Tag Archives: Education

Fooled University

I decided to write another comedy sketch for the same reason I bought Cap’n Crunch over the weekend: because I could. People want to carry on about adult life being terrible, but I’ve never felt better in that regard. I can do what I want, and it’s no one else’s business. Yeah, bills and work aren’t always roses, but being an adult’s pretty cool.

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INT. Guidance Counselor’s Office at Fooled Univeristy (Fooled U, also FU or the Silly Geese) – DAY

In an extravagantly decorated room with an inordinate amount of degrees sits a guidance COUNSELOR and a STUDENT. It’s the day before finals and the COUNSELOR is breaking the bad news to the well-intentioned, but dim, would-be graduate. It appears that he had not performed all the necessary steps to graduate and will need to wait to be conferred his diploma.

COUNSELOR

This is a bit hard for me to say, but you won’t be able to graduate at the end of the month, Eric.

STUDENT

Aww, what?! Did I fail finals? You know, if you just give me a chance to take them, I’ll prove myself! Honest!

COUNSELOR

Huh? Err, no Eric. You’ll be allowed to take your finals tomorrow.

STUDENT

Oh, good. That had me worried. I took my whole lunch to study for them. So, why am I not going to make it? What did I do wrong?

COUNSELOR

Well, for starters, you’ve forgotten to have a credit audit for your coursework.

STUDENT

I’m in trouble with the IRS?

COUNSELOR

Eh, no Eric. Your credit hours here at the university.

STUDENT

They’re in trouble with the IRS?!

COUNSELOR

Oh good Lord. No, we need to see if you have all of your credit hours to graduate.

STUDENT

Did I lose them?

COUNSELOR

Mmph! No, Eric, we need to see if you’ve taken all your classes.

STUDENT

Oh, well, I think I have. Uncle Auggie just told me what to take and I signed up for them. He’s cool. He’s confident that I’ll get through school.

COUNSELOR

Well, I’m glad he has confidence in you, Eric, but we’ve got standards. Not just everyone can call themselves a silly goose, you know.

STUDENT

Oh, sure. We wouldn’t want stupid people getting a diploma. If anyone could get a diploma here, then employers could care less about it.

COUNSELOR

You mean, “couldn’t care less.”

STUDENT

Who?

COUNSELOR

You.

STUDENT

Oh, no. I really want this thing!

COUNSELOR

No, Eric, I mean… you know what? Nevermind.

The COUNSELOR centers herself with a few deep breaths and opens the student file to see if there is anything else he needs to accomplish before he graduates. She find his transcript to be full of failing grades and in overall poor shape.

COUNSELOR

Eric, how did you ever get this far? You’ve failed 80% of your courses and the other 20 were barely passing. Your application was even submitted in crayon.

STUDENT

Oh, I just finished my self-portrait before I filled it out. Mom says I’ve got talent!

COUNSELOR

I… I can’t take this any longer! Your student record’s a joke. You’re as smart as a box of rocks, and I have no idea how you made it this far without anyone informing you of these glaring flaws. I can’t let this go any further. You’ll either need to take these classes over again or I will bring this up to admissions. This is appalling!

STUDENT (heartbroken)

Ohhhh, no! But I worked so hard. I only played my Xbox for 8 hours a day. That has to count for something. Oh, it’s all my fault! Uncle Auggie won’t be very happy to hear this. He was hoping to hand me my diploma this year. I can’t believe I’ve let him down. I’m so stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

The STUDENT begins to smack himself in the head with his books. COUNSELOR tries to frantically to stop the STUDENT from further injury, when a light goes off in her head.

COUNSELOR

Wait, do you mean Augustus Waverby, the university president?

STUDENT

Yes. Everyone seems to know that for some reason. You really have some nice professors here, Mrs. Dachshund. I guess I took it all for granted, huh?

At this point, the COUNSELOR tosses the student file in the trash can and smiles.

COUNSELOR

If that’s the case, I’m always pleased to meet new alumni! Be sure to remember us when making your annual donations and we’ll see you at homecoming. Go Geese!

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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What to read? What to read?

I’d like to grapple with the idea of being “well read” in a typical sense. When we discuss being well read, the assumption is being knowledgeable about books. There is no definitive set of books, as being well read is based on personal judgment. Be warned, there will be plenty of other people who’d love to tell you differently. They misunderstand the rules of conduct, which is similar to a doctor’s visit: you know yourself better than anyone.

While the staff at NPR would like to defecate their britches over the statistical impossibility of being well read, I find persistence a little more useful. Are we to cry into our thimble full of knowledge because the ocean is vast? No, we should take pride in the fact we picked up a thimble and drank from that water. That means we wanted fulfillment beyond basic human sustenance.

As NPR is wont to do, it assumes people naturally want continuous scholastic achievement. This is how out of touch with the ordinary person they are. The typical American doesn’t give a flying fig about reading, and to a lesser extent being well-versed in any genre of music. That concept of erudition is limited to a lesser number of people.

The good folks at NPR reek of guilt, which always gets my dander up. Why? Because it’s often based on the notion you should feel guilty, too.  For example, the author of the NPR piece is lamenting through the whole story statistics will surely make us all feel sad we can’t “see it all.”  I’ve got news for you. The people who punch the cookie on the east side of Hooterville are only interested in Here Comes Honey Boo BooPawn Star, and/or Real Housewives of [insert location]. They’re not going to shed one tear that they didn’t see Pagliacci or read Infinite Jest. They are comfortable in being simple, and find their minds more preoccupied with monetary matters than scholastic.

How could anyone, then, gain a feeling of being well-read or otherwise accomplished? Know thyself. With the proliferation of books and other media, all of us can customize a more meaningful list of reading material. I’m fairly certain my material is in classical literature. Ergo, that’s my emphasis. This will not be the same set of books for anyone else.

Well… well… well… how can we tell if someone is well-read when we have no standards to compare them with, Nate? I mean come on! We all need standards, right? To that point of view, I say I think we’re beyond harnessing any sort of discernible standard. Funny how humans think they can control everything. The upshot of this is people have less of a reason to be judgmental. Great googly-moogly, Nate! How will the literary elite survive without their ability to look down their nose at the Twilight readers?! The short answer is they still will, but for more subjective reasons. I think that more honest than hiding behind the veil of academics.

This idea could be very beneficial to the American educational system. The concept of identifying meaningful literature should be the goal, not telling you what literature is meaningful. It would move them away from their manufacturing mentality, and embrace something a little more elastic. I come from the position it’s more important to exercise discretion than regurgitation.

But… but… but… OMG STANDARDS, NATE! STANDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRDS! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH… what a world… what a world… what a world…

(If you couldn’t tell, they just melted into a controlled puddle of goo. )

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People Excited to Speak

I was at a loss what to post for the last 48 hours. I have plenty of My City by the Bay I could slap up, but don’t want to fixate on that. I get the notion that not everyone reads this for one topic. Flexibility is a quality I desire out of life, probably because I cannot create enough of it myself. Lack a nutrient, and the body starts to crave it.

For anyone that gives a hoot, I’m not an English major nor have I attended many fine arts classes in my life. Aside from a handful in middle school/junior high, there were two classes in college regarding this topic. Some might be able to pick up on that, as my structure isn’t always the best. I did go to a liberal arts school over a decade ago, but became formally trained in business. Accounting to be exact.

During that period of time I was scared out of my wits. I had no guidance I trusted. My university “counselor” never had insight for me that would hit home. Sure, I was jaded and distrustful of most people by that time (thank you, public school!), but I’d like to think someone would have at least said something that would have resonated with me. They didn’t.

At any rate, I picked up my profession as I thought “I could go anywhere and always have a job.” Was I ever mistaken. In 2009, the economy tanked and being hired at a job has less to do with your credentials and more about knowing the right people. I’m not exactly a charismatic ball of fire, and a lot of doors were shut on me because of it.

This reminds me of the movies. The chips are down on the protagonist, and the viewer wants to see a happy ending. America loves an underdog, right? Well, I’d like to modify that statement. America loves an underdog, only to the extent they never have to meet. On the silver screen, people get swept up in romanticized ideas. They are probably equating it with their own life, hence the attraction is private rather than public (i.e. camaraderie, community, etc.).  If they were to meet said protagonist in real life, it becomes competition. Hard to believe? I don’t think so. Otherwise, this country would not have so many homeless and hungry. They’re underdogs, too. Why aren’t we cheering them on? Why aren’t we working with them? Because they become an obstacle.

That reminds me. I haven’t heard any news out of Hooterville about packing meals for the poor. They had an event last year, but it has gone silent. I volunteer for those type of events, because of the above paragraph. The community at-large here isn’t exactly moved by it as I am. It might help if other citizens had to be mac and cheese or ramen noodle broke for a couple of years. As long as I live, I will never eat that garbage again.

All of this brings me to the real point of my post. These people who have been underdogs all of their life have stories to tell. Not only do they have stories, they are eager to share them with you. I had two discussions last night with people who have been blown off by the rest of society. One was a farmer, and didn’t have any adventurous stories but they were of happenings in the local area. The other was a professional frisbee player who had toured many parts of the globe.

On first glance, you wouldn’t think either one of them would have much to say but they were insightful in their own way. How does that impact my life? Well, I might just have more fiction to write because of it. Not only that, but it tells me that this country is lacking in intangible nutrients that only social interaction can provide.

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