Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where is your diploma?

I realized today that I am irritated by extremely trivial things.

I attended a great college. I went to New York University. I had a fabulous time partying my way through Manhattan, losing my inhibitions and my coveted accessories. On occasion, I even learned a thing or two, took a few notes, and attended a couple of lectures. My professors were all experts in the field, and dedicated most of their free time to teaching us future debutantes how to succeed.

This all sounds like the fabulous introduction to a high school reunion speech, but the fact is that I really hate telling people where I went to school. They immediately turn on that "wow" face as if I told them I re-invented the wheel. Or Velveeta.

Society dictates that you are supposed to go to a good school, get one of those "good" jobs where you earn a salary, punch a time card, and worry yourself about collating paperwork. I must apologize to the cubicle lemmings of America when I say that office work is just not for me. No matter my score on the SAT or my ambition of wearing pantsuits and carrying briefcases. Sitting at a desk for nine hours a day is just not my cup of tea, I don't care care how much you're willing to pay me.

I was walking through the parking lot to work today, and I saw a car with one of those bumper stickers in the back. It was one of those clear ones that you put in the rear window, that advertise your college or university in big bright letters. I squinted my eyes against the sun and for some odd reason I wanted to beat in that glass with a baseball bat.

New York University. Yes, that's what it said.

It seemed so pretentious and needy. Look at me, I paid over $40,000 a year for secondary education and now I'm driving a car that proclaims it. Look at me and my higher education. My purple and white. Look at me. Look!

I stood there for a few seconds and questioned the purpose. Life is all about impressing people. I think about that everytime a customer asks where I went to school and gives that cynical eyebrow raise. "New York University? Well, what are you doing here?"

I'm living my life one day at a time. That's what. If I could have it to do all over again I would surely go to community college. I would work a part-time job at Burger King and take home free french fries every night. I would try not to give these people something to talk about over glasses of wine.

So there I stood, staring at this NYU bumper sticker in the back of the window and wondering why any rational adult would feel the need to have it displayed. A status symbol, perhaps. Another backhanded way of telling people that "I am better than you." This is my proof.

It's similar to one of those bumper stickers that say "my kid is an honor roll student at so-and-so elementary school." Really? Do you really think I care about your eleven-year-old honor roll student as I'm tailgaiting your Volvo and rolling through a yellow light?

I don't.

And I don't care where you went to school.

Just food for thought.

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