The secret behind the black robes.

So I’m frantically searching around the house. I wander in a sort of haze from room to room scanning the floor, the couch, the table. I am late for class, it is the end of the term and I have nothing, I mean nothing, clean to wear. By this point in the term I have long since given up on looking for a clean article of clothing. I randomly select articles from the heap and give them the sniff of approval. You know what I am talking about. The question is no longer, “Does this smell bad?” but rather, “How bad does this smell?”

No, no. Success in the university is all about adjusting your paradigm and often, at strategic moments, slightly lowering your standards of personal hygiene. I put on a pair of underwear the other day that was little more than an elastic band. Let’s just say I was sufficiently aerated. Besides, they are a time-saving device. They do not need to be adjusted or moved in any way for me to go “number one” or “number two.” This leaves my hands free to study the Beckett text in which I have fallen behind.

Like I said, at this time of the year, it is all about adaptability. I have a 25-page paper due next week that I haven’t even started yet. There is certainly no time to start separating my whites and darks.

If my BVDs have a problem with that, if they think they are too good to be washed right along side my Bruce Lee T-shirt, then I will do to them what every guy’s piece of underwear fears the most: I will wash them with something red. But I am getting sidetracked. Laundry de-segregation is a worthy topic but it is not our topic today. Today we are discussing the graduation wardrobe.

It is a little-known fact that the time-honored tradition of students wearing long black robes for graduation ceremonies was started by frustrated administrators who were tired of watching their frayed and haggard graduates approach the podium wearing pizza-stained Wonder Woman shirts and olive green corduroys that come up six inches from their ankles since they haven’t worn them since seventh grade. It’s hard to give a guy a master’s in engineering when he is standing in front of you wearing stripes and plaids from 1972.

“What will his bridges look like if he looks like this?” the administrators wondered. Thus, the robes came into existence as the great equalizer of graduation fashion. Now we would all look like blooming and budding intellectuals, ready to take the professional working world by storm. The black robes made the ceremony look like a ceremony instead of what they used to looked like: a Salvation Army fashion show.

I think the graduates should be allowed to wear the accouterments of their scholastic pursuits. That torn, stained pair of rainbow-colored OP shorts are a badge of honor. We are weary, we are weathered, but we are victorious.

Do you think the Soviet army was sporting the latest from Abercrombie and Fitch as they retreated into the frozen womb of Mother Russia to trick the encroaching Nazi forces into a war of attrition? No my friends. War is hell and college is war so we must dress the part. The funeral procession that we so endearingly call Commencement is meant to cover (both literally and figuratively) the brutal truth. Underneath those judicial robes lies the real you. The one sporting the Yoda Underoos and the Spuds McKenzie T-Shirt. But take heart friend, you made it.