Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dude, It's Not About You

Teufel Hunde, Get Over Thyself!  

This morning, as I was mindlessly scrolling my Facebook news feed somewhere between West Medford and North Station, I learned about the story of Mac Hamlin, a high-school senior who is refusing to participate in his school's graduation ceremony "on principle."

What's the principle?

Well, it's because the principal won't let him wear his Marine dress blues in the ceremony (he graduated a semester early and is on track to complete boot camp prior to graduation).

This young man has a lot to learn.

In general, I try to steer away from phrases like "he gets it" or "he doesn't get it" because, much like "common sense," they are inherently problematic -- they're calibrated to the speaker's sense of whatever "it" should be.  The use of such phrases, therefore, often exhibits an ironic lack of self-awareness on the part of the speaker.

But for this would-be Marine, I'm willing to make a rare exception:  he just doesn't *get it.* 

The entire purpose of making an entire high school class wear a UNIFORM consisting of a cap and gown is precisely what the term suggests -- they are dressed identically, on purpose.  It's the same reason the military wears uniforms to work, and obeys uniform grooming's about subsuming oneself to something larger, not about individual expression.

Now, if the question were about prom, or some other event in which individual forms of dress were expressed, then of course he ought to be able to rock the blues.  But the principal in this school is absolutely, 100% right.  Anyone who has worn the country's uniform ought to know this, and I suspect the people yelling the loudest about this -- esp. the ones spewing the vitriol towards this school and principal -- have not.

If he keeps this circus going with childish comments about not participating, I will start to wonder whether someone in his chain of command will put him in his proper place.

** Just as an unrelated aside, completely separate from this story, I will mention that before joining the military, I used to always wonder why people are sometimes decked out in dress uniforms on seemingly random occasions.  I have since learned there is really no set rule for this.  One generality with weddings is this:  If the bride, groom, or wedding party specifically ask a military guest to wear a dress uniform, then he or she should do so.  Otherwise, it is considered bad form (for the reasons stated in this post).  As a for instance, I got married *slick* but asked military friends to wear their dress uniforms.  I have only once worn a dress uniform to a wedding, and it was because the groom's father asked me to (groom was a USMC Sergeant).  

1 comment:

C R Krieger said...

Pretty much says it.

Regards  —  Cliff