Several months ago, I got a letter from my old alma mater. Whoopee!! So, they need more cash and think they should ask poor shmucks who haven’t come close to using their degrees in years to give it to them. You’d think intelligent professors in academia, would get the hint; I’m not sending you any money. The thing is my degree is in Electrical Engineering. A great field, when they needed engineers. After I graduated, the only job I could get was installing cheap computers, and I got laid off from that. I ended up in sales. You might say I’m bitter, and you’d be right.
I don’t know why I opened the letter from the proprietor of useless degrees. Perhaps it was to laugh at the sales pitch. You know the one: You’ve seen what a degree from our school can do for a person of your financial stature. Oh boy have I seen. Well this troubling time has been hard for us all. Yea, what about the guy who paid for the new Arts building. Because of all the success you’ve had since you’ve left our halls, we know you will want to contribute. BZZZZZT Wrong answer. Thank you for playing.
This sounds harsh, and I don’t hate my college as much as all that. But in truth, I have already given them over one-hundred-fifty-thousand-dollars in the form of loans. To my way of thinking, I’ve given them enough. Maybe they should catch me after the loans are paid off.
Anyway, I opened the letter and it wasn’t asking for money. It was asking for my diploma back. Did I miss a payment? No. Due to an error, I was one class short of graduating. Was this my mistake? No. I had done everything possible to make sure I had all the proper credits. Could this error be traced to me in any way possible? No. One of my instructors, had lied about his accreditation. Was I going to have to suffer for this administrative mistake? Why, Yes! Of course, I was.
The professor in question was in the Philosophy department and had taught some five-hundred students before he was dismissed for an unknown reason. Great those hallowed walls of higher learning screwed up twice on this guy, not just once. Luckily ninety percent of those students had the extra credit and kept their degree, but myself and a few others were Out of Luck.
I was offered free classes and other perks but frankly I didn’t care. I had a good job and this certainly couldn’t affect me now. Could It? Well, let’s hear it for the virus. Thanks to Covid-19, It could. You see, during the lock down my company restructured. I was to get a big promotion. As per procedure, they checked my background and found out I had no degree. I had to bring in the letter to prove that it was the colleges mistake. Either way, if I wanted the promotion, and consequently keep my job, I had to take a philosophy class.
In my day, higher education was a lot different than it is today, Or else I am. Back then it was friends, parties, study groups, parties, classes, parties, hanging with folks, parties and all that extracurricular stuff. In other words, there was always people around. Taking an on-line class at my age is very solitary. How in the heck can you learn anything when you’re all by yourself? Sending an e-mail to a classmate and waiting an hour for a response just isn’t the same. Don’t even get me started about Zoom parties.
It got so bad, I ended going to the bar every Wednesday by myself and ordered three beers, drinking one sip of each one, over and over till they were gone. The bartender asked why and I explained that one was Fred’s, one Mitch’s, and one mine. While we couldn’t get together, this was a way we could celebrate our friendship. The bartender thought it was great. One day I went in and only ordered two. The confused bartender said he was sorry for the death of my friend. But it was nothing like that, my wife had just decided I should stop drinking.
Another difference with school today is all the choices. We had a choice of Intro to Philosophy, that’s it. And we had to take it. Now, there’s any number of religions, or philosophies to choose from. I chose Primitive Philosophies, because I found I had personal experience in it.
Raising a family is a great teacher. You see, the folks we were studying only lived to be about thirty. This means their formative years were their teens. I live with three teenagers and I know how they react to things. Think about it, the primitives believed if you saw your reflection it was an evil spirit looking back at you. Of course, they felt that. They were in puberty for half their lives. My daughter looks in a mirror and screams bloody murder because of the ugly vision staring back at her. If she wasn’t born in the twenty-first century, she’d say it was an evil spirit too.
Then there’s the primitive belief that thinking lustfully about the opposite sex caused evil to enter your body. DUH! Of course, that was true to them. When do teens start lusting? Around Thirteen. When does acne hit? Also, Around Thirteen. It doesn’t take the genius of Mr. Ohh! to figure this one out. Kid, male or female, hides in a cave and has a lustful thought. Two weeks later their face breaks out in hundreds of zits. Immediately after that, the High Druid declares them evil and their head is shaved, and they must wear an “A” on their left breast. Wait, maybe that’s a different story. But the point is there wasn’t a Proactiv Skin Care vending machine in the malls back then. I’m sure Kids had to be creative or be declared evil.
I saw a lecture on how scientists recreated a fifteen-year-old female face using an old scull. I interrupted the speaker, challenging him that this was not the what the girl looked like. He forgot all the canyons and scars of when she had broken all her pimples. But I digress.
I heard so many obscure theories in the class I wanted to laugh out loud. Take the ancient fear of thirteen. The instructor supposed it had to do with the number of lunar rotations between solstices. Bull Crap! Imagine a normal family. All is right with the world until the daughter hits thirteen and her hormones kick in. Then the horror, which lives in us all, jumps out. It’s the same with boys. High Priestess to the rescue. Thirteen is evil. They don’t know about hormones.
I haven’t taken my final yet, but here’s another thought. If folks only lived to be thirty, that means fifteen is middle aged. Imagine puberty, being bored at work mid-life-crisis, the desire for a Ferrari, and a younger wife, happening all at the same time.
If I was a Druid, I’d be praying to any god who could possibly help, asking to save me too.
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