Well What Do You Know 6


Little Girl with Eyes Crossed - The Out Of My Mind BlogAs the day dawns, we find ourselves facing news of yet another species on the verge of vanishing from our great land.

That would be the old college fight song.

Also, the old college drinking song, the old college Alma Mater and, possibly, the old college.

Thanks to the internet, high school students believe it’s no longer necessary to spend four years getting smart when, in a couple of hours, they can do it on their own. As many a high school junior (channeling Mark Zuckerberg) will tell you, everything in life you need to know you can learn on Instagram (although unlike high school juniors, Zuckerberg makes billions selling everything he knows).

(We’re in the middle-class living room of a middle-class family in the heart of Middle America. If not the heart, then something nearby, such as the aorta. Mom and Dad sit, side by side, on a Crate and Barrel sofa [Petrie Midcentury in sea mist]. Their darling high-school junior daughter sits across the Crate and Barrel coffee table [Dillon Spalted Primavera Round Wood]on a Crate and Barrel chair [Aidan Velvet Tufted Chair and a Half in sea foam]. She has a name, but no one seems to remember what it is. Call her Snowflake. Everyone else does. Snowflake waits for the right moment to speak as Mom and Dad are busy texting. Each other.)

SNOWFLAKE: Mom. Dad. I have something to tell you.

MOM: Mmm.

DAD: Uh, huh.

SNOWFLAKE: I’m not going to college.

(Mom and Dad stop in mid-text. They look at each other. The room isn’t just quiet it’s Grant’s Tomb on a Sunday at midnight quiet.)

MOM (big sigh): Thank goodness.

DAD: Amen to that.

MOM: Your father and I were so worried, what with all those brochures you’ve been getting from Harvard and Stanford.

DAD: Soulless places. Antiquated. A shell of their former selves.

MOM: All they do is crank out students who know little more than how to think critically…

DAD: …and how to paint their faces for football games.

SNOWFLAKE: Now, since the average college tuition is…

MOM: Oh, it’s not the money, Snowflake.

DAD: We could sell the house. We were planning to buy an RV anyway.

SNOWFLAKE: Oh. Okay. Well, if you would just sign over my college fund…

MOM: Don’t be silly. We got rid of that years ago.

DAD: Put it all in Bitcoins.

MOM: What we’re trying to say is that we never thought college was right for you.

SNOWFLAKE: So you agree college is outdated.

(She hesitates.)

SNOWFLAKE: Right?

MOM (sighs): It does take so long to get smart.

DAD: And you know how you get when the internet is slow.

SNOWFLAKE:  It’s a fact that in today’s economy you don’t need to be smart to succeed.

DAD: Yeah, smart is so overrated.

SNOWFLAKE: You agree?

DAD: Lots of Baby Boomers went to college.

MOM: And look at how they changed the world.

SNOWFLAKE: How?

MOM: Pet rocks, Knott’s Landing…

DAD: …The Captain and Tennille.

MOM: Grandpa George went to college.

DAD: And now he doesn’t have a job.

SNOWFLAKE: Didn’t he retire to Orlando?

MOM: Besides, you have lovely hair.

SNOWFLAKE: I need basic…what?

MOM: Look at Einstein. He was smart. And his hair was frightful. All those things he knew…

DAD: …and when they didn’t fit inside his brain…

(Dad reaches across the coffee table and messes up Snowflake’s hair.)

DAD: …poof.

SNOWFLAKE: Eek.

MOM: You’re much better off moving out and learning what you need to know from experience.

DAD: Nothing college can teach you that you can’t learn from bartending. That’s what I always say.

SNOWFLAKE: What are you talking about?

DAD: Chemistry. Psychology. And, if there’s a good barroom brawl…

(Dad puts up his fists.)

DAD: …P.E.

SNOWFLAKE: If I move out can I still start a business in our kitchen?

MOM: I think waitressing and retail sales are great opportunities. Without all that knowledge weighing you down you’ll have plenty of energy to save the world.

DAD: Let’s not overlook being a Wal-Mart greeter.

MOM: We paid a lot for your smile. People should see it.

DAD: Nobody smiles in a statistics class.

SNOWFLAKE: I can’t believe you don’t want me to go to college.

MOM: We don’t want you to throw your whole life away on a whim.

SNOWFLAKE: I hate you.

(Snowflake stomps out of the room. Mom and Dad look at each other.)

DAD: Where’d you learn that?

MOM: First semester, junior year. Professor Dorfman’s psych class.

(Dad picks up his phone and checks his email. Mom goes shopping.)

 

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Photo: Pezibear via Pixabay (Rights: Public Domain)

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