somehow more real for me.

    For example, when I was about to solo for the first time I remember my flight instructor having me taxi all over the tarmac before going out to the end of the runway to do my final pre-flight check. I saw my father’s truck driving up to the airstrip. I wondered why he was there that particular day. It was because my flight instructor had told him I was going to solo that day. (He hand’t told me. He simply got out of the plane while I did my pre-flight check and said “you can do this”.)

    I will never forget the image of my father’s truck driving up that morning. That image means more to me than any fan fair of celebration in my accomplishment in flying.

    All the sunsets I’ve watched across the ocean, while others of my highschool friends were still in school, means more to me than walking across a stage with a flattened cardboard box on my head.

    But I’m like that. 🙂

  2. I can’t help but think about people who lose loved ones, but are never able to grieve.

    My 17 year old cousin took his own life in 2001. He took a shotgun to his head. According to his mother there was nothing left of his head. It took the officials 3 days to find his body. He had taken his life in the dense pine forests of the panhandle of Florida. Because it was so gruesome, his brothers were never able to see his body. His youngest brother is still struggling with it all. In fact, one thing he said was, “If I could have just seen him, I wouldn’t be dreaming about and thinking about his returning from the woods.”

    Going through those passages are important whether it’s grieving, graduating or whatever. Although, again every person is different and each passage doesn’t mean the same to every person. But all of us have important passages we must go through.

  3. My brother shot himself too. He layed down in a depression in the back field, put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Yes, it’s true there’s not much left to the head when one does that. My other brother found him.

    He carries that image of his brother everywhere he goes now, superimposed over all he sees.

    Some things, don’t need to be seen.

    My brothers body lay in some unvisited military cemetary. My father’s ashes were spread at sea when he died.

    Every time I go to the ocean, I see my father in all that is before me. I’m never sure where my brother is.

    Some ceremonies only outline an event which deserves much more.

    Before my father died, he found a fragment of my brother’s skull, long after he’d killed himself. Our private, family moment, burying that piece of him, was more poignant, more powerful, and more meaningful than all the other empty jestures made by people I didn’t know.

    “Ceremony” is a subjective thing I guess.

  4. Wow, I had not even considered the death angle. Whenever I have lost a loved one, we have always had a funeral. With two notable exceptions, the services made me feel connected to the deceased and gave me a sense of closure. The two exceptions were both grandmothers. They had funerals, but it did not help. One passed away suddenly of an aneurism. I was 10 and the shock stayed with me for years. The other committed suicide violently. She had obvious mental issues, but suicide is the nuclear bomb of human relationships. From my perspective there is no effective way of dealing with loss from suicide. It just hurts less over time.

  5. On a lighter note, I never went to any of my proms. Shy and nerdy, I didn’t get asked and didn’t have the chutzpah to attend alone. My two good friends each had dates. They went and said it was really not worth all the fuss.

    But it bugged me. When Jonathon and I lived in Creswell, he was tapped to chaperone the prom. I helped one gal find a dress and picked one out for myself.

    We had a nice dinner and went to the ballroom of the hotel where the prom was held. Boy, was it boring! And I couldn’t stand the music – all country. I realized you can’t relive your past and try to get those rites of passage back. And maybe they weren’t so important to begin with :)…

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