Another year later, another big group of family coming to town as we watch another Jones boy walk across that stage, grab a diploma and hope nobody realizes they made a mistake and keeps him in high school.
Well, no, it’s really not that bad. In this case, it’s actually pretty great.
Zippy the Monkey Boy is graduating high school today and he’s doing it as his class salutatorian, which means he had the second-best grade-point average in his class. As such, he has to make a short speech during graduation.
He tried to dump the responsibility off on me, but I just let it bounce right back. As of Thursday night, he still hadn’t written a word. Graduation occurs today at 11 am. He says he works best under pressure. I can’t wait to tape this and then play it back for him the next time he says that stupid saying.
His mom and I are really proud of Zippy the Monkey Boy. In eighth grade, he was struggling, both academically and socially, and turning into a real sea urchin of a person, all spiky and prickly and somebody no one wanted to be around. Going to The Fletcher School, a private school for dudes and dudettes with learning disabilities, changed all that.
Thanks to fantastic teachers and administrators, Zippy the Monkey Boy became reenergized academically and not only enjoyed most of the work he was doing, but he actually looked forward to it. Socially, he started growing again, making friends and finding out that people actually could be good and were fun to be around.
That’s a lot of growth to pack into just four years. And he did it all while also discovering the joys of competitive basketball, flag football, cross country and, of course, girls.
The most important skill Zippy the Monkey Boy learned was how to climb trees on his own. I hardly ever had to get on his case to get him to do a project or remind him of an upcoming test. Sure, a lot of that was due to how The Fletcher School was run, but I’m hoping enough of that was innate that some will come through when he starts college at University of North Carolina Wilmington in the fall.
He’s already looking forward to that. I think, in his mind, he’s skipped the whole tedious graduation thing and is, even now, checking into his new dorm room and saying good-bye to the anchors (which would be his parents).
His mom and I, though, still are firmly rooted in the now. We’re going to smile and, maybe, cry just a little as our second young dude walks through another milestone on his way to his own life. This is the big one. Zippy the Monkey Boy is moving out of Casa de Dude, heading off to make his own nest and, we’re sure, make a whole lot of mistakes. We’re just hoping he’ll be able to straighten them out on his own.
It’s like Thomas Wayne, father to Bruce, said: “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
Here’s to you, Zippy the Monkey Boy. You’ve made it through the hardest part of your life. What you didn’t know was that now we get to add two little words to that. Those words? So far. The hardest part of your life. . . so far. Now you get to do it all over again and this time you get to do it on your own.
The good news is that I know he can do it. He’s one of the most stubborn people on the face of the planet and, hopefully, his mother and I have taught him to use his powers for good, not evil
He’s moving from the Falcons to the Seahawks, but he’s still going to soar.
Congratulations, dude. We love you.