Dear Dr. Dean:
Is There An Aftskin?
-Nonplussed in Nantucket

I stood, watching members of the class of 2006 enter the arena to receive their empty folders signifying that as soon as final grades are posted and the fine list is checked, they will officially be High School Graduates.

A colleague, feeling led by the somberness of the affair, said:

"Again with the Pomp and Circumcision."

Hm. Was this simply clever wordplay, or a serious commentary on the event? I was unsure how to respond. I thought of the appropriate response for a couple of seconds, and came up with:


Which probably was read as something like "Yes, well played, my friend. Very clever!" though I really was just left confused.

Upon reflection, there are better ways I feel I could have responded. For instance, was he saying that the rite of commencement was a cutting away, of sorts, from family? Though it's a bit of a stretch, this reading kind of works for me. I like it. So maybe I stick with the theme and come back with:

"Yeah. They could be playing Prelude To A Bris."

Or maybe I acknowledge the pun, yet come back with what I find a more appropriate feel for the day:

"Yeah. More like Pomp and Circumspection."

Or maybe a withering comment that shows I do not appreciate the sullying of such a staid affair with such sophomoric punnery:

"Yeah, but now please commence zipping your lip."
"You know, you really put the dict in valedictorian."
"Yeah... now please move your tassel from right to shut up."

I am not happy with these. I'm fairly certain Groucho would turn away in disgust. I am open to suggestions.