I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
Last night Dierdre called on the phone.
“I’ve been crunching the numbers,” she said.
“On what?” I interrupted.
“Let me finish,” she admonished, and then started over. “I’ve been crunching the numbers, and I’ve got some bad news,” she said.
“What numbers?” I asked again. She had paused, and I assumed she was done.
“Let me finish,” she repeated, sounding a little exasperated with me. “I was crunching the numbers…”
If she was going to start over every time I asked a question, I decided to just be quiet and listen.
“And I’ve got some bad news,” she said. There was a long pause. I knew she was baiting me. I didn’t say a word.
“Don’t you care what it’s about?” she asked.
“Of course I do,” I answered, laughing. She knows all about timing and how to irk someone.
“Are you kidding?” I asked. Surely she was kidding about this — I mean about it being bad news. Graduating from college magna cum laude — what mother wouldn’t be thrilled with a child with that accomplishment?
“Mom, you don’t understand,” she said. Of course I don’t. I’m the mom.
“Everybody else is graduating summa cum,” she complained.
“When I come to your graduation and get the commencement program, I’m going to see a notation that signifies summa cum laude next to everybody’s name but yours,” I said, hoping she would see the ridiculousness of her statement.
“Well…” she drawled out, “okay, maybe not everybody, but all my friends.”
“Every single one of your friends is graduating summa cum laude? Do I need to start naming friends?” I asked.
“Okay, maybe not every one of my friends, but Emma is,” she said, and then added, “and Laura, too.”
“Laura isn’t graduating until next year,” I countered.
“Yeah, but she’d have to get, like, C’s and D’s in everything in order for her not to graduate summa cum laude,” Deirdre answered.
I wasn’t sure which quote would be more appropriate — the one about counting your chickens before the hatch, or the one about borrowing trouble from tomorrow. Since when is magna cum laude trouble?
I think I’ll settle on a Francis Bacon quote:
The speaking in perpetual hyperbole is comely in nothing but love.