Friday Happy Hour: Unofficial Graduation Requirements & Bizarre Lies

Jason English

Every Friday, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else's reply, whatever you want. Very casual. On to this week's topics of discussion...

1. A few years ago, we replaced our old radiators with baseboards. The guy we hired to do the work was a friend of a friend, and he was very nice and chatty. He told me all about his son—a wide receiver for Texas A&M. The details were impressive and crazy specific: "Last week he set the school record for receiving yards by a sophomore." "He's a bit undersized, but with the success of guys like Wes Welker"—then with the Dolphins and not very well known—"he might have a better chance of getting drafted in a couple years." "He's on the track team, too—Big 12 champion sprinter as a freshman!" He was such a proud dad.

Of course, he made the whole thing up. I Googled the man's son—not because I didn't believe him, but because I absolutely believed him, and I wanted to root for his kid, too. There was nobody by that name on the Texas A&M football team. Or at Texas A&M. Perplexed by the lie, I kept searching and found out the kid was an athlete. On his high school track team. Junior Varsity. Couldn't find anyone else comparing him to Wes Welker, though.

People lie about stuff all the time. "I didn't get your email!" "I'm not cheating on you with your brother!" "I did not eat your sandwich!" You can (probably) understand those. But what's the most bizarre, completely unnecessary lie you've ever been told?

2. Did your college or high school have any non-traditional graduation requirements, either official or unofficial?

I've heard stories about mandatory swimming classes, required because years ago the dean's son drowned.[citation needed]

I graduated from Duke, where unofficial requirements included driving backwards around the traffic circle, wandering around the semi-secret underground tunnels, and several I probably can't discuss on a relatively family-friendly website. How about you?

3. I've got the Yankee parade on right now. It's entertaining to watch the local TV reporter fail to interview almost every prominent player. ("Derek! Derek! Derek Jeter! Over here! Oh well. Class act!" / "Mariano! Hey! How are you, bud! Woo! What a guy!")

I'm not much of a parade guy, on TV or otherwise. Perhaps this is because my hometown was parade crazy. Little League parades, Cub Scouts parades, Winter Wonderland parades, We-Promise-Not-To-Use-Drugs parades. Is every town like that? What's the oddest parade you've attended or marched in?

[See all the previous Friday Happy Hour transcripts.]