June 8, 2010

The (Re)Cycle of Life

Filed under: MiscellAnnia — Ann @ 1:20 pm

The graduation announcements, which I ordered with great enthusiasm and anticipation, arrived carefully boxed and protected in plastic. I gingerly removed the various wrappings, sat down at my table with my best black pen and the carefully-crafted list of 25 deeply-cherished friends and family members, then mailed out each invitation with a wish that the recipient would share my joy as completely and heart-soaringly as I was sharing the news of my successful attainment of a B.A. in Liberal Studies.

Graduation was over a week ago and last night I found myself wondering where each of the 25 announcements is now. Surely my beloved mother has hers either still posted to the front of her refrigerator (where I’d asked her to hang it, in the spirit of “look what my kid did”), or carefully boxed with her other treasures. And I spoke with my doctor last week — she told me that she immediately put hers on display on a shelf in her office, where it remains.

But, people’s time and lives being cluttered enough with their own priorities, I’m certain that the vast majority of my announcements ended up either being recycled along with the empty Pale Ale bottles and Barilla pasta boxes, or shoved in a garbage can — noodles and fish scraps sliding down the Sonoma State University Official Seal.

That’s the way of life: we move on. Jerry Seinfeld, demonstrating his usual keen cultural understanding, wrote into one of his episodes a bit in which a girl he’s seeing (but not that crazy about) gets annoyed with him because she spots in his trash can the card she had sent him, leading him to question just how many days one is obligated to keep greeting cards before being allowed to dispose of them.

He’s brilliant. Because I have the feeling that the more affection people feel for me, the longer they are inclined to hold on to that announcement. Have you ever received a card from someone, opened it, and thrown it directly into the trash? It’s the Greeting Card Lifespan Measure of Meaningful Relationship.

If you’re reading this, and you received one of my announcements, my hope is that the announcement made you smile, that you kept it around for at least a week so you could smile a few more times, and then either tucked it away (if you have space/inclination), or responsibly recycled it so that it could have new life.

Because if recycled, then, much like the graduates themselves, the announcements become reborn as blank sheets of paper upon which new excitements, new invitations, and new worlds of opportunity can be printed and invented. I can’t think of a more perfect commencement — for people or paper.

1 Comment »

  1. Hey! What’s wrong with sitting around with a bunch of Pale Ale bottles? What are you getting at?
    And, not to worry, I placed it carefully next to *India* Pale Ale of the most Hoppy variety. I think it rested in state on the counter at least a week. When it came, right after exclaiming “She can’t afford these things!!!” I thought to myself, “but she deserves them.” (I did not exclaim the latter however. Don’t know what significance you can invest there, but go for it.)
    Then, along with me and several friends, it took its rightful place among the IPA bottles.

    Comment by Ransom — June 12, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

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