So this is what we know. Some kid in Oklahoma did well in high school and earned the right as school valedictorian. She makes up a speech….which has this theme of a bunch of folks asking what she wants to do after school, and the answer is “how the hell do I know, I’ve changed my mind so many times”. Well….the school principal was upset with the word ‘hell’, so he told her to change it….to heck. He gave her the new speech, with ‘heck’ included…..and she gave the ‘hell’ speech instead. The principal got all upset about this and denied her the diploma at the conclusion of the event. Words spoken so far by the school indicate that she can come by and apologize to the school, and get her diploma.
The 18-year old girl has responded…..nicely….that she just won’t do that.
I would said to the school….’the hell you say’, but it would have taken the event to an unnecessary level.
Her dad is kinda proud of her and doesn’t see much to get excited about. She will go off in the fall to Southwestern Oklahoma State University…..to study up to be a marine biologist, without the diploma.
There are various ways to ponder upon this. Valedictorian speeches are usually worthless. I know that bend some folks out of shape, but it’s usually four minutes that don’t mean an awful lot.
The use of ‘hell’? Well….in 1977….you just didn’t utter the word unless you were in church and in some discussion over where Uncle Micky was going upon his demise. It has some effect upon a speech if you use it, but a guy who utters it forty times a day…..loses most of the positive effect. The potential for a descriptive location? Well….after you’ve been to Birmingham a dozen times…..there’s not much else you can say.
My guess is that the next valedictorian at this school probably will just talk about unicorns, wheat, and cows….playing it mostly safe with words. I would imagine there is a list of seven hundred topics which are forbidden and the list is safely kept from public view or discussion. The sad thing here is that this kid could have graduated on Monday….gone off to Marine boot-camp on Tuesday….and heard the word ‘hell’ at least three hundred times by Friday night.
My final observation is that if you ever intend to travel through Oklahoma…..put a sticker up on the dash to remind yourself to keep your words and thoughts pure and clean. Those folks are the type that actually might pray for you if they know you were out-of-state. Maybe that’s a good thing.