The E-man and Mr. Monogram

Despite a serious case of nerves, my stepdaughter was poised and lovely as she accepted her diploma Friday night. And she graduated with honors!

I spent much of the ceremony marveling over the girls’ shoes. We’re talking pencil-thin 4-inch heels. I kept waiting for one to fall or to snag someone else’s gown. Because if I ever wore such shoes, that’s exactly what would have happened — a face plant right in front of the dude handing out diplomas. Or a humiliating topple off the risers.


My marveling was frequently interrupted by a bored E-man, whose behavior devolved, oh, around the 100th graduate. (There were nearly 550.)

The man sitting next to us, who I immediately dubbed Mr. Monogram after spotting his crisp, ridiculously embroidered cuffs, was not amused.

“Mommy! I farted!” the E-man declared, garnering a disdainful sniff from Mr. Monogram.

“Shh. People are trying to listen,” I whispered.

“I have to poop!” the E-man announced, prompting a suspicious sideways glance from Mr. Monogram..

“Can’t you wait?” I hissed.

“I have to go now!” he insisted.

I glanced down the row at Hubs, who mimed pinching his nose and mouthed, “He tooted. Can’t you smell it?”

So I sidled down the row with the E-man in tow.

When we returned, my son resumed his commentary.

“That man has a shiny head,” the E-man noted, pointing at the balding Mr. Monogram.

I slunk further down into my folding seat.

And then, blessed silence. I basked in it for a moment before looking over to see what had grabbed the E-man’s attention.

Oh no.

The child was using his chewing gum as play-doh. Long, sticky strands were draped over each finger.

“Look, Mommy! I’m Spiderman,” the E-man gloated, wagging his gummy-webbed hands in my direction.

Which is when I wondered why graduation ceremonies can’t include some form of child care.

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