Welcome to College orientation
Well, I have now been orientated, or maybe I should say indoctrinated, perhaps brain-washed is the most correct term. I’m not sure. What happened was I went to my son’s college introduction seminar and I kind of feel like I’ve joined a tribe. The speakers called it an inclusive college community. I’m all for inclusion. I just can’t figure out when I signed up for all this.
Welcome to my college history
You see, when I went to college, my parents had very little to do with it. I went to a big school where I was known as 1009-6902. I bussed to school four-days a week, ate lunch in a place called the Wolf Den Café, which served the cheapest and worst beer ever created. I think it was their way trying to stop young people from drinking. We drank it anyway because it was all we could afford, so that was a big failure, but I digress. After school I went to my job for six hours, and came home exhausted. Yea! college life.
Yes, there was time to be social. Maybe I remember it all a bit harshly. The honest truth is, the classes were hard, there were few clubs, and we were all so poor that a boxed dinner felt like a gourmet meal. I actually made a date out of a box of macaroni and cheese once, and the lady blushed over the fact that I splurged for Kraft. I lost that girl to a guy who could afford Spam. Damn rich kids, but that’s a painful memory so I won’t continue.
Welcome to College affordability
Now I’m the parent and I was assuming that my role would be to open my cheque book, or electronic wallet as the case may be, whenever the school asked for money, wear a shirt proudly proclaiming I am a ‘College Dad’ which I paid extra for, and make sure my son gets to classes on time, in a car I also paid for. Expensive? Yes, but not very time consuming on my part. My son does have a job so at least he’ll be taking care of some of the expenses. You can see why I didn’t think much had changed. As per usual Mr. Ohh! was terribly incorrect, and I learned all about it during the brain wash… I mean orientation.
I should have known something was up when the very first thing I saw was a gigantic sign with a picture of a smiling green and yellow snake and the caption, “Welcome to the Nest” I mentioned my discomfort to a lady with a similar logo on her shirt. She informed me that I saw no snake at all. I was further chastised that I saw no green or yellow. I clearly saw a Pit-Viper in the school colors of Kelly and Gold. I apologized and groveled ready for the whip and told her it looked like a green and yellow snake to this poor bedraggled parent. I was forgiven. Apparently as I was new to the nest, I was allowed one mistake. I was placed on probation. Wow, I was there only ten seconds and was already messing things up for my son. I resigned to keep my mouth shut from there on.
Welcome to College food
We were given a small snack and coffee and sent into a large hall with all the other initiates. This is where I got my first sign college would be different for my son. When I tasted my muffin, it was a bit strange. I was informed by the staff it was high protein, low carb, gluten free, wheat free, lactose free, and sugar free. As you may have guessed it was also taste free, and pleasure free, but I ate it anyway, afraid to offend another staff member while on probation.
The coffee on the other hand was great. I was told, this was because it was sustainably and organically farmed by the Oulyez brothers on their third-generation family farm in Belize. It was then carried by horseback to the college to minimize the carbon foot print. There it was roasted by students in a large bonfire made from three apple trees. The trees had been replaced. That morning it was ground by a woman named Wanda and her husband by hand in a machine that was over one-hundred years old, and made from recycled steam automobile parts. Now I’m normally a tea drinker, but these folk went to a lot of trouble so I just had to have a second cup.
Welcome to College togetherness
Afterward, we were taken to an auditorium and our children were separated into groups by color bandanas. I guess that’s better than being a number but as they left the room the large doors were closed and the place went dark. I was sure I was going to see a hypnotic spiral or something on the screen, as soft words played, “Relax, Let Go,” repeating over and over in my head. I was only slightly wrong. The sign did say, “What It Means To Be in the Nest”.
That’s right. All of us parents were now a part of the college community. We were to share in our children’s successes and failures while at the same time letting them go to find themselves in the greater world. We were going to have to understand that they were adults now, even though we were still going to have to pay when that tuition bill came due. I screamed, Hold on a second! If my son is now an adult and accountable for his actions, and I’m not allowed to interfere with his life. Why do I have to pay for all this?” I was told it was a good question and the moderator moved on without an answer.
The real problem is, with all the computers and stuff, he will get the bill by email. I will have to ask him if I can see the bill so I can pay it. Can you imagine that conversation?
Son, will you please show me the college bill so I can pay it?
Certainly, father as soon as I have a little time.
Couldn’t you find a little time now?
No, I’m lying down right now. Perhaps later, or tomorrow.
Now what do I do? He’s an adult and I’m not allowed to upset him, but if I don’t get that bill, I’ll pay six percent extra because it’s late. So far, I’m not really liking this whole nest thing.
Welcome to College wierdness
An odd thing I learned is that Pit-Vipers and Cardinals are dreaded enemies. They don’t even live on the same continent. How can that be? Well, I went to the nest and found out they are. In fact, we all went to a baseball game to see those two animals play. I was intrigued. I didn’t even know vipers could play baseball, and frankly since snakes eat birds, I figured they would love cardinals. However, as part of the nest I was told to hate the cardinals. I was ready to do so as soon as they came out, but all I saw was young men playing baseball.
I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll have to get reorientated.
Thank you for laughing and Please read a little longer
Thank you all for laughing with me, but I need to be serious. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is a genetic disease which rots the liver and lungs. There is no cure. The only help for people is to have a weekly infusion of proteins to stop the spread. For the next few months I will be taking all my proceeds and donating them to the Alpha-1 Foundation who are searching for a cure to this horrible malady. You can give here or for more information go to Alpha-1.org Thanks for supporting world laughter, and finding a cure. Laugh On