Graduation time is here for some of you.
Yes, the early years of torturous, I mean, tremendous learning have now drawn to a close, mere harbingers of the educational roadkill, I mean, journey toward excellence that lies just ahead.
It’s probably been good that you’ve learned some geography, math, and English. But I ain’t so sure you really need all that stuff. I mean, it ain’t like it takes a rocket scientist to know that California is known as the Lone Star State or anything! Give me a brake.
Still, I recognize all the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve shed over the years. And you’ve paid a high price off the playground too.
What I need to tell you is that your real education is only beginning. What you learn during your high school years and beyond will shape your future, mostly because it’s really hard to shape your past.
A specific example of such learning comes to mind.
As a teenager, I sometimes hung out with Eddie Cutter. Eddie lived with his large family in a small house deep in the woods near Love Creek. (I never did find out where the creek got its name, but maybe that’s why Eddie came from a large family—there was something in the water.)
I’d earned my driver’s license, so one afternoon I trekked into the woods to pick up Eddie. We were going to head for the “big city” on a quest for genuine fast food. This particular big city had a population of only about 10,000 or so, but it boasted one of the highest crime rates in the United States. As this was before reality TV, we secretly hoped to top off our meal with a little local police action.
As it turned out, the excitement would soon be close at hand.
“Hey, have you got something I can light up with?” Eddie asked.
Seated in my car and chowing down on fast food, I was taken aback at Eddie’s request. After all, I didn’t smoke anything and I didn’t think Eddie was in the habit of doing so either.
“Why do you need a light?” I asked, confused.
Eddie reached a paw into his French fries container, yanked out a fry, and said with a sly grin, “Cause I’m gonna smoke this thing, that’s why!”
Since we hadn’t yet witnessed a robbery or any other kind of criminal activity, I figured I should take whatever kind of entertainment I could get.
“Well, there may be a matchbook in the glove compartment,” I told Eddie. He opened the compartment door.
“I’m in luck!” Eddie cried. Shortly he would think otherwise.
I watched with no little fascination as Eddie raised the French fry to his lips and “lit up.”
He took in a long draw and then exhaled, holding the smoldering french fry in sophisticated fashion next to his cheek as he pretended to exhale smoke from between his pursed lips.
“Hey, what’s that gross smell?” I asked Eddie. “It smells like burning—”
“Hair! My hair is on fire!” Eddie cried like a crazed lunatic. His French fry had lit up his shoulder-length hair! I watched in shock and awe as my buddy slapped wildly at his head. Truly this was entertainment at its finest, although Eddie wasn’t exactly doubled over in laughter like I was.
Soon the smoldering shafts were extinguished and the repulsive odor of medium rare hair abated. I don’t know how Eddie explained the new hairstyle to his folks when he got home, but I would’ve paid a handsome sum for a front-row seat.
But back to graduation and education. You see, a lot of what you learn is going to take place outside of the classroom. That’s where you’ll have the chance to make wise or foolish choices.
Wherever you find yourself being educated, stay close to God. “Then you will understand what is right and just and fair” (Proverbs 2:9).
Smoking a french fry? Hey, that’s just not right.