My Education

1407593052“I went to college,” she told me.

She always reminds me of that whenever we go over the grocery list. This time we got as far as orange juice before she brought it up.

“I went to college too,” I told her.

“Yeah, but I finished.”

She had me there.

“And I drove 70 miles each way for eight years to get my degree.”


“And I did that so I don’t have to drink generic orange juice.”


“Get the kind with calcium and Vitamin D,” she said, “it’s the one with the blue cap.”

I know which kind it is.

We have a jug of it in the refrigerator. It is the one I fill with generic orange juice. She may have gone to college but I know how to save a buck – or in the case of Minute Maid, a couple of bucks.

We always have this argument. I buy generic; she buys name-brand. I guess she feels she has earned it because she worked so hard to get ahead.

While she went to college, she worked a full-time job and raised two kids. Her school was half-way across the state which meant she drove an hour and a half to get there, often through blizzards and thunderstorms.

That is true grit.

So I suppose she deserves Minute-Maid by the jug.

It is me who does not deserve it. I got kicked out of every school I went to. I dropped out of high-school a month before graduation to go hitch-hiking with Stan. I only went to college years later because that is where the girls and parties were. Eventually, I dropped out of that too.

I never understood college.

I loved literature. I loved history. I loved geography, sociology and psychology too. But it seems to me that if you love literature and history and all the other subjects, you would never stop studying them – yet so many people I know dropped out of learning the day they graduated. It is like once you have a degree, you know all you need to know.

Maybe that is why I never got one.

I guess it is also why things turned out okay for me. I never lost a love for learning. Even after dropping out of high school, I carried a backpack full of books on the road and years later, I was lucky enough to work my way into a technical field that was so starved for talent that they ignored credentials. All they wanted were people who so loved what they did that they never stopped learning.

“And cross out toilet paper too,” she said.

“I thought we needed that.”



“Remember what happened the last time you bought generic toilet paper?”

Ooooooh, I do.

“You never learn, do you?” she said.



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