Well. That sucked.


Dear Class of 2020:

This is seriously fucked up.

Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition, FUBAR, as the fightin’ boys used to say.

But what can I say? What can anyone say?

The year started out right, football games under the Friday night lights, Homecoming, hangin’ out. Ruling the school. Finally.

It was your year, the year, 20/20 vision. Perfect, bitch. Deal with it.


The rest of us don’t know the half.

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My daughter is one of you. She walked out of her high school on the afternoon of Friday, March 13, expecting to return Monday, like any other weekend.

And THAT was IT.

Senior year over. Done. A flash of light, there and gone into a long shelter-in-place night, like the floodlights that should’ve illuminated spring soccer matches, choir concerts and awards ceremonies. Never to come back again, except to clear out lockers and turn in PLDs.

PLD. Personal learning device. It’s a goddamn computer.

Just one more absurdity in all this mess.


PLD morphed into another absurd acronym – ‘CO’ for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus’ and ‘D’ for disease.

Sure, the acronym makes sense, but nothing about what it’s meant for the Class of 2020 does.

For fuck’s sake, how could the people who are supposed to be running the show let this thing take over? But then again, not surprising. Their track record with the whole “taking care of things” thing is weak. No cap.


Oh, sure, you’ve been “e-learning,” for what that’s been worth. Administrators, teachers, parents – everyone’s been doing their best “under difficult circumstances,” but…

No time with friends that, now, you’ll barely see again, if ever. No prom. No proper graduation.

Maybe you watched LeBron’s special and listened to the message from Barak Obama.

Yeah. That was nice. Thanks for that, but, no offense…

Not even close.

“Triggered” doesn’t even begin to touch what this has felt like for you, I’m sure. What it must still feel like.

Image of a Class of 2020 graduate's shadow

Image by Cindy Parks from Pixabay

FUBAR gets closer, maybe, but it’s doubtful you’d want some old-school expression trying to describe your corona-era feels.

Call it whatever you want. Only you have naming rights.

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I said to my daughter, “Wow, you and your classmates are the first class to ever deal with anything even remotely like this. However you’re feeling is O.K.”

No response. None necessary.

Thanks, Dad, but keep that crap to yourself. Don’t try. You’re just making it worse, she says in my head.

What was I thinking?

All the absurd platitudes about how you can achieve anything now, you’ve already been through horrible shit so you’ll be fine, accomplish great things, solve the world’s problems…

Gee, thanks, but there’s enough pressure already.

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I am so sorry for my daughter, her classmates, high school seniors across the nation.


Go ahead, say it. SCREAM it! It’s O.K. We can’t do anything, anyway, and in the context of a pandemic? Absurd.


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Here we are, Memorial Day, in the FUBARest of circumstances.

You probably won’t want to remember, let alone memorialize, getting ready for a graduation ceremony that’s potentially dangerous and definitely scary, not to mention heartbreaking beyond conceptualization. Not what you wanted, to say the least.

Less than a week away and the school system still hasn’t decided how it’s going to go down.

It could be the entire class spaced six feet apart, taking turns walking over a raised stage, maybe outside, maybe inside, picking up that diploma from a stack on a table, not shaking hands with anyone and no family to cheer. They won’t be allowed to come.

It might be your class split into two or three different ceremonies based on the first letter of your last names. At least that way, the superintendent says, there would be enough space for parents to attend and still adhere to the 6-foot social distancing requirement. But no one else. They’ll have to watch on YouTube.

You won’t even be able to graduate with some of your best friends if it comes to that; their last names start with “J” or “S” or “Z”, not A through F.

A –

Absurd. Absurd. Absurd.

F –

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Graduation party?

Stop. Don’t make us cry even more.

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So. Looking ahead…


I know, but…

A lot of colleges have no idea how they’ll open for the in-person experience of every class before you. How will they keep you safe? Do you really want to go to a football game with thousands of screaming , possibly infected people?

You are aware, you might say. Thank you for bringing that up.

Roommate? Did they test her? Take his temp before he moved in, at least? Are they from a high-infection area, or…? Anyone they lived with die recently?

That shit is fucking morbid.

But what about the dining hall? Classes? It’s hard enough to ask questions as a freshman, let alone do it through a double-layered mask. Concerts? Parties?

Don’t worry. Your eyes are really expressive.

Please stop talking.

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The platitudes don’t even exist. The fucked-up fact is you are the first class to ever have to deal with anything even remotely similar. You’ll have to make it up as you go.

We love you.

We’ll help any way we can.


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Photo by Davis Sanchez from Pexels

Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger (https://ivwords.com) nonprofit founder (https://theclimateknights.org/) and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.

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The Rise & Fall of Our COVID Fortress - IV Words - The Progressive Perspective · February 7, 2023 at 4:44 pm

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