Commencement: the aftermath.

I barely survived graduation weekend. Not because of the pomp, the circumstance, or the critical mass of beloved family and friends, but because I managed to have my left tonsil colonized by an angry mob of bacteria, which I unwisely chose to ignore for the sake of ritual and ceremony, deigning only to try to drown it occasionally in champagne—a treatment that they must have interpreted as a celebration of their new residency, because they gleefully multiplied. By Monday I was incapacitated with throat pain, so that one of my first dignified actions as the newly hooded Dr. Z was to call my mom and beg her to take me to the emergency room for “lots of drugs.” Indeed, they gave me lots of drugs, specifically an evil concoction called erythromycin, which dutifully began killing off the creatures in my throat but also completely decimated my internal organs à la Patrick Dempsey in Outbreak (directed, incidentally, by Wolfgang Petersen, also director of currently playing remake Poseidon, which is only worth seeing at an IMAX theater with ButtKickers installed, such as the theater at the surreal Jordan’s Furniture Store in Natick, MA, which not only contains an IMAX theater with ButtKickers, but is also fashioned after a street in pre-Katrina New Orleans, with costumed robots ranging from dapper to of-ill-repute greeting you from second-story French Quarter balconies as you enter storefronts like “The Crawfish Cafe” in order to peruse luxury leather sofa sets—but I digress). So I spent the next 36 hours bent over various containers heaving out my liquified insides as movers came and took all my stuff to Arkansas, until I came to in an empty shell of a body in an empty shell of an apartment sometime last night.

But to see me on graduation day, you’d never know the impending carnage:

They say it’s some kind of homage to the hallowed tradition of academe, but I maintain that they make us wear funny hats to distract the masses from the overwhelming prospect of our collective brain power. Or to keep them amused through five hours of procession and ceremony.

Despite the fallout, I’m glad I dressed up in my funny hat and paraded around for my family. sillygirl84 also graduated from Brown, and our sister K gallantly chauffeured grandparents and other well-wishers down from upstate New York, so at least we had each other to see us through. Much of the weekend looked just like this (with subtitles):


OK, we’re smiling! Take the picture so we can finish eating dinner.


Ohmygod, will someone take the picture already? Why are we still standing here?


It is hilarous how stupid we are going to look in all of these pictures!

So that’s that. Now I’m feeling much better, thank you, though still tragically unenthusiastic about food. And the wireless signal came back to our apartment, just in time to see us off. We hit the road to Arkansas tomorrow morning.

If you email me your address, I’ll send you a postcard from the road—perhaps with my new Waterman Carene fountain pen.

19 thoughts on “Commencement: the aftermath.

  1. congratulations and ouch!

    The next time someone tries to give you e-mycin, get the ‘eric’ kind that’s buffered to avoid all those hours in front of porcelain. Hope you’re feeling better and better now.

  2. Congratulations! I love the theory of flat caps as entertainment. As I recall, graduations are only interesting for the 10 seconds you–or your loved one—is on stage.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  3. Congratulations! Your picture is now printed and posted on my office wall, to show people that I actually know someone who is educated.

    emycin works well as a diet drug. My last bout with strep throat, it killed off all the helpful flora between the mouth and … er, there, resulting in a loss of about 15 pounds in a week.

    Have a great trip to Arkansas, Dr. Razorback Z.

  4. Congratulations, Dr. Z! You look fabulous! (And fabulously happy!) Have a great road trip, and, rest assured, once you arrive you’ll have raised the collective IQ in this state 200%.

    Hope you’re all better soon! Yogurt, lots of yogurt. In smoothies if possible…

  5. that is a damn fancy pen

    Congrats on graduation. The fact that you have a PhD and still have movie parties with fancy booze gives me hope for something of an interesting life. Have fun traveling to Ark-in-saaawww.

  6. Congratulations, Dr.!! I totally sympathize with the erythromycin ugliness. I can’t go near that stuff. Glad you’re feeling better now. Oh, and I have serious pen lust for your new Waterman…

  7. Congratulations, Doctor! You look gorgeous and smart.

    When I was a kid, we used to twist the corners of our paper napkins, put them on our heads and call them “professor hats”. So now you know – I was just as silly then as I am now!

  8. erythro sucks in SO many ways…I completely screwed me up senior year during the ‘whooping cough’ scare on campus.

    Feel better and much luck! Congrats on the PhD.

  9. *happy dance*

    Congratulations! And good luck in Fayetteville. Next time I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll let you know. We can rendezvous with Madame-U and have a good ol’ time.

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