Cheering at graduation is a crime.
No, boredom should be a crime.
A crime against all of us who try to live each day as if it were our last, so we grab joy by the throat when we find some.
Yet, because the arrests of seven people at two area graduations last week -- along with another person who was cited for disorderly conduct at a third graduation -- were in Rock Hill, this gives all of us a chance to figure out how else area schools, and even Rock Hill, can use this to an advantage nationally. Think of the tourism slogan. "Rock Hill: Come for graduation, stay the night! In jail!"
Never miss a local story.
The last time Rock Hill got such publicity was a year ago before Christmas, when a child got arrested for opening a Christmas present early.
It is not true he got the electric chair.
Or maybe the worst publicity was Tasering the 75-year-old woman? Maybe it was the jaywalking ban downtown, when there has never been a jaywalker. Or was it when the 12-foot weenie-shaped sign at Ebenezer Grill was stolen?
We must have other penalties if we want arrests for loving somebody so much that you risked the clink after 13 years of school: The years when the world told your kid what to do, and your kid did as he was told.
• Coloring outside the lines in kindergarten: A month's probation. Let those 5-year-olds get away with not following rules, the next thing you know they are getting tattoos on their backs and listening to that devilish rock-n-roll or rap music.
• Not eating the "mystery meat" of the school lunch: The stockade. Yes, the one with your head and arms sticking through holes, clamped in irons, like at Disneyworld. But real. What, are you a bunch of liberal wimps out there? Teach these scofflaws respect. Put the stockade at Rock Hill City Hall, near the city manager's office, so it helps ward off jaywalkers.
• Not lining up in the school hallway: 30 days in jail. "Jail, no bail." It worked for the Friendship Nine. Those magnificent men fought the city over the crime of being black and hungry 47 years ago, spent a month in jail, and it only took 45 years for them to get an apology.
• Not raising your hand in class: Attend city council or county council meetings for a year. Wait. That is cruel and unusual punishment. Make it zoning hearings.
• Not cleaning your desk: 10 years in jail. We all know kids not cleaning their desk is a "gateway crime," like smoking pot supposedly leads to crack addiction. A dirty desk certainly leads to degeneracy.
So many want graduations to be respectful, quiet, dignified. Definition: Burial.
Dictionary definition for commencement. "Start. Beginning."
Some in York County, too, love drones. Boredom. Do it, mindlessly. Graduation, commencement, starting your adult life: Never let out a whoop of joy. Sit with your hands folded and let life pass, watched, unlived.
This is a class war. Those who say they have class against those of us who say "Up your class, my kid just graduated!"
I clearly have no class. Good.
Sure, everybody was warned they would be hauled out of graduation if they made a noise. Those who follow love the weak-kneed who meekly do as the boring tell them to do.
The only blameless people here are the luckless Rock Hill cops. The schools wanted the graduations as close to mute as possible. The cops were off-duty, working overtime and hired to work the event, so the police did what the schools wanted.
If your kid struggled through school, you maybe worked a second job because you are a single parent, you cannot loudly applaud your child or yourself when his name is called. You must wait. Save the joy for home, lady, we must get this graduation over in short order. After a full 13 years of school, in a state where almost as many kids don't graduate high school as do, graduation has to be over in less time than a NASCAR race.
Why not make the ceremony as long as it needs to be to get all the cheers in?
No, you must silently watch an assembly line. Applaud politely afterward like at afternoon tea with the Queen. "I say, wasn't that just lovely," you can tell your friends at the multi-million dollar Rock Hill Tennis Center, or on the golf course. Sports where fans in the seats at an arena, just like the Winthrop Coliseum where the graduations are, hush for millionaires to hit a ball.
Oh? You don't watch or play tennis? Nor golf?
That explains it.