21 September, 2013

Education. Doesn't mean what it used to.

First and foremost, I'm not a normal college graduate.  I went to a technical college, which is a step below a typical community college.  I didn't graduate.  I never finished a required "shop math" class because I stopped going to that class.  At this particular school, the "shop math" classes were the same damn thing I had in seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth grades while in high school.  It bored me to tears.  Looking back with the wisdom of a 41 year old man, I should have sucked it up and completed the damned class.  But, I was 19 and not very wise.  This little trip down memory lane is the build up to the main point I'm trying to make.

Regardless of not being a graduate of any type of college, when I left that place I still had a better education than most of today's university graduates.  Just think of how many university graduates still don't know when to use "you're, your" or "they're, there, their."  See what I mean?  I was talking to a young man this past week, a university graduate, and I used the Latin phrase "Modus operandi."  The young man looked at me and asked me what that meant.  I replied, "You're kidding, right?"  He was quite serious.  Not only did he not know what it meant, he had never heard it before.  Pathetic, absolutely pathetic.  I've noticed a severe lack of spelling and vocabulary skills in young people.  Find an average high school student and ask them what a conjunction is.  Hell, ask them if they can SPELL conjunction.  "Conjunction junction what's your function?"  "Hooking up words and phrases and clauses..."  I know that and I was a C student throughout my school years.  So, considering my not being able to have any decent conversation with newer generations, I don't understand how there can be so many straight A students these days.  In my day (and especially the generations before me) a straight A student was rare.  The class valedictorian (ask a kid to spell THAT word) really was smart and earned that title.

On a side note, I ran into the valedictorian of my graduating (high school) class.  It was in my early twenties and at a bar, which I frequented quite often in those days, when I bumped into her.  She was, I'm guessing, a year or two out of university when I saw her.  She was also stinkin' drunk, as was I.  Due to, I'm assuming, the large amount of alcohol we both had coursing through our bodies, recognized one another and struck up a conversation.  In high school we never said much more than "hello."  I enjoyed talking with her and got some comfort seeing that the "smart" kids were just people.  Again, we were both drunk.  Alcohol is a very effective truth serum (ask a college student to spell "serum" without using their phone or computer for reference.  It's good fun.)  If you don't mind, I'm going to scare you a little bit.  Think about what these "straight A" university students become.

They become doctors, lawyers, biologists, photographers *snicker*, psychologists... they become *GASP!* teachers.   The teachers I had all had similar educations.  Read the classics, memorize words, learn how to divide fractions... They may not know much  about classic literature, but they'll probably "get" a common Hemmingway reference.  They would damn-sure know what "Modus operandi" means.  Modern teachers (most of them are good, don't get me wrong) just aren't as good as prior generations.  I've talked with a lot of them.  It can be quite painful.  A conversation with a brand new teacher.  Again, it was in a bar, years and years ago.
Me:  "I finally forced myself to read 'Grapes of Wrath' last month..."
Her:  "Is that out now?"
Me: "What?  No, it's classic.  You should know that."
Her:  "I don't like Hemmingway.  He was a misogynist."
Me:  "It's Steinbeck.  John Steinbeck."
Her:  *blank stare*
Me:  "You're fucking kidding me, right?  You've never heard of John Steinbeck?  You're a university graduate for fuck's sake!!  I learned that shit in junior high!"

I really know how to pick up the ladies, don't I?  It's no wonder I'm still single.  With people that dumb teaching the children of today, it's no wonder I have to dumb things down in most conversations.  And I didn't even graduate from a technical "college."  For cryin' out loud, people.  Read the classics (some of them are just horribly boring), do a lot of crossword puzzles, run through the multiplication tables from time to time, multiply and divide the occasional fraction...  It may seem that kids are getting smarter but it ain't so.  The bar has just been lowered to make it seem like they're smarter. 

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