I’m sitting in a commencement for the college my son attends.  It’s a small college, humble even.  The ceremony is  being held in the fieldhouse, with overflow seating in the adjoining gym.  And yet, the sense of pride and satisfaction, of spirit and purpose present here could easily rival that of any commencement or graduation anywhere in the country.

Ceremonies mark significant events in the lives of the participants.  They provide closure for some and springboards for others.  And while the style is dictated by the culture, thr substance is universal. 

Ceremonies are held to celebrate not the trivial or ordinary but the monentous and extraordinary, at least in the lives of the celebratants.  And I am honored to be invited to participate in ceremonies, whenever and where ever they occur. 

When was the last time …

This can be a fun game to play, similar to the “Never have I ever,” but with a totally different intention.  For the man of style and substance, it is this question that infuses a small amount of adventure into the day.

When was the last time you bought flowers for you wife?

When was the last time you reached out to a friend with a phone call as opposed to a text, email or Facebook poke?

When was the last time you added a trendy piece of clothing to your wardrobe?

While the man of style and substance lives life puposefully, sometimes it is important to ask “when was the last time …”

No April Fool

Practical jokes are seldom practical and, unfortuantely, seldom funny.  As a result and rule, I typically shy away from April Fools Day shenanigans. However, for those who enjoy them, a few things a gentleman is wise to remember.

First, the goal should.be laughter for all, never laughter at the expense of another.  If someone must be belittled for the joke to be successful, and it cannot be you, consider enlisting the help of a knowing confederate and not the recipient of the joke.

Next, ensure that the joke addresses topics that are fairly safe.  Leave alone topics like family heartache or forced employment changes.  Such topics carry sting and can unearth hidden pain that was unanticipated but extremely unsettling, often eclipsing any humor that might have been gained.

Finally, remember that the greatest laughter will be years down the road at the retelling.  If the joke is a story that can’t be safely shared eventually with grandchildren, perhaps it is best to leave it un-enacted.