THE BLOG

Passages

07/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

We should probably celebrate New Years in June.

Not January.

June is a month of passages.

We move from buds to blooms. The rhythm of baseball season finally returns to its ritualistic predictability, rescuing itself from that unseasonably cold April beginning. Kids all over the world are graduating. Nowadays from everything. College. High school. Kindergarten. Day care. Lots of people get married this month. And vacations either begin . . . or fall within the time when they are reasonably foreseeable.

No one graduates in January. I did . . . from law school. But I had to wait until June to actually wear the cap and gown and celebrate with my family. There was no celebration in January. I went right to work for a newly appointed federal appellate judge. He was then afraid of his new job. And I was then afraid of him. So it was entirely appropriate that our relationship began in a January winter. More purgatory than passage.

Things seem to more or less end in January.

Football. That long holiday stretch from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Presidential transitions.

But they begin in June.

My son was born in June. He turned 21 last week, which we have turned into a passage all its own. Mostly because that is when kids who three years earlier were old enough to vote and go to war become old enough to drink. In truth, it is really a false passage. All the college kids drink before they are 21. They all have fake ID's. College Presidents of late have been complaining that they spend substantial amounts of institutional time running interference for students who get arrested in the we-know-they-all-drink-but-will-occasionally-enforce-the-law policing du jour. The kids themselves think it's a farce.

When I was 21, I had been able to buy liquor legally for three years. My son once asked why that was okay for me but not him. I tried to be honest. I told him my generation had just screwed it up for his. I told him that we all had at least one friend (and usually many more) we had buried because of some drunken or drug induced escapade.

I don't think he found the honesty refreshing.

Just annoying.

In that "yeah, sure" sort of way 21 year-olds have at being annoyed when they know honesty is fronting for hypocrisy. Because he knew we didn't change the law to protect them. We did it to protect ourselves. We didn't want to become the parents crying at their child's funeral.

Fair enough.

But someday he'll thank me. He'll even probably want to really crack down on those fake id's. He'll want to bring in the Mormon missionaries to turn all those frat parties into latter day alcohol free "First Nights." He'll do this when he becomes a father. Trying to be honest, he'll settle for some selfishly functional hypocrisy. He'll want to avoid those funerals too.

And attend those graduations.

In some not so far away Junes.

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