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BIG SCREECHER - The most memorable graduation — Part 3

To quickly recap the last week two weeks’ columns, this year’s graduation at P.S. 128 was the one I will never, ever forget. I had sat next to Barrie Feibershon, a veteran P.S. 128 teacher who had helped set up the wonderful video slide presentation.

Barrie was the only one in the audience who knew my pants had fallen down when I returned to my seat after the colors were presented. As everyone was leaving the auditorium, an old friend, Cynthia Andruzzi, came over to say hello, and Barrie and I enlisted her in the “get Carmine off the chair with his pants on” operation.

Cynthia had to grab my arm to pull me up on the left. I snaked my other arm inside my jacket to grab the back of my pants while Barrie grabbed the side. In unison, we got me up with my pants successfully onto my waist without anyone being the wiser. Laughing hysterically, as I walked to the street from the auditorium, I saw Mr. Compielta, who ran the very nicely done graduation exercises, talking to parents and graduates. I pulled him to the side and said, “I’m going to give you a memento of this graduation that you’ll always remember. As you were painfully aware, Barrie and I were laughing and giggling throughout the graduation and you were right thinking that we were rude. Well, the reason we were hysterical was because my pants had fallen down when I returned to my seat after the Salute to the Flag and we couldn’t get up until everyone left. I felt I owed you an explanation as to why your graduation exercise was not ruined by a guest presenter whose pants had fallen down.” He laughed and thanked me for a funny memento that he will always have to tell his colleagues at future graduations.

Now, this may sound anti-climatic at this point, but there is a pre-quel that is linked to this funny chain of events, that is just as funny and the reason my pants fell down. It goes back about a month when I attended the District 21 UFT Dinner at the El Caribe. Just after their grandiose Cocktail Hour had finished, the guests were being ushered to the Presentation Room for the UFT Honorees Awards. I was one of the last to leave the Cocktail Room because experience taught me that these guests leaving take a long time to get where they’re going, whether they’re going to hear the presentations or just wait in the main lobby. And during these big affairs, the presentation room can’t really accommodate the huge crowd. So by the time I walked out, every seat in the lobby was taken. I figured I would sit on the marble banister by the office near the main entrance to book the Bensonhurst West End Community Council’s affair for this year, like I’ve done many times in the past. Depending when you go there are red decorative votive candles lit for ambience. My knees were really hurting me and I plopped down on the marble banister in between the candles. It wasn’t long before I smelled something burning.

Everyone soon started asking, “is something burning?” This lady came, said “turn around…you’re on fire,” and started slapping the flame out. Well, anyway, my newest suit, the only one that fit me, was ruined that night, and that’s why my pants from my old suit were so tight and didn’t need a belt or suspenders …I thought. Thus explains and ends the saga of my most memorable graduation.

Screech at you next week!

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