A Rant on Degree Work

I thought a long time about whether or not I wanted to leave this post published once I switched website hosting. In retrospect, I feel like this was the frustrated writing of a very young Mason. I’m leaving it up as a reminder to myself that I will never not be in need of circumscribing my desires and keeping my passions within due bounds. – Gabe, 08/30/21.

If you volunteer for a part in a degree, you should actually know that part and be able to deliver it.

We had an FC degree today for an EA who has been waiting quite a while. Very happy for him since he has been putting a lot of effort into the work. I had been reading up on the JW position in case we needed to fill in chairs since I had heard we were going to be a lighter crowd that usual – I usually play the part of the JD because I like to play with light switches.

I was initially slated to be the JW pro-tem, but was shortly told that I would be JD, as one of our older brothers from out of state had asked to contribute to the degree. Not a big deal, since he’s older and doesn’t get to do much, so I stepped aside, but in the interest of full disclosure, I really actually was pretty excited to sit in the South for this degree, and was kind of bummed out. However, I do like light switches…

Anyway, this fellow was raised in a different state (now has our lodge as a “home base” of sorts), and is even a PM, but different states are different states, so he was asked if he knew the lines for Texas’ ritual. He said “no,” so I played SD to his JW while one of our older members, Centenarian Brother (turning 100 in a few months!) fed him lines. We did this a couple of times, and the delivery was… shaky at best. He is older, has memory issues, and his speech is very difficult to decipher. However, he was really wanting to do the part, so we went ahead.

Right before the degree, our SW pro-tem leaned over to me and expressed his concerns about the South. Another red flag, I suppose. The degree happens, and sure enough, he forgot every line, had to be prompted more than once per line on multiple occasions, and forgot to display the DG & PS after the obligation while the WM and SW next to him were displaying them. There was a quiet groan from our SW at one point.

While the candidate was back in the prep room, I went over the lines with him, again playing the part of SD while Centenarian Brother taught him his lines. Again, same deal. The same thing happened during closing. It was incredibly frustrating to watch.

After the lodge closed and the acting JW had left, the SW went on a short, quiet rant to a few people that ended with “this was a disaster.”

I am salty? A little bit. I don’t if it’s without merit, though.

So please, folks, if you know your lines, by all means, please, help out. If you don’t, please come to floor school, or observe degrees, or both. I love floor school. I love degrees. I would go and do them every day if I had the time.

TL;DR: I’m whinging on the internet, I suppose. Please forgive me.

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