Tassel Hassle / by Courtney Mehlhaff

I went through a bunch of old files not long ago, and I found a calendar page from May of 1997. My dad has always kept a log of family activities hanging in the kitchen, and this particular page noted my last day of high school and what was on the docket for the next day.

Let me first say this. Not only does my dad typically have beautiful handwriting, but he is also a very smart man, perfectly capable of spelling the word "baccalaureate." But in this one small square, I can see all the fatigue and frustration and anxiety of getting your firstborn sent off into the world -- college applications and party planning and the general emotional hubbub surrounding such a momentous event.

I think he realized he was off track early on. I picture him starting strong:

"B-A-C- . . . [sigh] . . . is it an A or a U .. . . God I'm tired . . . L-A-U-R . . . aw, fuck it . . . [scribble] . . . we all know what it is . . . [scribble] . . . we all know where we're going . . . [FLOURISH!]"

I love everything about this so much, especially the way it trails off very deliberately. Go big or go home, man. Just everybody get in the car. We're going to get that diploma.